tradition chrismas cake

Classic Christmas cake recipe with a showstopping twist

Wow your guests with a homemade fruity festive dessert topped with fun Christmas cake decorations

tradition chrismas cake

Photo credit: Haarala Hamilton

Whether you’re a budding baker or a seasoned cake maker, you’ll want to round off your Christmas day menu with dessert to remember.

Follow the instructions below, serve with a hot toddy and impress your guests with this fruity, festive centrepiece!

Prep 1 hour + soaking overnight cook time 2.5 hours makes 20cm round cake.

Ingredients for the fruit

  • 900g dried fruits (such as apricots, dates and candied peel), chopped
  • 500g dried vine fruits (e.g. raisins and cranberries)
  • 8-10 tbsp liquid (e.g. orange and cranberry juice, cold black Earl Grey tea or brandy)
  • Zest and juice counts towards the 8-10 tsbp of liquid, above)

For the cake

  • 350g butter, softened
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g roughly chopped nuts

To serve

  • 1kg marzipan
  • Icing sugar
  • Christmas cake decorations


  1. The day before baking the cake, prepare your fruit. Warm the liquid in a pan and pour over the dried fruit and zest in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and leave to soak overnight. It should be juicy and plump in the morning.
  2. The next day, preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 4 and double-line a 20cm round baking tin with parchment, leaving 2cm sticking out of the top.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, a couple at a time, with a little spoonful of the almonds in between, to stop the mixture curdling. Once combined add in the flour, baking powder and the rest of the ground almonds, plus the nuts, and mix beriefly. Then add in the pre-soaked fruit. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin – it should be 3/4 full – and ensure the top is flat. Place two circles of parchment on top of the cake – this stops it getting too dark in the oven.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the cake around (in case your oven has any hot spots), reduce the temperature to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 3, and bake for around 1-1.5 hours more.
  7. After the second hour, check the cake to see whether it’s done – insert a skewer into the middle; when it’s done, there should be no raw mixture.
  8. Leave the cake to cool inside the tin. When cool, cover in marzipan and arrange some Christmas decorations and a little log cabin on top – with lots of icing sugar sprinkled over for a festive snowy effect.


Recipe taken from Bee’s Adventure in Cake Decorating by Bee Berrie, £12.99 (Pavilion Books), photography Haarla Hamilton.


What’s your go-to Christmas dessert? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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