As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(27 ratings)

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Cooking time

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

Skill level

Easy

Servings

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

kcalories
681
protein
8g
carbs
112g
fat
24g
saturates
14g
fibre
3g
sugar
97g
salt
0.26g

Ingredients

  • 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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Method

  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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Comments

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carolecream's picture
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Made one of these cakes for work mates birthday in acouple of weeks time, the mix tasted so nice and smelt so great, making another now with aginger twist!!

owleye's picture

The news paper is there to protect the cake from the heat of the oven- it needs to be that high to reach the centre of the cake however the sides of the cake could easily burn/ go hard

sarahmarsh81's picture
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Just popped my cake into the oven and it smells amazing!!!! can't wait till christmas fingers crossed it turns out well as this is my first ever attempt at a christmas cake!!!

cheflambey's picture
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Christmas arrives early this weekend in my house! Soakup Friday and cook up Saturday, dont panic about the cooking times, it all depends on the oven you have, mine took a little longer last year but turned out perfectly. This cake beats any other recipe i have made and even...dare i say it...Queen of Christmas ...Delia!! sorry. Merry Baking.. and remember if your stuck for double wrapping the tin check our Delias website.!!

lucyfogarty's picture
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I should have waited until I tasted this cake in full maturity before reviewing (only gave it 4 stars before) as despite it taking longer than stated in the oven, the cake itself is superb - really moist and packed full of flavour. I will be making it again this weekend in readiness for this years Christmas!

I also made extra last year and baked them in (lined) ramekins for mini Christmas cakes to be given out as gifts (mostly for teachers and teaching assistants at my children's school). After my daughters had decorated them they were popped in little celophane bags and fastened with ribbon. They went down a storm!

claireldonstone's picture

I also made this cake last year (2010) and had problems with it being undercooked at the suggested time and I repeated it with my oven thermometer with the same result!
I have just re-read the recipe as I am starting to plan for this Christmas and I wonder - was step 4 printed on the pullout or over the page where it was missed easily - I was so annoyed at the time, that I threw the pullout and the cakes away!

lindajs1's picture

I have just made this cake for Christmas.It was ready in the stated time - no need for extra cooking.Waiting for it to cool and hoping it will taste as good as it looks (and smells!)

doldderwen8's picture
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Lovely, emptied my cupboard of anything resembling a dried fruit, this resulted in a lot of dates, some apricots and some yummy nuts. I have made Delia's cake for as long as I can remember, and although it is lovely, we found that this cake was even better, nice one!

mintchocchip's picture
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Like most of the comments, the cake was very moist and took at least an hour longer than stated on the recipe. Was yum though!

cheflambey's picture
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I am too also a Delia Christmas caker, however this year Sarahs receipe seem to entice me and it delivered packed full of flavour, wonderfully moist and everyone who managed to get a slice past me all commented on it being the best cake they have ever had at Christmas. This is now the only the Christmas cake I will make. Oh and there is just one slice left all for me !

young_lj's picture

In the past I would only ever make Delia Smith's recipe for Christmas cake. This year I used Sarah's recipe, and now am a convert!

I didn't use newspaper - I used brown paper and it did need longer n the oven than the recipe said. It didn't disappoint when it was eaten on Christmas Day; the texture and flavour were both excellent. Roll on next Christmas!

damson's picture
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This has turned out very well for me. I made it without nuts & used tea as my partner does not like the strong taste of alcohol.
I have to agree it is quite a moist cake but everyone seems to like it.

ledders's picture

My cake also took longer than the stated time to cook. I have now iced mine and I have cut it into three portions to give as gifts to elderly relatives.I chose this recipe because it didn't have an endless ingredient list and you can choose what fruit to add,however I am concerned about the "moistness" of mine, it is more like a pudding! I have also passed this recipe on to two friends who have also got soggy results. I am feeling disappointed at the moment.

jcooksley's picture

As with many of the other comments this cake has taken about 4 hours to cook. My oven is relatively new and I've never had a problem with cooking times before. perhaps the mix of fruits etc makes a difference? Also I don't think it is that unusual to bake a fruit cake of this sort for this length of time. Smells fantastic.

hallkerryann's picture
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Simplest Christmas cake recipe I've followed, delicious smells am hoping the taste lives up to this. Do have to agree on many of the other comments re the length of cooking, mine also took nearly an hour extra.

loopylou1's picture

This was so easy to make and it smelt delicious while makeing and cooking it but it took a lot longer to cook (over an hour ) than the time stated, which is unusal cause my oven is new and it is cooking everything else alot quicker than normal. It looks great though.

vickyloo's picture
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Well, I'm not entirely sure what I did different but mine actually took substantially less time than the recipe stated! Can't taste it until Christmas but it looks and smells delicious (and I did pinch just a teeeeeny weeny bit from the corner that was very tasty indeed). What's more, it was easy to make - excellent criteria if this is someone's first Christmas cake - like me! :D Well recommended! I can't wait to get icing in a week or two now!

rosiereynolds's picture

Hi All, this is Rosie from the BBC Good food team, following a couple of reader enquiries and posts on the site about cooking times for the 'As you like it Christmas cake' I have retested it to check that the times and temps etc in the magazine are correct. I can confirm that the cake has turned out perfectly without any additional cooking. If your oven is slightly inaccurate cooking at lower temperatures may exacerbate the inaccuracy and will mean that you need to cook for longer. The ovens in our test kitchen are normal, domestic ovens and the cake was cooked on conventional setting. Happy Christmas all, enjoy the cake!

paula22springfarm's picture
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Easy to make and it smells wonderful. We are planning to go for the robins when it is iced.

sue_tombs's picture
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This is a fantastic recipe, very easy to follow and I loved choosing the ratio of dried fruit according to my taste. The cake cooked in exactly the time stated and smells heavenly. I can't wait to start feeding it with more sherry and Christmas can't come soon enough so that I can taste it :oD

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