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This is the recipe for the three ingredient cake I talked about recently on Facebook.

It’s quite a thing around the internet although I’ve only just come across it. There are different versions here, here and here. Google ‘three ingredient cake’ to find more.

I was very tempted to call it SHTF cake 🎂 It is a great thing to have in your repertoire when times have got particularly tough. You could even make it with just two ingredients, the fruit and flour, and use water to moisten. It will fill hungry people with something tasty when there is little to be had.

Having said that, I don’t want to undersell it. It’s a perfectly acceptable cake for its own sake.

I used this version here

The base recipe for Three Ingredient Fruit Cake


1 kg mixed fruit, about £3
3 cups, 750ml liquid, I used cold tea
3 cups, 450g self raising flour, 45p value flour/1.5kg, 13p

In a large bowl, mix the mixed fruit and liquid together and leave to soak overnight. Please don’t miss out this step, you will get an unsatisfactory result if you do.

The next day, stir through the flour. The mix needs to be just moist, it’s not very wet. I added a bit too much liquid and had to cook it for a good bit longer. Put it all in a prepared 23cm tin (lined or buttered), and bake at 125C for 2.5 hours or until cooked through. Test this with a sharp knife pushed in the cake. If it comes out dry, the cake is done, if wet, cook it for a bit longer.

Leave to firm in the tin for a bit, then remove and leave to cool on a rack. Slice when cold and store in an airtight container, or in the freezer.

Total nutrition 4463 calories, 1000 carbs, 19g fat, 65g protein, 679g sugars
Cut into 20 pieces, per piece – 223 calories, 50g carbs, 3g protein, 34g sugars

Total cost £3.13
Per slice 16p

Three ingredient fruit cake

The verdict

Slice of cake
For a cake with so little in it, this is remarkably tasty. It is a solid, Christmas cake like texture, veering towards bread pudding. I really liked it. A piece was good on its own, and super scrummy spread with a generous amount of cold, salted butter. It would probably be lovely fried in a bit of butter too, and maybe served with custard, cream or ice cream.

The recipe I followed used a 23cm tin, which makes an enormous amount of cake, quite possibly too much for many, although it will freeze beautifully.

For a more conventional 20cm version use
600ml liquid
600g dried fruit
2 cups flour

And bake at 160c for about 1 hour


I used cold tea as recommended in the recipe I used, but I can’t say that I could taste it.

I didn’t have a bag of mixed fruit but I did have various bits and pieces of dried fruit and used sultanas, currants, apricots, figs and prunes, plus a handful of hazelnuts on the verge of being too old to use. I would also be more than happy to use just one type of fruit

You could use absolutely any mix of dried fruit and it would work well.

The liquid can be tea, coffee, apple juice, orange juice or any fruit juice you like, milk, chocolate milk, a herbal tea. Anything you like really.

Add some mixed spice or cinnamon for a winter flavour. Stir it in, stick your nose in the bowl and smell the mixture. You should be able to tell by the aroma if you have added enough or need to add a bit more.

Add some chopped nuts, walnuts, almonds or maybe salted peanuts


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Bargain picture frames, book clubs and the Heffle Fair
Books, bonding, scarecrows and demos