Queensland Cake

This is a great cake, deserving of fine tea or coffee.

This is a rich fruit cake recipe, from a drover at Chinchilla in Queensland (Australia). It was typical of the type of "special" food some drover's cooks could achieve when cooking for the men on a long cattle drive as a variation from the more common meal of corned beef, potatoes, onion and damper, and sometimes "brownie" which is damper with dried fruit and a few spices through it.

Another specialty was roast leg of mutton cooked with pineapple and ginger. If you've ever tasted old scrawny mutton, you'd appreciate the transformation when it is cooked with tinned pineapple and ginger and basted with the tinned juice.

But here is the Queensland fruit cake recipe, which I think is too good to file away under International Recipes, but deserves to be listed under fruit-cakes.

You won't need a camp oven to enjoy this drover's delight. The use of ginger, Queensland nuts and Bundaberg rum make this the ultimate piece of Queensland cooking. Originally it would have been mixed in an old square kerosene tin and baked in the ashes of the camp fire by the drovers cook.

For the benefit of non Queenslanders, Queensland nuts are known to the rest of the world as "macadamias", but they are actually native to South East Queensland. The Bundaberg Rum mentioned is a dark rum, commonly 90 proof, but the old timers liked the over-proof version.


  • 1 pound raisins
  • 1 pound currants
  • 1 1/2 pounds sultanas
  • 6 ounces glace ginger, lightly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons treacle (or golden syrup)
  • 1 cup rum
  • 4 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 10 eggs


  1. Heat oven to 130 degrees C (260 degrees F). Double line an 11- or 12-inch square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl place all the fruit and pour over the treacle and rum; mix well.
  3. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices onto a large sheet of paper.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  6. Scrape butter mixture into fruit mixture and add flour. Mix all ingredients until well blended and spoon into prepared tin. Smooth the surface and cover with a layer of macadamia nuts, pressing the nuts into the cake mixture.
  7. Bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer.
  8. Remove from oven and brush with two tablespoons of rum.
  9. Cover while hot with a double layer of foil and leave for 24 hours to cool completely.

Contributed to Recipe Goldmine by yeateg, Australia, 11/11/03.

Source: Queensland Cake Chef - An anonymous drover from Chinchilla Queensland.