Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe

No British Christmas is complete without a traditional Christmas Cake. It can be made weeks in advance and will keep until you are ready to decorate. Our traditional Christmas cake recipe is easy to make and more importantly tasty!

For a quicker alternative to fruit cake, why not try our Christmas Cupcakes Recipe?


This traditional Christmas cake recipe will serve 16 and takes about 3 ½ hours including cooking time.

  • 225g / 8 oz of butter or margarine softened at room temperature
  • 225g / 8 oz of dark muscovado sugar
  • 225g / 8 oz of plain flour
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 50g / 2 oz of ground almonds
  • 100ml / 3 ½ fl oz of Sherry, Brandy or orange juice for an alcohol free version
  • 85g / 3 oz of candied peel – chopped
  • 85g / 3oz of glacé cherries – chopped
  • 250g / 9oz of currants
  • 250g / 9oz raisins
  • 100g / 14oz of chopped pecan nuts (replace with an additional 100g of fruit) for a nut-free version
  • Finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Note: If you have time and like your Christmas cake moist, you can soak the dried fruit the night before in brandy or orange juice and make the recipe the next day.

For the icing you will need:

  • One pack of marzipan – we used ready rolled
  • 3 tablespoons of apricot jam
  • Fondant or royal icing – you can mix your own icing sugar or any ready to roll icing

Simple Christmas Cake Recipe


  • Preheat the oven to 160C / Gas 3 / Fan oven 140C. Fully line a deep 20cm round cake tin
  • Cream the butter and sugar, stir in one spoon full of flour and the beaten eggs. Progressively add the rest of the flour and the baking powder until well mixed. Stir in the ground almonds
  • Mix in the Sherry, Brandy or orange juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well
  • Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smooth to top of the tin and bake in the oven. After 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 150C/ Gas 2/ Fan oven 130C and bake for an extra 2 to 2 ½ hours, until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Once cold remove the cake from the tin and discard the greaseproof paper. Wrap well in cling film and foil and store in an airtight container

Decorating your cake

  • Warm the apricot jam and remove any fruit piece – brush over the top and sides of the cake
  • Roll out the marzipan and cover the cake
  • Prepare the icing according the the instructions on the package and ice the cake
  • Decorate to taste!

Did you know?

Traditionally coins were added to Christmas cakes and puddings. The coin, sometimes wrapped in a small piece of greaseproof paper, was to bring luck to the person who found it while eating the cake.

In Japan Christmas cakes are simple sponge cakes, frosted with white fresh whipped cream and decorated with strawberries and maybe the occasional chocolate. It is traditionally eaten on Christmas eve.

More festive recipes

For more seasonal recipes, why not make our simple marzipan mince pies recipe or tasty chocolate truffles recipe?

Christmas gifts

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift for a loved one, why not check out our cheerful Christmas balloons, cuddly Christmas teddy bears and tasty chocolates?

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