Christmas Cake

I am delighted to have partnered up with Waitrose this festive season to celebrate the delicious food and wonderful folks that have shaped all of our Christmases past, present and future. I'm not going to be shy here – this Christmas cake recipe is utterly delicious and a firm family favourite. It could be the one that finally converts your fruitcake-hating friends!

Key Details

  • Serves: 10-12
  • Prep time: 24 hours
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 500g mixed dried raisins, currants and sultanas
  • 250g fancy mixed dried fruits (dates, figs, prunes, apricots, dried blueberries)
  • 50g candied peel
  • 50g glace cherries
  • 100ml brandy
  • 1 large orange, zest and juice of
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice of
  • 250g soft unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 250g of light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1tbsp black treacle
  • 100g roughly chopped nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, almonds)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½tbsp ground mixed spice
  • ½tsp salt
  • 3tbsp smooth apricot jam
  • 1kg white marzipan
  • 1kg white fondant icing
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Ingredients breakdown

For pre-soaking…

For the cake…

For decorating…

Christmas cake making starts the day before! Warm the juice and zest of your orange and lemon, and the brandy by simmering in a pan on low heat. You want to see steam but do not boil it. Pour over the rest of your pre-soaking ingredients, stir, cover and leave to soak overnight.

Preheat your oven to 160°C/300°F/gas 3 and line an 8-inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

For the batter, cream your soft butter with the light muscovado sugar and black treacle (using a food mixture or electric hand whisk will give you the fluffiest consistency). Crack in the eggs one at a time. Don’t be worried if your mixture curdles – once you add in your dry ingredients, all will be fixed! Once combined, add in the almonds, flour, mixed spice, salt and roughly chopped nuts, and mix until just combined. Finally, add in the pre-soaked fruit – juice and all – and combine.

Pour the mixture into your cake tin until it’s and flatten out the top. You want your tin to be 3/4 full – decant any excess into cupcake cases and bake separately so nothing goes to waste!

Bake for 1 hour, reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas 2 and bake for another 1 hour. To check if your cake is ready, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, you’re good to go!

Leave the cake to cool inside the tin. Now the beauty of this cake is that it doesn’t necessarily need feeding, however, if you like a boozy sponge, pierce the cake with a fine skewer and feed with a little more brandy. Wrap up your cake in two layers of greaseproof and then in foil and store in a cool, dry place (your kitchen cupboard is perfect). It can store this way for up to three months. If feeding, be sure to give it a week before you ice your cake to give the surface a chance to dry.

I’d recommend covering your cake no earlier than a week before serving, to avoid it drying out. Stand the cake upside down (flat side up)! Warm your apricot jam in a pan on low heat and use it to brush the sides and the top of the cake. Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a large round circle about 0.5cm thick. If you roll your marzipan into a ball first, it’ll be easier to keep the circular shape. Keep moving the marzipan as you roll to stop it from sticking. Dust the work surface with more icing sugar if it starts to stick.

Carefully lift the marzipan over the cake. If you drape it over a rolling pin you’ll have more control. Gently level and smooth the top of the marzipan, then ease the excess down the sides of the cake, smoothing it with a flat palm or cake smoother at the same time. Neatly trim off any excess marzipan from the base of the cake with a sharp knife.

Repeat the steps above with your white fondant icing, using a small brush of water on your marzipan to hold the fondant icing in place and decorate however you’d like!

Have you spotted my brilliant Brussels Sprouts recipe for Waitrose’s #ChristmasTogether series? Click, here!


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