As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(30 ratings)

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


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: per serving

  • kcal681
  • fat24g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs112g
  • sugars97g
  • fibre3g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.26g
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  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (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



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

  • 250g pack unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 250g light, soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg



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

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g whole or flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or brazil nuts (optional)


    arr-mund or al-mund

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


  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.

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Comments (73)

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

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

sue_tombs's picture

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

lucyfogarty's picture

Very easy to make, smells brilliant and very moist. Again, to echo other reviewers - it takes a lot longer to cook than stated!

cheflambey's picture

Unwrapped mine for the first feed lastnight, and the aromas of Christmas filled the kitchen, absoloutley wonderful. I forgot to say before that I ommitted some of the tea to a drop of brandy when soaking and the mix of the two seems to off done the trick. wonderfully moist and wont need much feeding i think either. Cant wait for Christmas so I try it!

veggiesara's picture

As the other comments have said, the suggested cooking time for this cake was waaaay out;it took me over 3 hours before the skewer test could be passed.
I am going to store it and feed it with brandy until christmas so I can't comment on the taste yet, but I'm sure it'll be fine, all the traditional flavours are there so i'm sure it'll be lovely.

tippersmissus's picture

putting newspaper around it stops it from burning

schnappi's picture

Ah thanks. Delia explains it beautifully! Oddly I have never wrapped a cake tin before, but because we now have a gas oven I'll better do it. Long and slow is the key. At least 4 hours at mark 1 (yikes)!

cheflambey's picture

This cake smelt amazing from the word go. Soaking in the kitchen and the aromas filled the house with smells of Christmas. Wrapping the tin was easy, referred back to my old friend Delia! She never lets me down. However the Cake took and extra hour in the oven. ( I cooked it on conventional mode) but the cake smelt great whilst cooking and turned lovely and moist, all wrapped up now ready for first feed next week. Roll on Crimbo.

schnappi's picture

I am likewise confused about the newspaper. If the cake is in a lined tin, why would the tin have to be wrapped on the outside as well??

It's soaking now, so fingers crossed it will come out well when I bake it tomorrow.

claireneley's picture

The cake was easy to make and it smelt delicious when in the oven. The only down side was it took a lot longer to cook than it suggested in the recipe!

vixx811's picture

This was easy to make but I was a bit confused about wrapping the cake tin in newspaper. The recipe in the magazine said that this would be explained on the Good Food website but I couldn't find any sign of this. Anyway I've done it all and it's in the oven now, so fingers crossed.

vixx811's picture

This was easy to make but I was a bit confused about wrapping the cake tin in newspaper. The recipe in the magazine said that this would be explained on the Good Food website but I couldn't find any sign of this. Anyway I've done it all and it's in the oven now, so fingers crossed.


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