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Last-Minute Mincemeat Cake

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A simple mincemeat cake to enjoy at Christmas time. An easy recipe made with just a few ingredients and ready in no time, a last-minute alternative to a more laborious Christmas fruitcake.

close up moist slice of mincemeat cake with dried fruit on a silver plate.

The mincemeat cake is a quick and delicious alternative to a traditional Christmas fruitcake, perfect with a cup of tea. This easy recipe takes minutes to whip up, yet it lets you enjoy the beautiful flavors you want during the festive season.

All you need to do is stir a few ingredients for a couple of minutes, then let the oven do its job. You can either make an extra almond and glace cherry topping or decorate this rich and moist cake with fondant or royal icing.

And if you are searching for more fruit cakes, check out our super-popular Non-Alcoholic Christmas Fruit Cake or the Pumpkin Fruitcake. Or try these wonderful Mincemeat Tarts.

Cake ingredients

listed ingredients for mincemeat cake with dried fruit on a white table.
  • Mincemeat: A mixture of chopped fruit, spirits, and spices. You can use homemade mincemeat (check out our traditional Mince Pies) or a good-quality store-bought product. I used a jar of mincemeat for this recipe.
  • Fruit: A small eating apple, chopped prunes, and some raisins.
  • Muscovado sugar: An unrefined brown sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor. It is typically used for making fruitcakes.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter at room temperature.
  • Eggs: Medium eggs at room temperature.
  • Self-raising flour or 250 g all-purpose flour mixed with 3 1/3 teaspoons baking powder.

Ingredients for the topping

listed ingredients for almond cherry topping for fruit cake.
  • Golden syrup or light treacle is inverted sugar syrup made with sugar, water, and citric acid. It has a deep golden color; it’s thick and sticky.
  • Nuts and fruit: Whole blanched almonds, walnut halves, and glace cherries.
  • Other ingredients needed for the topping: Unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, and a small pinch of salt.

Substitutes

  • Dried fruit: Use any other chopped dried fruit you like (apricots, dates, currants, cranberries, etc.).
  • Muscovado sugar: You can replace it with 1:1 unrefined, molasses-containing sugar like jaggery, panela, or Sucanat.
    • The next best thing is dark brown sugar. Use almost the same amount, replacing one tablespoon of sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses if available.
  • Self-raising flour: A typical UK product, not available in most other countries.
    • To make your own self-raising flour add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to each 150 g of plain flour (about 1 cup). Mix 250 g of all-purpose flour with 3 1/3 teaspoons of baking powder for this recipe.
    • Remember that UK self-raising flour mixture doesn’t contain salt, while American self-raising flour (often used for biscuits) does contain salt. If baking this recipe in the US, leave out the salt needed in the recipe or mix your own self-raising flour without salt.

Cake tin conversions

  • Square tin – 18×18 cm/ 7×7 inches
  • Loaf tin – 15×20 cm/ 6×8 inches

Do you have an open bag of muscovado? Try some of these recipes: Toffee Apple Cake, Butterbeer Potted Cream Recipe, Mirror Glaze Chocolate Cake, and Rock Cake Recipe.

overhead view of mincemeat fruitcake with a slice mixing and a red christmas flower above it.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Preparations: Heat the oven and line the cake tin with parchment paper.
  • Mincemeat: Mix it with the peeled and finely chopped apple in a small bowl (1).
bowl with mincemeat and chopped apples.
  • Dough: Mix all the ingredients for the dough (except mincemeat and apple) in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy (2).
  • Stir in the mincemeat mixture with a wooden spoon or a spatula (3).
collage of two pictures of making batter for mincemeat fruitcake.
  • Bake: Transfer the dough to the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes until almost done; the cake should start to come off the sides of the tin, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out almost clean.
  • Make the topping during the last 5-10 minutes of the baking time.
  • Heat the golden syrup and the butter in a small saucepan (4).
  • Add the remaining topping ingredients and stir well to combine (5).
collage of two pictures of melting golden syrup with butter and adding nuts.
  • Spread the mixture on top of the mincemeat fruit cake and bake for another 13-14 minutes until the topping is shiny and golden (6).
  • Cool: Place the tin on a wire rack and let cool completely.
baked mincemeat christmas cake topped with nuts and cherries.

Expert tips

  • Don’t forget to check the mincemeat Christmas cake after ½ – ¾ hour; if the top gets too dark, please cover it loosely with aluminum foil. It is preferable to use a deeper tin; that will also help with keeping the mincemeat cake from getting too dark on top.
  • Room temperature: Ensure that the ingredients (butter, eggs) are at room temperature; the butter should be soft. The beaten eggs and sugar will create an emulsion that traps the air in the batter. This air will expand during baking, making the baked goods light and fluffy.
  • Tap the pan on the working surface after filling it with the dough. This will force out air pockets that might cause a hollow in the middle of the mincemeat cake.

