Sherry & almond Christmas cake

Sherry & almond Christmas cake

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(19 ratings)

Cook: 3 hrs Prep 30 mins plus overnight soaking


Cuts into 12 slices
Packed with almonds, both ground and whole, and fed with raisiny PX sherry, this is intensely fruity - but not overly rich

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving with icing and marzipan

  • kcal1079
  • fat54g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs137g
  • sugars126g
  • fibre0g
  • protein19g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 1kg bag mixed dried fruit (not one with cherries)
  • zest and juice 2 large oranges



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

  • 150ml PX (Pedro Ximenez) sherry, plus extra for feeding
  • 250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for the tin



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

  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
  • 140g plain flour
  • 100g ground almond


    arr-mund or al-mund

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

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 large egg, beaten



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

  • 140g whole almond


    arr-mund or al-mund

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


  1. Mix the fruit, zest, juice and sherry, and leave overnight to soak. Next day, heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep, 20cm round cake tin. Wrap the outside with brown paper or newspaper and secure with string, as this will protect the sides from overcooking.

  2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds together until pale and creamy. Mix the flour, ground almonds and mixed spice together, then tip into the butter mix with the eggs. Beat until combined and smooth. Stir in the whole almonds, fruit and any leftover juices, turn into the tin, then smooth the top and make a dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs.

  3. Turn down the oven to 140C/fan 130C/ gas 2, then bake for 1½ hrs more until dark on the top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, or with a few damp crumbs clinging to it. Once cool enough to handle, turn onto a cooling rack and peel away the lining paper. Cool completely.

  4. Keep the cake well wrapped, then feed once a fortnight with 1-2 tbsp sherry. Poke holes into the cake with a skewer and slowly spoon over the sherry. If you don’t have time to do this, this cake is delicious freshly made, and can be covered and decorated as soon as it has completely cooled down.

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Comments (32)

melanieall's picture

I've made this cake every year since it was published. It is so easy to make and tastes moist and delicious, highly recommend.

frankthetank's picture

Made this the past two christmases and will definitely be making it this year.
Lovely rich and moist fruit cake.

Thank you

justjane13's picture

Brilliant recipe for Christmas cake. I made this for the family at Christmas time and they loved it! I didn't add almonds as hubby is not keen on those and used brandy to feed the cake instead of sherry. This was my first attempt at Christmas cake and I couldn't have been more happy with the results. Thanks for a great recipe! :-)

sarahleetes's picture

Made this cake for Christmas, but used gran marnier not sherry instead. it took less time to cook than recipe stated (only took 2 hours total, not 3 hours as suggested), but that may have been as I used a square tin and not a round one as did not have one bigger enough! Cake uses a lot of fruit and so not the cheapest ! Also used unsalted butter and vanilla essence instead of vanilla pod. 4 medium eggs were sufficient too with all the orange juice! Also did not use whole almonds, but flaked ones instead!Fed cake only a couple of times as plenty of alcohol in it! Tasted delicious, though very heavy! A little goes a long way, but was moist and not dry at all!

jillharris's picture

I made this last Christmas for family and everyone loved it! I think they were quite surprised that I made it and It was so tasty. About to start again for this year! Dead easy to make.

bacon-n-egg's picture

I wont be making this recipe again. I will use the PX and almonds (I add essence too) but use the basis of another as its far too flakey and ends up a mess on the plate. It seems to have many faults as I have listed before - tin size too small, soggy etc. The taste is good but will devise my own next year.

kt_gallacher's picture

I first made this cake for Christmas 2 years ago when it was first in Good Food and I must admit it was so lovely that I will be making it again this year. The PX sherry makes it so moist and has a real 'raisiny' flavour so compliments the cake amazingly. I use the orange marzipan to cover it that was also in the same magazine a couple of years ago. Highly recommended!

jaurben's picture

I've made this cake before and love it but this year I want to split the mixture in half and make smaller cakes - please could anyone advise as to how long I should cook them for? Do you simply halve the cooking time?

