Traditional Christmas cake

    3 hours 45 min

    A pretty Christmas cake covered in a layer of marzipan and then royal icing. This is a traditional, fail-safe Christmas cake recipe that is sure to become a family favourite each Christmas.

    176 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 225g (8 oz) plain flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 200g (7 oz) butter
    • 200g (7 oz) dark brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons black treacle
    • 1 tablespoon marmalade
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 800g (1 3/4 lb) mixed dried fruit
    • 90g (3 1/2 oz) chopped mixed peel
    • 150g (5 oz) glace cherries, halved
    • 90g (3 1/2 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
    • brandy
    • To decorate
    • 200g (7 oz) marzipan
    • 1-2 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed
    • Royal icing
    • 3 egg whites
    • 550g (1 lb 5 oz) icing sugar, sifted
    • 2 teaspoons liquid glycerine - optional
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:3hr  ›  Ready in:3hr45min 

    1. Heat the oven to 150 C / Gas 2. Grease a 20cm round or 18cm square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
    2. Sift the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a bowl.
    3. Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in the treacle, marmalade and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
    4. Mix the eggs one at a time into the mixture adding a tablespoon of flour mixture with the last one. Fold in the remaining flour mixture until well mixed and then mix in the dried fruit, mixed peel, glace cherries and almonds.
    5. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
    6. Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer. If the skewer doesn't come out clean, bake for up to another hour testing every 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
    7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
    8. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool. Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tablespoons of brandy. Let the brandy soak into the cake.
    9. Store the cake wrapped in foil and in an airtight tin or plastic container, holes side up. OPTIONAL: For a rich and moist cake, spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake.
    10. To decorate the cake: Place the cake on a foil board or cake plate. Dust your hands and the work surface with a little icing sugar and knead the marzipan until soft.
    11. Roll out half the marzipan to fit the top of the cake and roll out the rest in strips to fit around the sides of the cake.
    12. Brush the cake all over with the warmed apricot jam and then place the marzipan on top and around the cake.
    13. Cover the cake with a clean tea towel and then leave in a cool place for at least one day.
    14. To make the royal icing: Lightly whisk the egg whites adding the sugar at intervals. Beat well until the icing reaches soft peaks. Add the glycerine if using and the lemon juice. Spread icing all over cake. Decorate with Christmas ornaments.

    Icing and decorating your cake

    Look at our handy guide to Icing and decorating a Christmas cake to learn how to prepare your cake, ice it and decorate it!

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    Reviews in English (6)


    This cake turned out fab put extra brandy in it yum yum thanks Jonathan  -  09 Dec 2011


    made this today smells and looks great shame I have to wait till Christmas to try it  -  11 Nov 2013


    i haven't made a Christmas cake for years but decided to make one. i had mine eaten before the big day all to myself. I also made two more to give as Christmas presents, they were delighted with the results my brother-law wants another one making. so i'll have to call it something else. any ideas? it really was the best fruit cake I have tasted  -  27 Jan 2015