Sweetened Condensed Milk Christmas Cake

12:30 pm on 17 December 2011

Adapted from the 'Sweetened Condensed Milk Christmas Cake', contributed by Mary Browne to New Zealand Guild of Food Writers' The Cookbook (2000). This recipe was an updated and metricated version of a popular Christmas cake of the early 1970s. Mary revised it from a hand-written version, found in a coverless cookbook from Oamaru, to satisfy the many requests for the recipe from family and friends who appreciated the 'quick-mix' method and the cake's excellent flavour and moist texture.

Mary's youngest daughter makes at least three before Christmas each year because her husband loves rich fruitcakes and each one disappears before the official celebrations begin. As a result time runs out for icing and decorations.

Condensed Milk CakeIngredients

  • 125 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 x 400 g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1.2 kg mixed dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup rum, sherry or port, plus extra 2 tablespoons to pour over cake when cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 350 g bread flour


Line the base and sides of a 20 cm-square or 22 cm-round cake pan with a layer of brown paper followed by a layer of non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 130˚C with a shelf in the middle or just below.

Choose a large-enough saucepan to hold all the ingredients for the final mixing. In it, melt the butter, golden syrup and sweetened condensed milk over gentle heat, stirring constantly until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs with the essences until light-coloured and thick.

Place the dried fruit in a bowl and add the 1/4 cup of rum, sherry or port. Stir to mix thoroughly. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Sift the flour.

Fold the eggs and essences into the mixture in the saucepan. Add half the fruit and half the flour. Mix gently. Add the remaining fruit and flour. Add the milk mixture. Stir gently until thoroughly combined.

Spoon into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Bake at 130˚C for 3–3 1/2 hours. (See hint below on how to test when a cake is cooked.)

After baking, sprinkle with the extra measure of rum, sherry or port. Cover loosely with foil and leave to cool completely before turning out. Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight cake container or wrap in foil.