Mary Berry’s Mincemeat Loaf Cake is an perfect easy, one bowl bake – and it’s a perfect recipe for using up that half empty jar of mincemeat.
You can’t go wrong with a Mary Berry recipe and this one is a real classic.
I make these mincemeat loaf cakes every Christmas to give as gifts and they always go down really well.
The cakes really couldn’t be easier to make – all the ingredients are mixed in one bowl (my favourite kind of recipe!) so it takes mere minutes to put together. Perfect for this time of year when we are all so busy!
Looking for a fruit muffin recipe? Try these easy mincemeat muffins
What is a Mincemeat loaf cake?
The texture of a mincemeat cake is pretty similar to a Scottish Dundee cake – less rich than my Amaretto fruit cake , this is a light, crumbly fruit cake.
One thing I must make clear – there is no actual MEAT in this cake!
Mincemeat is a mixture of dried fruit, alcohol, sugar and spices. It is primarily used for making mince pies at Christmas time. If you like the idea of making homemade mince pies, I highly recommend this gorgeous Viennese whirl mince pie recipe.
Nothing puts me in a festive mood more than a freshly baked tray of hot mince pies. Believe me, the Christmas spiced aroma that fills your kitchen while they are baking is so worth the effort.
A slightly less fiddly option is these mincemeat shortbread bars – so delicious and definitely worth doing when you need a quick, easy bake.
is there actual meat in mincemeat?
No – certainly not in this recipe! Real meat was actually used in mincemeat many, many years ago, but it’s certainly not something you see in Britain these days! Mince pies are very much considered a festive sweet treat.
The only thing I do differently from Mary’s original recipe is replace 100g of currants with glacé cherries.
I have a bit of a weakness for them – I can’t resist their retro charm and they look suitably festive. If you aren’t a fan of cherries, you can swap them for currants or sultanas.
Can you make a large loaf cake with this recipe?
You can make a large 2lb (900g) loaf cake using this recipe, but to be honest I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve tried it and because it needs a much longer baking time, the cake turned out quite dry.
You’ll get a better result making two 1lb (450g) loaf cakes.
Alternatively you can make mini loaves just as I’ve done here – they make great Christmas gifts!
I used the Wilton recipe right 4 hole mini loaf pan for the photo below.
ingredients you’ll need to make this mincemeat loaf cake
(Scroll to the bottom of the post to find printable recipe Card)
You can use proper block butter or a baking margarine such as Stork – just make sure it’s soft. If the butter is fridge cold, it won’t incorporate with the rest of the ingredients.
Soft Light Brown Sugar
You could use caster (super fine) sugar instead, but I love the flavour of light brown sugar in fruit cakes.
Make sure your eggs are at room temperature before you start baking.
Self Raising Flour
self raising flour gives the cake a light texture. There is no need to use any extra rising agents.
You can use homemade or shop bought mincemeat here – I almost always use homemade mincemeat
I’ve found that adding a little liquid to the recipe makes the cakes a little less crumbly. If you’ve made this recipe before and love it the way it is, please don’t feel you need to change it! But if like me, you’ve found these cakes turn out quite crumbly (but delicious), then I recommend giving it a try.
Sultanas/raisins and Glace Cherries
For the best fruit cake, make sure the sultanas or raisins are plump and juicy.
If your dried fruit seems a little dry, you can soak it in alcohol or orange juice for about an hour or so before adding to the cake.
Whole Almonds and Glace Cherries for the topping
This is entirely optional, but it looks so festive and pretty.
Commonly asked questions and troubleshooting
How to tell if the cakes are fully baked
When the cakes are ready, the cakes will be shrinking from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake will emerge clean.
They will also spring back when lightly pressed.
WHY did My cakes sink in the Middle?
Overbeating the mixture can result in creating too much air in the batter, causing the cakes to sink in the middle.
It could also mean your oven is running a little too hot. An oven thermometer is a very useful tool to have if you bake a lot.