Recipe FAQ

Do I have to use the fruit?

No. If you don’t like fruitcakes, leave out the prunes and the raisins.

Do I need the topping?

It tastes delicious, but a simple mincemeat cake sprinkled with icing sugar also hits the spot.

Can I cover the cake with fondant?

Yes, if you leave out the topping. Bake without topping for 1 ¼ hour or until baked. When cold, glaze it with a little warmed apricot jam. Cover it with rolled marzipan (about 400 g) and rolled fondant (about 250 g).

Can I cover it with royal icing?

Yes. Bake it without the topping. When cold, cover it with about 250 g of royal icing.

How to store?

Once completely cool, store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature. It will be fine for about 4 days.
Freeze it wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil; it will be fine for about 3 months.

close up mincemeat cake topped with golden almonds, walnuts and cherries.

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close up mincemeat cake topped with golden almonds, walnuts and cherries.

Last-Minute Mincemeat Cake

A simple mincemeat cake to enjoy at Christmas. An easy recipe made with just a few ingredients and ready in no time, a last-minute alternative to a more laborious Christmas fruitcake.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cakes
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 543kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • 1 round cake tin 20 cm/ 8 inches, Note 1

Ingredients 

Mincemeat cake (Note 2):

  • 300 g mincemeat from a jar or homemade, 10.5 oz
  • 1 small apple
  • 175 g unsalted butter soft, 6 oz/ 2/3 cup
  • 100 g dark brown muscovado sugar 3.5 oz/ ½ cup, Note 3
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 250 g self-raising flour 9 oz/ 2 cups, Note 4
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 35 g prunes 1.2 oz/ ¼ cup chopped, Note 5
  • 35 g raisins 1.2 oz/ ¼ cup

Topping (Note 5):

  • 75 g golden syrup 2.6 oz/ ½ cup
  • 40 g unsalted butter 1.4 oz/ scant 3 tablespoons
  • 45 g glace cherries 1.5 oz/ about ¼ cup
  • 65 g almonds whole and blanched, 2.3 oz/ ½ cup
  • 50 g walnuts 1.7 oz/ ½ cup
  • 40 g all-purpose flour 1.4 oz/ 1/3 cup
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions

Mincemeat cake:

  • Preparations: Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line the cake tin with parchment paper.
  • Mincemeat: Spoon it into a bowl. Peel and core the apple and chop it finely. Stir it into the mincemeat.
  • Dough: Place the soft butter, muscovado sugar, eggs, flour, and salt into a large bowl. Mix shortly at low speed to combine. Increase the speed and beat the mixture for about 2 minutes until light and creamy. Stir in the mincemeat-apple mix using a spoon or a spatula.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Tap the container gently on the working surface to release any air pockets.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes until almost done. Don’t forget to check after ½ – ¾ hour; if the top of the cake gets too dark, please cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Make the topping during the last 5-10 minutes of the baking time.

Topping:

  • Combine: Heat the golden syrup and the butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add cherries, almonds, walnuts, flour, and sea salt. Stir well to coat the ingredients with the syrup.
  • Bake: Spread the mixture on top of the mincemeat cake and bake for another 13-14 minutes until the topping is shiny and golden.
  • Cool cake: Place the tin on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely on the wire rack.

Notes

1. Alternative cake tins:
  • Square tin – 18×18 cm/ 7×7 inches
  • Loaf tin – 15×20 cm/ 6×8 inches
2. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it guarantees the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
3. Muscovado sugar substitute:
  • You can replace it 1:1 with unrefined, molasses-containing sugar like jaggery, panela, or Sucanat.
  • The next best thing is dark brown sugar. Use almost the same amount, replacing one tablespoon of sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses if available.
4. Self-raising flour substitute:
  • Mix 250 g of all-purpose flour with 3 1/3 teaspoons of baking powder for this recipe.
  • Keep in mind that UK self-raising flour doesn’t contain salt, while American self-raising flour (often used for biscuits) does contain salt. If baking this recipe in the US, leave out the salt needed in the recipe or mix your own self-raising flour without salt.
5. Dried fruit: You can bake the cake without dried fruit or use any other dried fruit (and peel) you like.
6. Decoration: If you would like to cover the cake with fondant or royal icing, leave out the topping. Bake the cake for 1 ¼ hour or until done (toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean). When cold, decorate it as desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 647IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg
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