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Upside Down Christmas Fruit Cake

This is my favourite dense and rich traditional fruit cake with a crunchy topping of nuts and cherries. This cake is perfect to enjoy after Christmas dinner or to slice up and serve for morning tea.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Standing Time 2 days
Servings 20 slices, approx
Author Sally


  • 1 kg mixed dried fruit
  • ½ cup grand marnier or brandy
  • 250 grams dairy-free butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice

For the topping

  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • ¾ cup whole pecans
  • 100 grams glace cherries


  • Combine the mixed dried fruit and the grand marnier or brandy in a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C and line the base and sides of a 22-25 cm square or round deep cake pan with three layers of baking paper. Into the base of the pan, scatter the topping ingredients evenly.
  • Using either a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat together the dairy-free butter, brown sugar and orange zest until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time beating between each addition. Finally mix through the orange marmalade. Add this mixture to the bowl with the dried fruit and use a spatula to mix through.
  • Finally sift the flour and spice over the top and mix through. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan over the topping and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 2 ½ - 3 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the cake is starting to get too brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil half way through.
  • Once cooked, place a piece of foil down on a wire rack and turn the cake pan upside down and wrap it in a tea towel and let sit like this overnight. This will ensure the cake cools slowly and therefore will stay moist for longer. To serve, remove the cake from the pan and cut into slices.


This cake will last if properly wrapped for up to 12 months if the alcohol used is 40% as this helps preserve it. I love the flavour of Grand Marnier but I’ve also used rum and scotch whisky in this cake with excellent results.
To store the cake, wrap the cold cake in plastic wrap, then foil and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze the cake.
Gluten-Free Option: Replace the plain flour with a 1-1 gluten free plain flour.
I use Nuttelex to replace butter in most of my recipes as it is vegan and gives a 'buttery' flavour without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closest US alternative I believe is Earth Balance. Otherwise any dairy-free spread will work.
Not from Australia? Check out my US Conversion Guide.