As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(29 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)

mummybunny4's picture

We use this recipe with beavers and cubs. It is very forgiving it doesn't matter if you mix by hand or machine. Ideal for children to use, we use tea as Scouting Rules no alcohol allowed parents and grandparents say it's a lovely cake.

KamMa's picture

I made this a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Like other reviewers, I have always used my Delia's Christmas 'bible', in the past. I had too much mixture for my 23cm cake tin, but, it filled two loaf tins, perfectly. I did use, seriously, luxury fruit (all I could get here) which did swell up enormously during the steeping and my eggs were quite large. The cakes seemed to pass the skewer and, 'springy touch', test after the recommended time and temperature and I reckoned with the smaller volume of the loaf tins, it would be okay. However, they seemed a bit too moist when I opened them to feed the other day. Slightly scared to feed them again! Consequently, I'm tending to agree with previous reviewers recommending lower, slower cooking. They do smell fantastic, though.

topcatsecretary's picture

Made this for the first time today as was looking for a change from my usual "boil & bake" Christmas Cake which I have done for many many years and only takes 2hrs in the oven - it smelt lovely whilst cooking but have to say the timings on the recipe are way out - took over 4hrs for my cake tester to come out clean in the middle although around the outside of the cake was cooked way before then - will see after feeding it (think I may just feed around the outside of the cake!!) how it turns out when its cut at Christmas am hoping the outside hasn't dried out too much waiting for the middle to cook and not be soggy - have to say if I make it again will probably follow Delia's temperatures & timings for it hopefully that will give a more even bake.

Di1's picture

Making this now for the third year running. The timing does need to be adjusted as suggested by a number of other posts otherwise the cake is soggy. I bake for four hours or more using Delia's timings as a guide. This cake is slightly heavier than her classic Christmas Cake with more fruit, sugar and fat and it seems logical to use her timings to get a better bake.

cheflambey's picture

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

Jules1006's picture

So, after three attempts, over three years to get the cooking time right, I finally succeeded. (That's how good this cake is). I used this recipe and Delia's cooking temperature and time for her classic Christmas cake (as suggested by other contributors) - 140 degrees for 4 hrs to 4 and 3/4 hours. More likely to be closer to 4 and 3/4 hours if using a conventional oven setting and not fan assisted.

If you prefer a VERY moist cake which is more like Christmas pudding in the centre, then I suggest you use the original cooking instructions.

Either way this recipe is Fab! Happy baking :0)

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

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

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

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

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

Best fruitcake i've ever made


Questions (6)

AnneYashYash's picture

Hi, just wondering - how much does a single serving weigh?

goodfoodteam's picture

That is quite a difficult question to answer, but we estimate a slice (approximately a twelfth of the cake) would weigh approx 185g.

jo50's picture

Can you use malibu, as still has rum it

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for the question. Yes Malibu would work fine. 

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...

kokenyv's picture


You might have even eaten the cake already, but i just saw your question now. Yes you can definitely use ground almonds, as well. The flaked ones give crunchiness, the ground the soggyness :-).
Good luck :-)

Tips (3)

Di1's picture

Making this now for the third time. Lovely cake but the timings are wrong. I cook for 4 hours. It is a slightly heavier cake than Delia's with more fruit, sugar and butter. She suggests 4-4.5 hours at similar temperature for her cake, so use that as a guide. Well worth it.

kokenyv's picture

When you add the parchment paper to the baking ring, make sure that the paper covers the whole cake area, otherwise it runs out.
You might see that you need longer when baking, even by 30 min, but it will not influence the success in a negative way. Just take it easy with the time, as all ovens are different.

burmarose's picture

Fabulous recipe, very easy. I used spiced rum and the smell is divine.
Top tip: don't tie the newspaper round the tin until after you have filled it with the cake mix.

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