Removing the cakes from the oven before they are fully baked through can also cause them to sink.
Pin Mary Berry’s mincemeat loaf cake recipe for later…
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought of the recipe by leaving a comment – and please help this food blogger out and rate the recipe by clicking on the stars in the recipe card below!
More Christmas recipes to try
Mary Berry's Mincemeat Loaf Cakes
This classic mincemeat loaf cake recipe from Mary Berry is a very useful recipe for using up leftover mincemeat and makes two loaves - one for yourself and one for a friend! A classic, light fruit cake that's perfect with a cup of tea or a glass of mulled wine.
- 150 g soft butter
- 225 g mincemeat
- 150 g soft light brown sugar
- 225 g self raising flour
- 2 medium eggs
- 100 g Glace cherries
- 100 g sultanas
- 2 tablespoons milk (optional, makes a less crumbly cake)
- 50 g blanched almonds or halved glace cherries, for decoration
- Preheat oven to 180C/160Fan/350F.
- Grease and line 2 1lb (450g) loaf tins.
- Simply mix all the ingredients except for the blanched almonds together until they are well incorporated.
- Spoon the mixture into your loaf tins. Stud with the blanched almonds/halved cherries.
- Bake for 1 hour if using 1lb loaf tins or 35-40 minutes for mini loaf tins or until the cakes are shrinking from the sides, risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
You can "feed" this cake with brandy or rum if desired - once the cakes are cool, poke little holes in the top of them with a skewer and drizzle over your alcohol of choice!
This recipes makes 2 1lb (450g) loaf cakes or 4 mini loaves. I used Wilton recipe right non stick mini loaf pan.
The cakes will keep well for up to 7 days in an airtight tin. Wrap in a layer of baking paper before storing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g
Calories and nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be viewed as indicative figures only.
Ooo is this like an instant fruit cake Nic? I love the idea of using mincemeat in a loaf cake batter. Christmas cake for lazy people (or impatient ones who want to eat them now 😉 )
Yes Jodie, it’s perfect for when you need a fruit cake in a hurry but you don’t want to wait! The mincemeat keeps the cake nice and moist 🙂
I still haven’t made my mincemeat for this year but I will do by the end of the week!
I’m hoping to make mine tonight. What recipe do you use if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve made Nigella’s suet free recipe for a few years now.
That’s the one! The one with cranberries right? I’ve not made it before – got fresh cranberries finally in my fridge 🙂
The one I make is from HTBADG – it has bramley apples and cider. Love it! I also made the cranberry one but I add more sugar than the recipe states – it was a little tart for my taste. I’m sure I added a slug of cherry brandy as well 😉 I bought cranberries the other day – couldn’t contemplate Christmas without them 🙂
That’s good to know re:the sugar Nic thank you, I will up it too and I do like it sweet not sour. Ooo Christmas is coooooming! 😀 ??
So exciting! 😀 I remember a few people said the same thing on a cooking forum (Nigella.com?) thatt the recipe needs a little more sugar. But apparently it depends on the tartness of your cranberries. I’m actually tempted to make a batch of this tonight, it looks so beautiful in jars 😀
Followed this recipe to the letter but what a disaster. Put a line of nuts and cherries in the middle as shown in the picture. They all sank into the mixture and both cakes sank horrendously in the middle. Cakes looked slightly burnt so it seemed like my oven temperature but I had made a lemon drizzle cake just before putting these in the oven ( same temperature) and that was fine. Not tasted yet but so disappointing as these were for gifts. Don’t know what went wrong.
Oh no that is disappointing, I’m really sorry the cakes didn’t turn out for you 🙁 I make this Mary Berry recipe every Christmas for my Mum and they have never sank yet (touch wood!) Did you use Mini loaf tins? The ones I use are by Wilton – it’s a 4 cavity tin. Although having said that, it doesn’t sound like the tins were the issue. Sometimes the slightest change in oven temperature can cause problems so maybe that’s why they sank in the middle. If you followed the recipe to the letter I can’t think of any other… Read more »
Hi Nickki, Can you tell me what oven time for 2, 2lb loaves of the cake? I have done it in the past by doubling recipe, but can’t remember timings. I thought probably up to 2 hrs. Thanks. Lorna.