bacon-n-egg's picture

Its the 3rd year I've made this cake and after a few disasters as mentioned I think I have perfected it. First of all roughly chop the almonds as this make it easier to cut. If using a 20cm tin bake for 4hrs. But I think this size tin is far to small as mine rises well above the tin so I think 22cm is better as I'll have to trim this down as far too high! Cover the top with foil too as the top can burn and that tastes awful. Will be making mini cakes too from this receipe. This is one of the nicest christmas cakes I've tasted as it doesnt have that over rich black fruit that blows you down.

lynnetomlinson's picture

We loved this cake and it just got better with age. Will definately make it again next Christmas

hollywoozle's picture

I baked this cake a few weeks ago and it looks as though it will be delicious! I did use PX sherry in the end (it was cheaper than I had originally thought) and I found this in Sainsburys. The cake took closer to 3 and a half hours to bake, even though I have a very cook electric oven, and I had to cover with foil not long after cooking to stop the top from burning. It smells wonderful and is staying very moist - I have wrapped it in cling film and put it in tupperware. I fed with extra PX sherry at the weekend so hopefully it will be very tasty. It looks fiddly at first but the recipe is actually quite simple and I am excited to have made my first Christmas cake! Will rate when I've tasted it.

tonykerr's picture

This is the 2nd year I have made this cake and both times it has turned out beautifully, I do add glace cherries to the cake as I personally love cherries in a fruit cake, I also use a cream sherry instead of the PX. Will definately make again for next Christmas.

hollywoozle's picture

Is cream sherry definitely a good substitute? I can get the PX sherry but it is a little bit more money than I can really afford to spend on a cake! Can't wait to make it though. :)

emmamoss's picture

Last year I made this cake and it came out perfect - this year although it was in for 4 and a half hours it still seems quite soggy and when it came out of the tin it started to collapse.
I have a fan oven which I think cooks a little cool so perhaps that could be the issue looking at the note from Welsh Lass on 8th Oct 09.
I am considering cutting in and seeing how it is, if it is ok then by the time it is wrapped in marzipan and icing nobody will know better but dreading it not being right - if not anybody got any ideas what I might be able to do with it rather than waste it?

bacon-n-egg's picture

Its the second year I have made this and once again the centre is very soggy. I found last year it started to fall apart when cutting.

This year I tried testing with scewer and came out fine, left in oven overnight to cool but just taken the top off and noticed it just itsnt going to keep firm once the slices are taken out.

I am wondering if soaking the fruit makes it too moist and impossible to set. I am contemplating making again as it is a lovely cake but with less sherry???

I'm so disappointed but cant face relatives laughing over the cake colaspse.

I was using an electric fan oven which is new.

alfiechicken's picture

i am going to make this cake for christmas after it has cooked and cooles whats the best thing to wrap it in please

gibsa06's picture

I made this cake for a present to my mum who loves fruity- and nutty cakes. She loved it so much she has asked for another!
Thanks for the suggestion of using cream sherry as I have found it difficult to find PX other than at Christmas.

frenchmum's picture

I tried this cake as a base for my first ever attempt at marzipan & fondant covered/ decorated cake. Everyone loved the taste of the cake but ifound it very difficult to cut/slice at room temperature due to the full almonds and possible because the whitworths mix i used had almost all raisins/sultanas etc and hardly any glaced fruit. Will be trying it again with a more balanced mix, chopped almonds. I have to add that once refrigerated for about 4 ¬5 hours i managed to shape a rectangular cake into a cross shape quite easily.

mother_ship's picture

Have to confess that I was disappointed with this cake, with all the almond content I thought that the almond flavour would come through more strongly. Mine also turned out on the soggy side of moist, I should have taken heed of some of the previous comments.

flyaway_jaqi's picture

Having now eaten all of this cake, I have to say it was lovely! Really moist and tasty, and it lasted a long time as well. I fed it regularly with sherry which probably helped with the flavours and the moistness. Everyone who tried some really liked the cake - will consider making it again next year!


Questions (2)

tinamarie's picture

I made this christmas cake last year from the magazine, it stated somewhere on the recipe tips that I could microwave the fruit, sherry and orange juice rather than letting it stand overnight. I can't find this information anywhere now, the cake was amazing especially as it was my first attempt at a fruit cake. If anybody has this information could you please let me know how long I should microwave it as I want to repeat what I did last year. Thank you

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, thanks for your question. Microwave for about 30-60 seconds, to warm through.

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