Snow-topped holly cakes

Snow-topped holly cakes

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(15 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 1 hr, 45 mins


Makes 2 cakes, each serves 8
This square Christmas cake is cut into two loaf-shaped cakes, so you can give one to a friend

Nutrition and extra info

  • Undecorated cake can be frozen


  • kcal584
  • fat20g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs97g
  • sugars87g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.32g
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 8 glacé cherries
  • small holly sprigs, washed and dried
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g butter, chopped



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 700g luxury mixed dried fruit
  • 50g glacé cherry
  • 2 tsp grated fresh root ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • zest and juice 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 100ml dark rum, brandy or orange juice
  • 85g pecan



    Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

  • 3 large eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 85g ground almonds


    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 250g pack marzipan, halved



    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 2 tbsp warmed apricot jam
  • 500g pack fondant icing sugar

Compare prices

Want to see what this recipe costs at different supermarkets? Compare in one place here:


  1. Tip the sugar, butter, dried fruit, whole cherries, ginger, orange zest and juice into a large pan. Pour over the rum, brandy or juice, then put on the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently to melt the butter. Reduce the heat and bubble gently, uncovered for 10 mins, stirring every now and again to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Set aside for 30 mins to cool.

  2. Stir the nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the fruit, then sift in the flour, baking powder and spices. Stir everything together gently but thoroughly. Your batter is ready.

  3. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Butter and line the base and sides of a 18cm square tin with baking paper. Spoon the cake mix into the tin and level the top with a spoon dipped into boiling water. Bake for 45 mins, then turn oven down to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Will keep well-wrapped in foil for 2 months or freeze for 1 year.

  4. Carefully cut the square cake in half and trim the edges so that you see the texture of the cake on all sides. Roll out each piece of marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar until the size of the top of each cake.

  5. Generously brush the top of the cakes with jam, place jam-side down on top of the marzipan, then trim away the excess marzipan with a sharp knife.

  6. Make up the fondant icing to a spreading consistency, then spread on top of the cakes so that it slightly runs over the edges. Top with cherries and holly, then leave to set. Will keep in a plastic container in a cool place for 4-7 days.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments (26)

vixvix's picture

A great recipe. This became my regular Christmas cake recipe a few years ago after I first tried it. I have also used the fruit cake, with different decoration, for birthdays. The cake is easy to make, moist and very fruity and the decoration is simple.

Like some other commentators, I find it takes a fair bit longer to cook than the recipe states (I can't say how much longer as I just keep testing and returning to the oven until it is cooked).

For me the most difficult part of making this recipe is getting the consistency of the icing just right so that it falls down the sides without running off the bottom of the cake. The advantage of having two cakes is that my second attempt is usually better than my first. I therefore display the better looking cake to my guests and slice and serve the other!

sandrahayes's picture

I have made this recipe for several years. Rather than making a square cake, I divide the mixture between 2 loaf tins and cook them at the same time. It makes a delicious cake and is so, so easy.

samilou1989's picture

This has just come out of the oven, gave it an extra 25 min cooking time as it was still wet in the middle. Its currently cooling, looking forward to the finished result!

ail4978's picture

Excellent recipe you just can't go wrong with it..I left out pecan nuts but put in 100g of ground almonds as I don't like the crunch of nuts in my fruit cake I also added 100ml brandy. So good had to make two..

sues0606's picture

I have just made this cake for Christmas for ourselves and sister in law. Both cakes are already half gone, not sure they are going to make it to Christmas!!! Really nice, not too heavy and better to have slices rather than big wedges. Recommend it :-)

clare_thomp's picture

Does anyone know if you cook 2 of these at one time do you need to increase the cooking time?

nikitagiles's picture

Sorry am I the only one that doesn't know what to do to make up fondant to spreading consistency? Can someone please tell me how to do this? Thanks

madc39od's picture

If baked in 2 loaf tins, how long should the cooking time be please?

lulubell79's picture

Anyone know how far in advance you can make it and how do you store it as im making some xmas hampers for the school raffle and would like to make some mini versions of this cake. Thanks x

lera1991's picture

Never made a christmas cake before and this one came out perfect!

weemom's picture

Love this cake. My tin was 9" so I doubled the ingredients and cooking time at 120 deg C fan and got a lovely result.

Sakura Sunshine's picture

I made this as a christmas present for relatives and they loved it! Takes some time but absolutely worth it and easy! highly recommended.

Sakura Sunshine's picture

Also I used 2 loaf tins and it came out perfect.

karen230674's picture

I've made this cake in a round tin before about 20cm diameter. Also I slipped up and put in too much fruit but increased on the other ingredients to compensate and it was still delicious.

mcjules's picture

I write this as i savour the last slice, it was by far the tastiest christmas cake i have ever made so i will stick to this recipe from now on.

tc1980's picture

The cake recipe for this is lovely. I substituted the pecans for walnuts, which i chopped roughly (just because that's what I had in). I cooked it in 2 loaf tins and it turned out suberbly! Very proud of the result and the walnuts gave it lovely crunch every so often, without making it too crunchy. Will definately be keeping this recipe

janeymcnulty's picture

Can anyone tell me if I can cook this in a round tin? if so what diameter?

kiwiislander's picture

Followed the instructions to the letter, in fact I cooked it longer - and it was uncooked/ soggy in the middle - total waste of ingredients. Gutted. Off to buy one from Tesco's !!!

muckymatt96's picture

Looks as good as it tastes!
Now a family favourite and I think you should make your own cook book too!

broadhaven's picture

This is a 5+ cake!!! I made it several weeks ago and I have just had a slice ( couldn't wait for the big day! )
It is gorgeous, the best I have tasted.
After a disaster of making another fruit cake I was beginning to think I just couldn't make fruit cakes, but you just can't go wrong with this recipe. Perfect Perfect...


Questions (2)

finmason's picture

If I make this in two loaf tins, how long should I cook them for and what temp? Thanks in advance

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi finmason thanks for your question. We haven't tested baking this cake in 2 halves so cannot guarantee perfect results but you could try baking them at 150C for 30mins then reduce the temperature to 140C for the next 45 mins. Hope this helps, let us know how you get on. 

last edited: 17:04, 18th Dec, 2014

Tips (0)

Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe…

Skills & know how

As well as helping you decide what to cook we can also help you to cook it. From tips on cookery techniques to facts and information about health and nutrition, we’ve a wealth of foodie know how for you to explore.

About BBC Good Food

We’re all about good recipes, and about quality home cooking that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for some healthy inspiration or learning how to cook a decadent dessert, we’ve trustworthy guidance for all your foodie needs.

Our recipes

All our recipes are tested thoroughly by us to make sure they’re suitable for your kitchen at home. We know many of you are concerned about healthy eating, so we send them to a qualified nutritionist for thorough analysis too.

Tell us what you think…

Love the new look or think we’ve missed the mark? We want to hear your thoughts – good and bad – to make sure we make the new website as useful as possible.


Subscribe to BBC Good Food magazine and get triple-tested recipes delivered to your door, every month.


Discover the dates and details of all the BBC Good Food Shows.


See your favourite chefs on Sky Channel 247, Virgin TV 260 and find their recipes at

Good Food Apps

Download the BBC Good Food Recipes, tips & cooking tools app and get good food on the go.