Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

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(25 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins - 50 mins Cook: 2 hrs - 2 hrs, 45 mins


Cuts into 16 slices
A long-life Christmas cake that's bursting with flavours of spices and vanilla

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen, but no need to

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal427
  • fat22g
  • saturates8g
  • carbs53g
  • sugars17g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.42g
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  • 200g butter, softened to room temperature



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten



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

  • 50g ground almond
  • 100ml sherry, sweet or dry, whatever you have in the cupboard
  • 85g candied peel, roughly chopped (we used Sundora)
  • 85g glacé cherry, roughly chopped
  • 250g raisin
  • 250g currant
  • 100g pack pecan nuts, broken into big pieces
    Pecan nuts



    Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

  • finely grated zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1½ tsp rosewater
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm round, 7.5 cm deep cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer for 1-2 mins until very creamy and pale in colour, scraping down the sides of the bowl half way through. Stir in a spoonful of the flour, then stir in the beaten egg and the rest of the flour alternately, a quarter at a time, beating well each time with a wooden spoon. Stir in the almonds.

  2. Mix in the sherry (the mix will look curdled), then add the peel, cherries, raisins, cherries, nuts, lemon zest, spice, rosewater and vanilla. Beat together to mix, then stir in the baking powder.

  3. Spoon mixture into the tin and smooth the top, making a slight dip in the centre. Bake for 30 mins, then lower temperature to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2 and bake a further 2-2¼ hrs, until a skewer insterted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then take out of the tin and peel off the lining paper. When completely cold, wrap well in cling film and foil to store until ready to decorate. The cake will keep for several months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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24th Nov, 2012
Reading all the comments and it sounds a wonderful cake. Would like to make it as 4 small cakes for pressies but not sure how long I should cook it for
28th Oct, 2012
Made this last year for Christmas and everyone loved it even the kids and those that dont really like Christmas cake. I made mine with Grand Marnier instead of rum and missed out the rose water as I didnt have any, but it was still delicious. Hope it is just as delicious this year.
21st Oct, 2012
With previous cakes I have put one tablespoon of alcohol every 2 weeks on the top. Make holes with a fork or cocktail stick first. This will be my first try at this recipe but all the reviews commend it so it should be good. Rosewater is available from Lakeland.
28th Sep, 2012
How much alcohol are you supposed to 'feed' them with? I don't want to over power it or not do enough and it not be moist?
5th May, 2012
Tried this last year. It was the best Christmas cake I've tasted and moist too.
25th Feb, 2012
I made 3 Christmas cakes in 2011. The first was this recipe exactly, the second I altered to suit family tastes (no nuts, used cognac, no rosewater, etc) and the third was a different recipe (Delia's classic). This one as written was the best Christmas cake I have ever tasted!!!
24th Jan, 2012
Made this cake about three weeks before christmas, great recipe easy to follow only change i made i used whiskey instead of sherry, my first attempt at a christmas cake by the way, it looked geat and everyone loved the flavours but it was very dry and crumbley i didn`t feed it should i have done or what did i do wrong i would really love to make this cake again as it reminded me of the ones my mum used to make any suggestions would be great, thanks
5th Jan, 2012
Made 2 of these this year, have tried several recipes and loved this one! Added extra cherries, luxury fruit mix and more mixed nuts. Kept rest the same. It was delicious. A light full of spice cake. Made one square one and cut into 4 for pressies after marzipaning & royal icing. Would highly recommend.
kathryndonna's picture
1st Jan, 2012
I make a Christmas cake every year and have tried a number of different recipes, from this site and various books. Most of the time there is little noticeable difference in the variations but this one had just about everything right and gave what I would describe as the perfect cake. Definitley one for the favourites folder.
26th Dec, 2011
I made this cake about a month before Christmas Day. The only ingredient I didn't use was rosewater. The night before I made the cake I also soaked the currants and raisins in Brandy, I fed the cake once a week with the remaining brandy too. I'm a novice at baking and I have to say this recipe was very easy to follow and make. Having just tried the cake for the first time, it's delicious, everyone commented it's way better than a shop bought one, next year I'm going to make two!


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