The Famous 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake | Fruit Cake

Introducing the famous 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake (fruit cake) made from mixed fruit, iced coffee and self-raising flour! Award winning, super easy and totally delicious!

A piece of Christmas fruit cake on a plate, with the rest of the cake b=in the background

Everybody loves a 3 ingredient recipe, right!? And this 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake is the ultimate fruit cake recipe.

It was originally a CWA (Country Womens Association) recipe that’s become famous thanks to how simple it is to make. No fuss. Just 3 ingredients!

Just like my Christmas Marshmallow Pops, Super Easy Reindeer Brownies, and White Christmas Slice, this recipe is fun and delicious for both kids and adults for the holidays!

A fruit cake with a gold ribbon around it on a copper wire tray.

What You Need

Note: Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for ingredient quantities and the full detailed method!

If you don’t believe that you can make the most AMAZING fruit cake from just 3 ingredients… try this and I promise you’ll change your mind! All you need is:

  • mixed dried fruit (see below for details)
  • iced coffee (or a liquid substitute – see below for substitutions)
  • self-raising flour – or make your own using plain (all-purpose flour), baking powder and salt
Mixed dried fruit, iced coffee and self-raising flour on a bench - the 3 ingredients for a fruit cake.

Prepare The 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake 1 Day Ahead

Step 1 – Prep The Fruit

You’ll need to start prepping this 3 ingredient Christmas cake 1 day before baking. Mix the dried fruit and iced coffee (or liquid substitute) in a large bowl or container and then place in the fridge overnight.

This allows the dried fruit to soak up the liquid and become plump… which then results in a beautiful and moist fruit cake when baked.

An overhead shot of a bowl of mixed dried fruit and iced coffee.

Step 2 – Mix The Flour and Fruit

On the day of baking, mix through the self-raising flour and pour into a baking tin. 

An overhead shot of a bowl with self-raising flour being added to soaked dried fruit.

Step 3 – Bake The Cake

Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the cake feels firm in the middle and a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

An overhead shot of an uncooked fruit cake in a baking tin.

What Is Mixed Dried Fruit?

Mixed dried fruit can be bought pre-packaged from the dried fruit/nuts section of any major supermarket.

I like to use the Sunbeam Mixed Fruit that contains sultanas (a type of grape), currants, raisins, orange peel, lemon peel and glace cherries.

However, you can use absolutely any brand of mixed dried fruit you like.

If you grew up eating (and disliking) traditional fruit cake with candied fruits (which is common in the States), using dried fruits will make all the difference! Instead of tasting processed or dry, this fruit cake is moist and full of real fruit flavor.

A bowl of mixed dried fruit.

Iced Coffee Substitutes

I like to use a store-bought iced coffee that is slightly sweetened for this recipe. There are many different brands of iced coffee that you can use, including: Big M, Farmers Union, Dare, Ice Break, Starbucks etc. 

Or Substitute The Iced Coffee For:

  • juice (orange, apple, pineapple etc)
  • black tea
  • coffee
  • chocolate milk
Iced coffee being poured into a bowl of dried mixed fruit.

Adding Alcohol To The 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake

If you’d like to add a splash of alcohol to your Christmas fruit cake, here’s the types that work best:

Simply add the alcohol to the dried fruit mix along with your chosen liquid (iced coffee, juice etc).

Storing & Serving Fruit Cake

This cake can be stored for up to 1 month.  To store, simply wrap in foil or place into an airtight container at room temperature.

Serve at room temperature or warm it up and serve with a drizzle of cream or custard (brandy custard is delicious too).

A piece of fruit cake with the whole cake in the background.

Baking Fruit Cake

Temperature

Cook our famous 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake on 160 degrees celsius fan-forced (320 degrees fahrenheit). If using a conventional oven (not fan forced) increase the temperature to 175 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit).

Time

We recommend cooking this cake for approximately 1 hour. However, as all ovens are different you might need to increase the cooking time by up to 30 minutes or even longer.

Testing If The Cake Is Cooked

The cake is cooked if the middle is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

What To Do If The Cake Is Browning Too Much

If you find your cake is browning too quickly, simply place a sheet of foil loosely over the top of the cake and continue baking.

A fruit cake with a gold ribbon around it on a copper wire tray

FAQ

Can this cake be made with gluten-free flour?

