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Let them eat cake: Sara serves up suggestions for fruity festive treat

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Let them eat cake: Sara serves up suggestions for fruity festive treat

FESTIVE TOAST: ABC Riverina's Simon Wallace and TAFE NSW's Sara Morley get ready to tuck into some scrumptious Christmas cake.

Dense, decadent, boozy, spicy and studded with fruit, Sara Morley’s homemade Christmas cake won’t just evoke memories of Christmases past – it'll also save you a pretty penny.

On her weekly TAFE Buds segment with Simon Wallace on ABC Riverina this week, the TAFE NSW identity offered some handy hacks to bake a Christmas cake that would make Ebenezer Scrooge himself giggle in delight.

“Outside of family, food is one of the highlights of Christmas and when I think Christmas lunch, I think glazed ham and cake,” Ms Morley said.

“Make it yourself, cook it from the heart and you will have a Christmas cake that is cheaper than a store-bought one and far more authentic.”

Ms Morley ditches the nuts for her signature cake, and instead uses two unlikely secret ingredients – cocoa and cardamom.

Throw in mixed fruit, Cointreau and some added citrus zing (on top of all the other usual ingredients), and you’re on the way to a truly festive day.

If you’d like to sharpen your baking skills or consider a career in cooking, there are a smorgasbord of courses available at TAFE NSW. For more information, visit


Sara’s 2019 Christmas Cake



  • 900g dried mixed fruit (mix of sultanas, raisins, chopped prunes, chopped dates, currants or any other dried fruit of choice)
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 125ml orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
  • 2 oranges zested and juiced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 180g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom (or mixed spice)
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 50mls additional orange liqueur


  • Place dried fruit, butter, sugar honey, cocoa, liqueur, rind and juice in a large saucepan.
  • Bring to a simmer until butter is melted.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least ½ hour.
  • Meanwhile sift the flour, cardamom, almond meal, baking soda and powder together.
  • Preheat oven to 160C.
  • When fruit is cooled, add beaten eggs and mix well.
  • Add sifted flour, cardamom, almonds, baking powder and bicarb soda and mix together until combined.
  • Double line a square loose based cake tin.
  • Pour in mix and spread into tin.
  • Bake at 160C for approx two hours, or until it springs back in centre.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from tin, then brush with extra liqueur.
  • Wrap cake in a towel for two hours or until fully cooled.
  • Store wrapped in foil in a sealed container in a cool dry place.