Easy Peasy 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 apricot jam, warmed and sieved
  • 1kg white marzipan
  • 1kg white fondant icing
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Ingredients breakdown

For pre-soaking…

For the cake…

For decorating…


The night before you get your bake on, prepare your fruit! Warm the juice and zest of your orange and lemon, and the brandy by simmering in a small pan (do not boil it), then pour over all of your mixed dried fruit. Stir through thoroughly and leave to cool and soak overnight.

Pre-heat your oven to 160°C/300°F/gas 3 and double-line a round 8-inch baking tin with parchment, leaving a couple of centimetres sticking out of the top.

For the batter, cream your soft butter with the light muscovado sugar and black treacle (using a food mixture 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 – there shouldn’t be much liquid left at the bottom of the bowl, but do add in any dribbles that are left. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into your cake tin until it’s ¾ full and flatten out the top. If you have remaining mix, why not turn them into little Christmas cupcakes!

Bake for one hour, reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas 2 and bake for another hour. If your oven has a notorious hot spot, be sure to give your cake a spin so it cooks evenly. Check the cake to see whether it’s done by inserting a skewer.

Leave the cake to cool inside the tin so that it keeps its shape. Now the beauty of this cake is that it doesn’t necessarily need feeding, however, if you like a boozy sponge, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra brandy. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place. 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)! Brush the sides and the top of the cake with the warm apricot jam. Liberally dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to about 2-inch larger than the surface of the cake. 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, checking that it is not sticking to the work surface. Dust the work surface with more icing sugar as necessary.

Carefully lift the marzipan over the cake using a rolling pin. Gently level and smooth the top of the paste with the rolling pin, then ease the marzipan down the sides of the cake, smoothing it at the same time. Neatly trim off any excess marzipan from the base of the cake with a small 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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