Making your own Christmas cake is only half the fun – you also have to decide how to decorate it. Whether you like snowy-white royal icing with a marzipan layer, a more contemporary look, a family-friendly topping or something super-quick and easy, we have all the inspiration you need.
Read on to discover some of our favourite ways to decorate a traditional Christmas cake, plus find recipe inspiration for fruitcake and marzipan.
Midwinter candle cake
Cinnamon sticks add a simple but effective border to this botanical cake. Use a wreath of rosemary and bay leaves for winter green notes, then top with candles when serving. Beneath the foliage is classic icing and marzipan for a classic touch.
Simple snow sparkle cake
This crunchy sugar topping is a quick, easy way to bring snowy glamour to the humble fruitcake. You’ll need white sugar cubes, preserving sugar and egg whites to achieve the look. Edible silver glitter, ribbon and shop-bought figures finish things off.
Enchanted forest Christmas cake
This beautiful forest scene requires patience and a skilled hand, so it’s an ideal choice for baking enthusiasts looking for a showstopping centrepiece. The snowy finish is achieved with a meringue-style icing made with egg whites, liquid glucose, lemon juice and icing sugar. Pistachio paste gives the trees their green hue. Make you own by blitzing shelled pistachios in a food processor with egg yolk, ground nuts, sugar and almond extract.
Sparkling bauble cake
If you like all things kitsch and colourful, this bright cake will fit the bill. Food colouring gel is the secret to the vivid finish, and craft tweezers help you to neatly set the edible silver balls.
Kids will love this simple but effective snowman. The original recipe uses a sponge base, but the icing technique could be used to decorate a traditional fruitcake too. Children can help roll out the features and create the finishing touches.
Christmas wreath cake
If you want to make your fruitcake stretch further, try this idea: use a biscuit cutter to remove the centre of the cake for a festive wreath shape, then ice the removed centre to create a mini Christmas cake for gifting. The ‘wreath’ is brought to life with green royal and fondant icings.
Sparkling snowfetti cake
Encourage children to help decorate this sprinkle-festooned cake in a classic colour combo. Kids can do the pouring while parents affix the sprinkles to the sides using a palette knife.
Rudolph Christmas cake
Budding sculptors will enjoy shaping these reindeer cake toppers. Perfectly smooth icing is the key to making this minimalist cake look picture-perfect. Achieve icing success by watching our video guide to topping a round fruitcake.
Crunchy nut topping
Swap traditional icing and marzipan for a crunchy, caramelised nut topping. Combine golden syrup, whole and flaked nuts and spoon the mixture over your fruitcake for a florentine-style effect.
Golden amaretti Christmas cake
The gilded finish may give this cake a luxe look, but it’s actually super-easy to achieve. Use edible gold spray to cover the icing and smooth royal icing to drip over the top of the cake. Amaretti biscuits bring out the marzipan flavours and provide plenty of texture.
Fruitcake with apricot butter icing
If you’re not a fan of traditional icing, buttercream can be a light way to finish off your cake. This one is flecked with apricot jam and easy to make and apply, so it’s a good last-minute option if you need to quickly decorate your cake. We’ve also added a holly sprig for colour.
How to decorate a Christmas cake: video guides
Watch and learn how to finish off a cake in style with our video guides. We have step-by-step advice on basic icing and marzipan application, plus colourful decoration ideas.
How to apply marzipan to a Christmas cake
How to ice a round fruit cake
How to decorate a shooting star Christmas cake
How to decorate a classic winter fruitcake
How to decorate a stacked star Christmas cake
Christmas cake recipes
If you need ideas for how to make the cake itself, these Christmas cake recipes will do the trick – most use the faithful dried-fruit-and-booze combination, but we’ve also included lighter sponge cake options. Our make-and-mature Christmas cake is the most popular on the site, with thousands clicking on it every year.
Make your own marzipan
If you’re really committed and want to top your cake with a classic double layer, you could also try making your own marzipan. Choose from zesty orange or easy vanilla marzipan, then watch our video guide on how to apply marzipan to a cake to help you achieve smooth perfection.
How to ice a cake perfectly
Covering your cake in a blanket of bright white icing will ensure whatever decorations you add will be showcased perfectly. Watch our video guide to icing a round fruitcake and find handy tips on achieving a seamless finish, including kneading your icing to make it more pliable and rolling pin techniques.
Christmas baking recipes
How do you finish off your Christmas cake? Leave a comment below…