Yes – many of our readers have successfully made this using gluten-free self-raising flour.

Can I add extra spices?

Absolutely! Ground cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice are delicious in this recipe.

Can I use this recipe to make smaller individual cakes?

Yes you can! Simply reduce the cooking time depending on the size of your cake tins.

Can you taste the iced coffee in the cake?

Not at all!

Can I add nuts to this recipe?

Yes you can! And blanched almonds on top of the cake give it a traditional look.

Can this recipe be made vegan?

Absolutely – we’ve had lots of readers who have successfully used soy based flavoured milk in this recipe.

Can I cover this cake with a traditional royal icing?

Yes, absolutely! Many of our readers have done so and found it to work perfectly!

Can this Christmas cake be frozen?

Yes! Simply wrap the completely cooled cake in a layer of plastic wrap and then two layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

A gold fork with a piece of Christmas cake on it on a plate.

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3 Ingredient Christmas Cake

The Famous 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake

Introducing the famous 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake (fruit cake) made from mixed fruit, iced coffee and self-raising flour! Award winning, super easy and totally delicious!
5 from 64 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Christmas
Keyword: christmas cake, fruit cake
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 143kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (6 cups) dried mixed fruit see recipe notes
  • 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) iced coffee see notes
  • 265 g (2 cups) self-raising flour

Instructions

  • Place the mixed dried fruit into a very large bowl. Add the iced coffee (or liquid substitute) and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge overnight. 
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced). Grease and line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper and set aside. 
  • Stir the self-raising flour through the fruit mixture and pour into the prepared tin. 
  • Bake for approximately 1 hour (see notes) or until the cake feels firm in the middle and a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
Mixed dried fruit – can be bought pre-packaged from the dried fruit/nuts section of any major supermarket. I like to use the Sunbeam Mixed Fruit that contains sultanas, currants, raisins, orange peel, lemon  peel and glace cherries. 
Iced coffee – I like to use a store-bought iced coffee that is slightly sweetened for this recipe. There are many different brands of iced coffee that you can use, including: Big M, Farmers Union, Dare, Ice Break, Starbucks etc. 
Iced coffee substitutes – if you prefer, you can substitute the iced coffee with: juice (orange, apple, pineapple etc), black tea, coffee or chocolate milk.
Adding alcohol – a splash of alcohol can be added to the mixture. These all work well: brandy, whisky, sherry, dark rum, orange-flavoured liqueur, Baileys Irish cream, Kahlua or port.
Preparation time – This recipe need to be started the day before baking as the dried fruit needs to soak in the liquid overnight. 
Storing the cake – This cake can be stored for up to 1 month.  To store, simply wrap in foil or place into an airtight container at room temperature.
Freezing – Simply wrap the completely cooled cake in a layer of plastic wrap and then two layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
Serving the cake – Serve at room temperature or warm it up and serve with a drizzle of cream or custard (brandy custard is delicious too). 
Baking the cake – Cook at 160 degrees celsius fan-forced (320 degrees fahrenheit). If using a conventional oven (not fan forced) increase the temperature to 175 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit). 
Cooking time – Cooking time can vary from 1 hour up to almost 2 hours depending on your oven. The cake is cooked if the middle is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. 
If the cake is browning too much – loosely place a sheet of foil over the top and continue cooking. 

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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419 Comments
  1. Sharon says:

    Does the orange juice have to be fresh or can you use concentrated orange juice ?

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Sharon, it should be made with packaged orange juice that you buy in either the juice aisle of the supermarket or the chilled aisle.

  2. Belinda says:

    Do you know which gluten free sr flour works best?
    Thanks

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Belinda, I don’t but I’ll leave your question here and hopefully someone who has made this using GF SR flour might be able to help!

  3. Frances says:

    Can fresh orange juice be used please
    many thanks

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Frances, that should be fine!

  4. Dianne Allen says:

    Is this a nice moist fruit cake, I hate dry fruit ake

    1. Lucy says:

      I’m so glad you like it!

  5. Karen Korycin says:

    Hello Sharon

    Can you freeze this Christmas cake for 2 months before Chrissy.
    With thanks and cheers from Western AustraIia
    Karen K 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      Hi Karen, you certainly can! Simply wrap the completely cooled cake in a layer of plastic wrap and then two layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

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