Hi Lorna I haven’t done it myself, but I would say around 2 hours would be right. I would maybe check the cakes after about 1 hour 1/2 baking time.
Thanks Nickki x
Does anyone know the cooking time for a 2lb loaf tin…
Like my cake on the large side.
Hi, in my oven it took about 90 minutes for a large cake.
I had a go at making this cake today but the batter was quite dense. I felt there was too much flour. Anyone else n have this problem?
Hi Wendy, I personally haven’t found the batter to be dense with this recipe – it should be quite loose and drop off the back of a spoon easily. If you make it again and encounter the same issue, I would maybe try adding a tablespoon of milk to loosen the batter.
Since I don’t like cherries would I have to increase amount of sultanas by 100g instead?
id like to make this cake but you dont acutally give the measurements of the ingrediants. Or have i missed themsomewhere
Hi Gaynor, the recipe card with everything you need is right at the bottom of the post – you can scroll down or click “jump to recipe” at the top of the post and it will take you there 🙂
I’m going to make this this week as I made the amaretto Christmas cake and it’s all but gone! We’re visiting friends this week and I said I’d bring some Christmas cake!?!. This recipe sounds perfect. I’m thinking of substituting some of the sultanas for chopped figs as I love the taste. Do you think if I made one large loaf and then sliced it flat, I could ice it like a regular Christmas Cake, or is it too crumbly? Thanks Nickki.
I’ve never tried icing it Jacqui, but it is a rather crumbly fruit cake so I’m not sure if it would work I’m afraid. Glad you enjoy the Amaretto cake 🙂
Hey!! I have some homemade mincemeat left over and fancy making a cake with it. Would this recipe work if I left out the cherries and sultanas and just added the mincemeat?
Hi, yes I’m sure it would work just fine without the extra fruit 🙂
Absolute delicious recipe which never fails!
Hi Priscilla, I’m so pleased you enjoy it 🙂
Made this cake on a few occasions but it always crumbles. Love the taste however.
Hi Jean, I also find it quite a crumbly cake. It’s definitely delicious though 🙂
Can any one now how change this recipe to gluten free please thanks
I did not find this made two cakes, despite making it twice as I thought I’d gone wrong somewhere. The mixture was also very dense, it made one very dense cake but lovely ☺️
Hi Samantha, I do agree with you. I’ve been making this cake for years and I’m actually convinced the outcome depends on your mincemeat. If I use suet free mincemeat, you end up with a very crumbly (but none the less delicious) fruit cake. Whenever I’ve tried it with mincemeat containing suet (usually from a jar) it’s quite a bit denser. What type of mincemeat did you use?
I want to make this but don’t have a loaf tin. Any suggestions? I have round deep cake tins and muffin tins
I would try the muffin tins – I’ve made them in mini loaf pans (as the picture shows) and they always turn out really nice.
I love this quick and easy mincemeat cake, it also freezes well
I’m so pleased you like it, thanks for letting me know 🙂
I’ve just made the cake with mincemeat . Delicious but cannot cut into slices as crumbles completely into crumbs . Why is this ? Ate with a spoon 🤦🏻♀️ If I made another and feed it with brandy will it help it to be less crumbly.
Hi, it is quite a crumbly fruit cake, but if you can’t cut it into slices then that doesn’t sound right. I think adding some liquid to the recipe might help. I’ve just made the cakes and added two tablespoons of milk (but I’m you could use alcohol instead). I will report back with the results! **Edited 21/11/22 18.55 – I definitely recommend trying it with the milk – my cakes are much less crumbly and easy to slice!**