Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

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(21 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 45 mins - 50 mins Cook: 2 hrs - 2 hrs, 45 mins

Skill level



Cuts into 16 slices

A long-life Christmas cake that's bursting with flavours of spices and vanilla

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Can be frozen, but no need to
Nutrition info

Nutrition per slice

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  • 200g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100ml sherry, sweet or dry, whatever you have in the cupboard
  • 85g candied peel, roughly chopped (we used Sundora)
  • 85g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g currants
  • 100g pack pecans nuts, broken into big pieces
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1½ tsp rosewater
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder

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  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm round, 7.5 cm deep cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer for 1-2 mins until very creamy and pale in colour, scraping down the sides of the bowl half way through. Stir in a spoonful of the flour, then stir in the beaten egg and the rest of the flour alternately, a quarter at a time, beating well each time with a wooden spoon. Stir in the almonds.
  2. Mix in the sherry (the mix will look curdled), then add the peel, cherries, raisins, cherries, nuts, lemon zest, spice, rosewater and vanilla. Beat together to mix, then stir in the baking powder.
  3. Spoon mixture into the tin and smooth the top, making a slight dip in the centre. Bake for 30 mins, then lower temperature to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2 and bake a further 2-2¼ hrs, until a skewer insterted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then take out of the tin and peel off the lining paper. When completely cold, wrap well in cling film and foil to store until ready to decorate. The cake will keep for several months.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2004

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rubybell's picture

This is a gorgeous moist tasty cake. I couldnt find rosewater as I didnt look too hard (I could have found it if I had gone into town) so used some fresh orange juice instead. Also soaked the fruit for a very short time in some rum. Great success.

soraya's picture
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So good that my sister and her husband who were visiting from Paris, took part of it. A great success.

rowehe's picture
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Made this cake, the first Christmas cake I have ever made. I left out the rosewater as I couldn't get hold of it, then I 'fed it' some extra sherry for a couple of weeks. We started on it a week ago and there is only a quarter left. Very fruity and moist. Very easy to make and delicious. My 2 year old loved helping to make it, but Mummy licked the sherry bowl!

urssie's picture

I want to make this cake for my mum but i am having trouble finding rosewater, I am in the Republic of Ireland so if anyone could let me know where to get it that would be great.

ali_lenton's picture

Made this for my brother serving in Afghanistan. As it naturally has a long life, hopefully it'll survive the rigmarole of the journey and still be delicious when it reaches the guys. Hopefully, we'll have a photo to prove it in the new year!

Smells great, I can't wait to hear that they've got it. :D

d21hby's picture

i just made this today, it's my first christmas cake too :) i used sultanas in place of the mixed peel (does anyone actually like that) but other than that i stuck to the recipe. it's cooling now and looks perfect yay! going to keep it under my bed and feed it til christmas! x x x

barny82's picture

I've tried this recipe this afternoon. This is my first try of making a Christmas cake fingers crossed it goes well. Its in the oven as we speak and filling the flat with the smell of Christmas (think to much mixed spice fell into bowl oops).

cakeycat's picture

This is a delicious and easy recipe. 2 people devoured 3/4 of it (gave 1/4 to my mother) in under a month. It stayed moist and flavorsome the entire time. I used hazelnuts instead of pecans and Cointreau instead of sherry, as that was what was to hand. I liked that I made it about a week and half before Christmas and it didn't need feeding, so wasn't a really "boozy" cake.

sausageandcustard's picture

I made this today and it turned out well. Easy to make and the mixture looked 'right' if you know what I mean. It didn't curdle. I followed the recipe exactly except for substituting rum for the sherry.
I put whole almonds in circles on the top of my cake as I don't want to ice it. I'm just going to put a tartan ribbon around it. The almonds didn't sink and it looks really nice. Will let you all know what it tastes like after Christmas!