The original cakeboxes were made for the Dunning family over 50 years ago and have been used to bake hundreds of fruit cakes over the years. The wooden cakeboxes make fruit cake baking simple and successful. Each cakebox comes with our family fruit cake recipe or they can be used with your own traditional recipe. Because the natural timber insulates the cakes as they bake, there is no need to wrap the box with extra layers of paper during baking. Our Kahikatea wooden cakeboxes do not need to be pre-cooked or seasoned. Kahikatea is a superior odorless timber so there is no risk of taint during baking as with other types of pine boxes. The cakebox should be brushed out after each use.

Lining a cakebox

If you want a cake with sharp square edges and corners, you need to line your cakebox carefully, tapering the baking paper into the corners. I ‘pleat’ the paper around the sides and then place one layer over the bottom of the box.

Baking a fruit cake step by step

Begin by cutting the butter into cubes and melting it over a low heat with the sugar, dried fruit and spices. Use a large heavy bottomed saucepan so the whole cake can be mixed in the pan. Chop the almonds coarsely and zest the lemon. Add to the mixture in the pot along with the squeezed lemon juice and brandy. The corn flour is added last to thicken the mixture. You will get a richer, darker fruit cake by leaving the mixture to cool overnight.


Allow the mixture to cool completely. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl then add them to the fruit mixture alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Mix carefully with a wooden spoon then pour the mixture into the prepared cakebox. 


Place it into the centre of the oven to cook. If you are cooking more than one cake at a time, leave a space between the boxes for air to circulate.


The perennial Christmas cake controversy; how to store a fruit cake. 

Fruit cakes freeze well. I wrap them in grease proof paper then a layer of cling film or foil. Place them in a plastic bag and tie, then freeze. 

They will last for months stored in a cool dark place. Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper then brown paper or newspaper. Store where the ants won’t find them! Extra alcohol can be sprinkled over the cake occasionally.


Fruitcake recipes are very forgiving. You can omit and add ingredients without too many problems. Different dried fruit can be used, nuts omitted, and spices changed to suit your preferences.

Baking tips
  1. If your cakes are sinking in the middle, try adding 1/2 cup more of dried fruit
    (per kg of fruit). I like to add currants and dried figs.

  2. Add extra roasted almonds for more texture.

  3. Cutting down on sugar?  Reduce the brown sugar by 1/4. Add extra dried fruit including figs instead.

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