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Christmas Cake Recipe


Veg CD CBF British 200mins

This is a recipe for a traditional British Christmas Cake. If you want to ice it, be sure to make the cake at least 1 week before Christmas Day.

Makes 1 x 20cm / 8-inch cake
Total time: Recipe tags : Cold Vegetarian  Dried Fruit  Alcohol  Nuts Christmas  Xmas   Cakes  teatime  Britain  Europe  photo


100g/4oz Glace Cherries, quartered
250g/9oz Currants
250g/9oz Sultanas
100g/4oz Chopped Candied Peel,
125g/5oz Plain Flour
225g/8oz Butter or Margarine
The finely grated rind of 1 Lemon
The finely grated rind of 1 Orange
225g/8oz Soft Brown Sugar
50g/2oz Ground Almonds
4 Eggs, beaten
100g/4oz Self Raising Flour
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
4 tbsp Brandy

To Finish/Decorate
450g/1lb Almond Paste
Icing Sugar
200g/7oz Apricot Jam
750g/1˝lb Royal Icing


1. Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, Gas Mark 3 and line a 20cm/8 inch deep cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.

2. Place all the fruit in a plastic bag and sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of the plain flour. Shake well to thoroughly coat the fruit. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the fat with the lemon and orange rinds and the sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Stir in the almonds and mix well.

5. Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time then fold in the remaining plain flour, self raising flour, fruit, lemon juice and brandy. Mix well.

6. Turn into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 2 ˝ - 3 hours. Check after 2 hours and cover with a double piece of greaseproof paper if necessary.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out.


This cake is traditionally covered with Almond Paste (marzipan) and royal icing as follows. 

8. Wait until the cake is completely cold then turn upside down, onto a plate. The bottom of the cake has now become the top. If necessary level what used to be the top so the cake will stand solidly.

9. Measure around the cake with a piece of string or tape measure.

10. Divide the almond paste into two and set one half aside. 

11. Dredge a work surface very well with icing sugar. Divide the remaining half into two and roll each piece into an oblong as wide as the cake is deep and as long as half the circumference of the cake. It should be just OVER 7mm/1/4 inch in thickness.

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12. Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan and use to brush the sides of the cake. Make sure you reserve some for the top of the cake.


13. Press the two strips of almond paste to the sides of the cake, smoothing the joins with a round bladed knife. Make sure the top of the almond paste sides are level with the top of the cake. Transfer to a cake board and set aside.


14. Well dredge the work surface once again with icing sugar then roll our the remaining almond paste to a circle large enough to fit the top of the cake.


15. Brush the top of the cake with the remaining apricot jam then cover with the circle of almond paste, pressing down firmly and smoothing the join.

You should now wait at least 36 hours but preferably 5-7 days before icing the cake. Store in an airtight tin.


16. Spoon the Royal icing on the top of the cake then using a palette knife, smooth it over the top using a "to and fro" motion, until all the bubbles have broken. 


17. Spread the icing down the sides of the cake, once again, smoothing with a palette knife.


Allow to set then store in an airtight tin


Tip - getting a really smooth icing requires a little practice and patience, especially down the sides. Why not just "rough ice" the sides using a round bladed knife by simply patting the knife firmly onto the icing then pulling it back up thereby creating little peaks. Dampen the knife with water when necessary.

End of instructions

Key techniques required to make this recipe


Bake - To cook in an enclosed oven

Beat – To introduce air into a mixture using a utensil such as a wooden spoon, fork or whisk, in order to achieve a lighter texture.

Cream - to - The process where sugar and softened butter are beaten together with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is light, pale and well blended. This process may also be carried out with a hand held mixer or in a food processor.


Serving Suggestions


Main equipment required to make this recipe

20cm/8 inch deep cake tin.


Mixing Bowl

Wooden Spoon

Pastry Brush

Greaseproof paper

Wire Rack

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