As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(25 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 2 hrs - 2 hrs, 30 mins Plus overnight soaking

Skill level



Cuts into 10-12 slices

Use your choice of dried fruit, nuts, citrus zest and booze (or even tea) and get your cake made up to six months in advance

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 1kg mixed dried fruits (any blend of raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, dried cranberries, glacé cherries, chopped dried apricots, dates, dried figs or dried pineapple)
  • 150ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed tea, plus extra for feeding
  • zest and juice 2 oranges, 2 lemons or 4 clementines
  • 250g pack unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 250g light, soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g whole or flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or brazil nuts (optional)

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  1. Put your chosen dried fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of alcohol or tea, citrus zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep cake tin – 20cm round or 18cm square – with enough baking parchment to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, securing with staples or string.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Tip in the flour, mixed spice, soaked dried fruit and any liquid from the bowl, plus your chosen nuts, if using. Stir everything together, then scrape into the cake tin. Using the back of your spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the mixture, then bake for 1½ hrs.
  4. Reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1, loosely cover the top of the cake with a double sheet of foil or baking parchment, and bake for another 45 mins-1 hr or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then lift out and wrap in greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Keep in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid, or wrapped in a large sheet of foil, in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Open the cake every week or two to feed by poking with a skewer in several places and dribbling over a little more of your chosen alcohol or tea.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2010

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cheflambey's picture
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One week to go and I will be baking this amazing Christmas cake again, roll on crimbo!

Jules1006's picture

This was my first attempt at making a Christmas cake. The recipe was easy and once baked (the wooden scewer was clean) the smell was divine even though I usually hate Christmas cake! Like a lot of people here I followed the recipe to the letter but the end result was far too moist. When sliced the cake seemed wet and it appeared the fruit held it together. Everyone said it tasted fantastic though :0). Will definitely try it again but will follow others' advice of letting it bake for a further hour. I have a brand new range so I'm confident the temperature was correct.

Pickle14's picture

The same happened to me, likewise I have a brand new range so the temperature was fine. I'm just hoping that after 4hours the rest if the cake isn't dry!

kokenyv's picture

I just love this recipe. I prepared it for my father's birthday, as he just loves cakes like this.
If you forget to soak the fruits the night before, like I did, you can put the alcohol+fruit mix to the microwave oven for medium level for 2-3 minutes. It will replace the nightover soaking.
The cake is very moist and rich, highly recommend it, ideal for beginners going for foul-proof recipes. Thank you for sharing!

kittymc's picture

Just made this cake and only went through the comments when after 3 hours, it still wasn't baked. Took 4 hours in fan oven using temperatures recommended. I wonder if used temps for conventional oven if it would have baked to time. Hope it tastes good:)

Catherine1111's picture

Easy and delicious, Like the others, some left over and I also made muffins. Cooked in the fan oven, gorgeous. the smell is divine!!!!

fruit cake's picture

hi.just baked the cake and in total it took 3 and a half hours and still seems very moist????
fingers crossed while it cools

millyboo's picture

Please could someone tell me if i can use 100g of ground almonds instead of flaked (love ground almonds). Could this make my cake soggy. Its my first time making a christmas cake...

Catherine1111's picture

I did't use ground almonds in this cake, but I have often done so and the cake was fabulous.

cheflambey's picture
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Have again made this cake for now for 4th year running. Its just so easy and the smell while cooking is simple the best. Cant wait to unwrap the cake for the first feed. Roll on Christmas Day for the first slice!

althenasg's picture

Very easy and delicious. Half of the cake is already gone and the day is not even over!! Definitely will make a few for Christmas to give to friends and family. Thank you :)

sozmen's picture
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Here we are in the picture, my daughter and I holding our 'As-you-like-it Christmas cakes' One of the pans was smaller so we had As-you-like-it Christmas muffins too.
Like some others they took longer than the recipe says. Easy and delicious!!! I will make it again.

mindymoo62's picture
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Comment for Carolyn..... I made this in my 5 oven aga using the baking oven.......FABULOUS and so easy!!! Just make sure that you double line the tin and put thick newspaper around the sides.
If you think it is getting too brown put the plain cold shelf above it, or finish it off in the simmering oven. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clean it is cooked. Does take longer to cook than stated ( around half hour longer??) but well worth it! The taste is fantastic and very moist! I bake a lot but this is definately the best Christmas cake I have ever made and will be my recipe from now on.........sorry Delia :-)

micheller34's picture

i made this cake, we was late in doin so, bout a week before christmas. but we managed to get enough alcohol in. lol. it smelt wonderful during cooking. and when we presented it xmas day ppl were amazed, even accused us of cheating and going to a bakery to buy it. we now have our orders to make one for new yr party and a few birthdays through the yr. id say it was a massive hit with everyone.

sllyst's picture
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Everybody who tried it raved about this cake. It's much easier than ones i've made in the past and so versatile i love it! My go-to from now on.

flora51's picture
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Best fruitcake i've ever made

ronnie2510's picture

third time making this cake.. family and friends who don't usually eat fruit cake are trying it.. cant wait till christmas day .. always looks lovely on the table.. and oh boy .. does it taste good.. doesn't last long in my house...cracking wee recipe....

liverpool123's picture

Casn anyone help me.
Do I had 150 ml of each of brandy,rum and sherry.
Hope so.
Looking forward to tasting it.

mummycooking's picture

Has anyone baked this cake using an AGA? I want to try it but am not sure of cooking times.

amandamckenna1's picture

Fab cake, lovely and moist. Cooking times where spot on, I have a fan assisted oven and normally does things quicker but this cake cooked exactly as per instructions!