Traditional Christmas Cake – best ever

I’ve discovered there are quite a few people in this world who don’t  like Christmas cake. I can’t believe it! Christmas cake would have to be one of my favourite treats out there (as long as I have a corner slice with marzipan and icing – that’s the best part). Like it of loath it, this is my version of the famous seasonal cake (with a little extra this and that, soaked in booze) and I love it!

x e.


Traditional Christmas Cake

Inspired by Delia Smith (I love her).

450g currants
175g sultanas
175g raisins
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed candied peel
3 tbsp Grand Marnier,
plus extra for ‘feeding’
225g unsalted butter
225g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
50g almonds, chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
1 level tbsp golden syrup
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange
20cm cake tin

1 packet of marzipan
1 packet of icing fondant


1.  Start the day before and measure out currants, sultanas, raisins, cranberries and peel into a bowl and mix the Grand Marnier through the fruit thoroughly. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to soak overnight.

2.  Next day, preheat oven to 120ºC (fan forced). Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy.  Whilst continuing to beat, add eggs a tablespoon at a time until incorporated.  This will prevent the mixture curdling.

3.  Sift in flour, spices and salt into the butter mixture. Lift the sieve up high to add as much air as possible. Gently fold in flour into the mixture until it just comes together.

4.  Fold in the soaked fruit, nuts, golden syrup and  zests to the mixture. Ensure everything is well mixed and place into a well lined tin, pushing the mixture into the corners.  The cake will be in the oven for at least 4 hours so it’ll need to be  protected so it doesn’t burn. Place 2 layers of  baking paper over the top with a few large holes to allow steam to pass through. Wrap two layers of grease proof paper around the cake tin and hold it in place with a piece of twine. This will protect the outer edge.

5.   Place in the oven on the lowest shelf and leave it for 4 hours. Check the cake after this time. You’ll probably need to place it back in the oven for up to another 3/4 hour. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the tin before putting it on a wire rack.  Once it’s cool, make small holes in the top of the cake with a skewer and ‘feed’ it at least a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or brandy over the whole cake.

6.  To ice the cake, roll out marzipan big enough to cover the cake completely. Place it over the cake and press it down along all sides. Do the same for the fondant and flatten it all out around the edges. Decorate the cake with any excess fondant.

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8 Discussion to this post

  1. Laura says:

    Hi There, Your cake looks so beautiful and delicious, have a couple of questions for you. What kind of spices are in the “mixed spice”? Could I make up my own? And if you didn’t want to use Grand Marnier, could you soak the fruit in orange juice? Thanks. :) Merry Christmas

    • Emily says:

      Hi Laura, mixed spice is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I’m sure you could swap the alcohol for orange juice. It might make it quite sweet. You could also try a strong black tea (like my Brak recipe). Let me know how you go! x e.

  2. […] You can find the whole recipe here! […]

  3. Rhonda says:

    Can you please advise the size of the cake tin I should use? Many thanks

    • Emily says:

      Hi Rhonda. The best sized cake tin to use would either be a 20cm round or 18cm square. Good luck!

  4. Yvette Hart says:

    Your cake sounds delicious, something I do is place my cake in a box I have made the size of my cake tin which prevents it from burning

  5. Sera says:

    Would I be able to make this the traditional way and leave it in a airtight box for up to three months to mature?

    • Emily says:

      I can’t see why not? You’d need to feed it 1-2 tsp of alcohol a fortnight up until you serve it and keep it airtight.

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