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!

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