Recipes for Stir-up Sunday

This coming Sunday is known to home bakers as Stir-up Sunday. It is the day for making your Christmas Cake and Christmas pudding.

I’m not keen on starting Christmas celebrations too early, but this is one exception. Christmas cakes and puddings taste much better for having some time to mature. The Sunday before Advent is the traditional day and the words “stir up” apparently come for the collect or prayer for the day.

These two recipes were handed down to me by my Mum. They are from Australia and a bit lighter than many traditional recipes. Other recipes are available!


Christmas Pudding


  • 4 oz  Margarine (or butter)
  • 4 oz  Dark muscavado sugar
  • 2  Eggs
  • 4 oz  Plain flour
  • 1 lb  Mixed fruit*
  • ½ tsp  each  nutmeg, cinnamon, mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp  Brandy (or similar)

* I use some mixed fruit, extra sultanas and raisins, chopped dates, chopped (flaked) almonds, stem ginger, glace cherries – whatever takes you fancy!


  1. Beat the margarine, sugar and eggs together
  2. Add alternate dollops of flour and mixed fruit
  3. Add spices
  4. Mix thoroughly and add Brandy
  5. Put into a greased basin, cover with greaseproof paper and tie cloth all over
  6. Steam for about 4 hours
  7. Remove covers and allow to cool thoroughly, recover with dry wrappings until needed
  8. Steam for one hour to reheat


Christmas Cake


  • 2 lb  Dried mixed fruit*
  • 8 oz  butter or margarine
  • 8 oz  Dark muscavado sugar
  • 5  Eggs
  • ½ tsp each  vanilla and almond essence
  • 1 tsp  Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 12 oz  Plain Flour
  • ½ tsp  each  nutmeg, cinnamon, mixed spice
  • ¾ (or 3-4?) tbsp brandy, run, ale or stout


  1. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, add essences
  2. Add alternate dollops of flour and mixed fruit, mix very thoroughly
  3. Put in a well greased and lined 8” or 9” tin, making a small depression in the centre
  4. If not to be iced, almonds (whole or flaked) can be arranged on top
  5. Bake in a slow oven – Gas 1, 150o C – for 3 hours until a skewer in middle of cake comes out clean
  6. Wrap in foil and store in airtight tin.
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