2024 Rich Fruit Cake Handbook





This handbook has been put together to assist Show Societies and Groups on the process and

procedures in running an AgShows NSW Rich Fruit Cake Competition.

Outlined within the handbook are thorough regulations across all levels of the competition and specific actions required at each level to ensure the exhibitor is able to progress onto the next stage of the competition


1. Competition Objective:

a. The NSW Rich Fruit Cake Competition is conducted to seek excellence in the preparation, cooking and presentation of a rich fruit cake and to promote Australian produce.

2. Competition Process:

a. The NSW Rich Fruit Cake Competition is conducted in three stages:

i. Local competitions conducted under these regulations, held at Agricultural Shows affiliated with the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW. Recommend Entry be free

1. Winners receive the specified prize and are eligible to enter the second stage of the competition.

ii. Group Finals are conducted in each of the 14 regional groups of AgShows NSW where at least two eligible entrants have won a local competition in the current year. Entry is only open to eligible winners of local competitions. Entry is free.

1. Eligible entrants are required to bake a second Rich Fruit Cake to compete in the Group Final.

2. Winners receive the specified prize and are eligible to enter the third or final stage of the competition.

3. If there is only one eligible entrant in a group, they will be automatically appointed Group finalist without having to present a second cake and will proceed to the State Final.

iii. NSW State Final is to be held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show annually. Entry is open only to the Group finalists from regional competitions. Entry is free.

1. Group Finalists are required to bake a third Rich Fruit Cake to compete in the NSW State Final.

2. Winners receive the specified prize and are presented the AgShows NSW Plaque.

3. Rules

a. Entry to the competition is free.

b. At all stages of the competition Entrants must use the recipe provided.

c. In any year an individual competitor may participate in only one Group Final representing one Agricultural Show and, consequently, may represent only one Group in the subsequent State Final.

d. Agricultural Shows & AgShows NSW Groups of Shows conducting local competitions &/or Group Finals agree to follow these rules and guidelines.

e. Presentation of exhibits is a major aspect of all show cooking from exhibitors through local competitions, group and state finals. It is imperative to achieve the objectives of the competition that exhibits are displayed at their best during judging and on display.

i. Exhibitors should follow the instructions of these rules and the show schedules.

ii. Local Competitions & Group Finals

1. All exhibits should be displayed in a closed glass or similar cabinet clearly identified as being part of the “AgShows NSW Rich Fruit Cake Competition”.

2. Unless absolutely necessary, exhibits should not be enclosed in plastic bags or any other material.

f. Judging

i. Judging of local competitions and Group Finals must follow the AgShows NSW Judges

Conduct guidelines.

ii. A judge cannot judge and exhibit at the local competition and/or Group Final

iii. A judge cannot judge an exhibit, which the judge or his/her immediate family has baked

iv. It is desirable for Judges at all stages to be current relevantly accredited cookery judges e.g. CWA Land Cookery Accredited.

v. It is desirable for the names of judges at local and group level to be provided to the AgShows NSW along with results when sending the prizemoney invoice to AgShows NSW.

vi. Exhibits are to be cut in half straight across when being judged.

vii. Judging should be based on:

1. Appearance - Smooth appearance on the top bottom and sides. No sign of shiny, dark, overheated fruit protruding from the surface. The cake should be firm, smooth, fresh and moist to the touch, preferably with a well ripened

patina on the top surface. Straight sides, and a smooth flat top showing even distribution of fruit.

2. Finish in baking - No bumps, hollows, or sunken centres, nor large cracks (a small crack is not considered a major fault). The cake should cut cleanly, without any crumbs, and without catching or dragging of fruit. There should be no burning or crusty top or sides (caused by too hot an oven or insufficient papering). After the cake is cut, the fruit closest to the outside should not appear to be dark and shiny (caused by overcooking in too hot an oven). This fault causes a bitter flavour.

3. Colour - Attractive, even, golden=brown on the top, bottom and sides.

4. Texture - Firm and fine; it should be moist, not soggy, nor dry. The texture should be smooth and even, and the same right through the cake. A well ripened cake cuts cleanly and evenly.

5. Flavour & Aroma - Delicious, and should be a perfect blend of fresh eggs and

dairy ingredients, sugar, essences, flour, and spices, spirits, and quality dried

fruit. Beware of an overpowering flavour or aroma of essences or spices, or the acrid smell of overheated fruit.

6. Decoration – no decoration allowed.

7. Presentation – all paper to be removed prior to exhibiting.

8. The height of the cake should not exceed 5.7cm (57mm)

9. Prize money & Awards are sponsored by AgShows NSW.

i. Shows and Groups should pay the prize money in cash or similar method directly to their winners and apply to the AgShows NSW for reimbursement.

ii. Winners at local competitions are to each receive a prize of $25.

iii. The fourteen winners at Group level are to receive a cash prize of $50.

iv. NSW State Finalists are to receive a prize of $100 and be awarded the AgShows NSW Plaque.

The following recipe is compulsory for all entrants and must be printed in all schedules.


250g sultanas

250 g chopped raisins

250 g currants

125 g chopped mixed peel

90 g chopped red glace cherries

90 g hopped blanched almonds

1/3 cup sherry or brandy

250 g plain flour

60 g self-raising flour

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

250g butter

250g soft brown sugar

½ teaspoon lemon essence OR finely grated lemon rind

½ teaspoon almond essence

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

4 large eggs.


Mix together all the fruits and nuts and sprinkle with the sherry or brandy. Cover and leave for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. Sift together the flours and spices

Cream together the butter and sugar with the essences. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after, each addition, then alternately add the fruit and flour mixtures.

Mix thoroughly. The mixture should be stiff enough to support a wooden spoon. Place the mixture into a prepared square 20cm x 20cm (8” x 8”) tin and bake in a slow oven for approximately 3 ½ - 4 hours. Allow the cake to cool in the tin.

Note: To ensure uniformity and depending upon the size it is suggested the raisins be snipped into 2 or 3 pieces, cherries into 4-6 pieces and almonds crosswise into 3-4 pieces.

Judge Note: The height of the cake should not exceed 5.7cm (57mm)