Paul Mercurio’s Trappist Fruit Cake

I’ve made this cake a few times for the Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Society Show cookery contest….

When I made this for the Spring Show this year, Mr Rathbone told me that this was his favourite of ALL the cakes I have made. Crikey! I thought I would have shared this recipe before now, but it seems I haven’t. So if you like fruit cake, and you want a yummy movie star one, this is it (closely followed by Diana Dors’ Easy Fruit Cake – I don’t seem to have put this recipe up either so I’d better rectify that soon).

I remember Paul Mercurio most from that great early 90s date flick Strictly Ballroom.

That film made me laugh so much when it came out. Mostly as I’ve had quite a lot of experience of hanging out with ballroom dancers (me here on the right in Blackpool)

But Paul Mercurio has reinvented himself as a food writer and he wrote a fabulous book which I use a lot…

As some of you will know, I make a lot of bread and mustard with my nephew’s beer and I have a pop-up shop at the brewery every now and then. if you are in London and want to go on my mailing list for the bread and mustard pop-up just let me know via the Contact Page.

I love Paul’s recipes but I keep forgetting he used to be a MOVIE STAR so I could write about his fab recipes here. Expect more BEER RELATED COOKING!



125g unsalted butter, chopped

185g brown sugar

425g mixed dried fruit

100g dried cranberries

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

60ml sherry

250ml Belgian Trappist ale

2 eggs, lightly beaten

100g macadamia nuts, chopped

150g plain flour

150g self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Grease 8 and ½ inch springform cake tin and line base and sides with baking paper, allowing the paper to rise 1 inch higher than rim of the tin.

Put the butter, sugar, dried fruits, spices, bicarbonate of soda, sherry and beer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir so that all the ingredients are well combined, then bring the mixture to a boil.  Pour mixture into a large bowl and place in fridge to cool down.  Once mixture is lukewarm, add eggs and nuts and stir them through.

Put all the flour in a bowl and stir to combine.  Fold the flour through the fruit until well incorporated.  Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, carefully remove from the tin and sit cake on a wire rack.

Allow the cake to cool for a few hours – if you cut it before it has cooled it can crumble.  Although this is a full-flavoured and dense cake similar to a Christmas cake, it does not have the shelf life of a Christmas cake.  Tightly wrapped in foil, the cake will keep for a week, in theory – but it won’t last that long as it is delicious!

I agree wholeheartedly Paul. This fruitcake is a peach!

One Response to Paul Mercurio’s Trappist Fruit Cake

  1. Hazel 3 Jul, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    I think fruit cake is my favourite cake. Or maybe carrot cake is. But it’s definitely near the top of the list and this one sounds delicious. And I’m going to look out for that book too. I’m not really supposed to be buying any more cookery books, but perhaps if I buy it as a present for my husband…?

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