Be prepared for the shoot elevenses or hunt meet with the best fruitcake recipe, with a cake fit to salute the WI's centenary

The best fruitcake recipe will never fail over the festive season. Whether it is the Christmas table centrepiece, complete with hard white icing in the shape of holly leaves and berries, or bite-sized chunks for the hunt meet, fruitcake will always be a crowd pleaser. Ensure no-one is left wanting with this best fruitcake recipe, the WI centenary celebration cake.

There is perhaps no better recipe to honour the WI’s centenary than the best fruitcake recipe. A British staple, no shoot day, hunt meet or point-to-point is complete without one. The WI Cookbook by Mary Gwynn brings together recipes from 200-odd WI books and pamphlets. With both the original recipes and versions adjusted to modern tastes, it is a fascinating record and celebration of how women have cooked over 100 years.

For more on the WI and fruitcakes, read Fruitcake and the WI. Or, if you’d rather buy a fruitcake than make one this Christmas let Hattie Ellis pick for you, with her 6 top fruitcakes.


From The WI Cookbook by Mary Gwynn (Ebury Press, £20)

Makes a 20cm square cake

  • 225g butter, slightly softened
  • 225g soft, dark-brown sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 55g self-raising flour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 80g glacé cherries, cut into quarters
  • 400g currants, small pinhead
  • 190g sultanas
  • 55g mixed cut peel
  • 1⁄2 tbsp marmalade
  • Wineglass of rum

Line a 20cm square tin with a double layer of non-stick baking parchment. Make a collar of folded newspaper for the cake to sit on.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the flours and ground almonds.

Fold in the fruits, followed by the marmalade and rum. Make sure all ingred-ients are well mixed. Transfer to the cake tin and smooth the top.

Bake the cake at 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Turn down the heat after 30 to 45 minutes to 150°C/302°F/Gas Mark 2 and bake until ready (2 to 31⁄2 hours). Use your common sense and turn down the oven as necessary if the cake is getting too brown.