IRELAND: MacNean Traditional Christmas Cake (en inglés)

Karen Fahy from Galway, Ireland, brings us now the MacNean Traditional Christmas Cake, which makes the perfect dessert for the Roast Ham. The recipe is taken from Neven Maguire’s Cookbook and Neven states that “this is a very special recipe that has been handed down the Maguire family for generations. My Auntie Maureen was kind enough to let me share this you all and I hope your family enjoy it as much as we do every Christmas”.



  1. 14oz/400g raising.
  2. 14oz/400g sultanas.
  3. 6oz/175g currants.
  4. 4oz/110g cherries.
  5. 4oz/110g mixed peel, home-made or similar.
  6. 2oz/50g grated apple.
  7. 2oz/50g apricots, ready to eat and chopped.
  8. ½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated.
  9. ¼ teaspoon mixed spice.
  10. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  11. 2oz/50g chopped almonds.
  12. ½ lemond rind, grated.
  13. ¼ pint/150ml whiskey.
  14. 8oz/225g butter.
  15. 8oz/225g soft brown sugar.
  16. 6 eggs, beaten.
  17. 10oz/275g plain flour, sieved.
  18. 2oz/50g ground almonds.


  1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Gas 1.
  2. Prepare a 9 inch/23 cm round cake tin by lining with 2 layers of greaseproof paper extending 2 inches over top of the tin. Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin.
  3. In a large bowl place the raising, sultanas, currants, cherries, mixed peel, apple, apricots, nutmeg, mixed spice, cinnamon, chopped almonds, lemon rind and ½ of whiskey. Mix thoroughly and cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave overnight.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and sieved flour and beat until well mixed. Mix in the soaked fruit and the ground almonds and mix well.
  5. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth with the back of a spoon leaving a light hollow in the centre.
  6. Bake the cake for 3-3 ½ hours. Protect the top of cake from over-browning by covering with brown paper for the last 1 ½ hours of baking. As oven temperatures can vary, check the cake after 1 ½ – 2 hours. Test by inserting a small skewer into the centre of the cake – when it comes out dry the cake is ready.
  7. Cool the cake in the tin until next day. Then turn it out and remove the paper. Using a skewer, make about 8 small holes in the cake and pour the remaining whiskey over it. Wrap the cake in 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and then cover with a lay of foil. Store in an airtight tin in a cool place.


Sent by: Karen Fahy

Source: Neven Cooks by Neven Maguire (Chapter 9: Christmas in Cavan)

Editor: C.L.C., E.R.S.

Image: E. R. S.


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