As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(33 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 eggs



    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, questions and tips

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8th Dec, 2012
Has anyone baked this cake using an AGA? I want to try it but am not sure of cooking times.
9th Nov, 2012
Fab cake, lovely and moist. Cooking times where spot on, I have a fan assisted oven and normally does things quicker but this cake cooked exactly as per instructions!
8th Nov, 2012
Oh also I have a fan oven and cooked at 150 rather than 140 and dropped to 140at the reduction stage....just incase
8th Nov, 2012
I was scared about making this because it seems like (from comments) its a batter that doesn't like ill calibrated ovens. My experience was fine! My fruit soaked for two days as was not able to make it the evening I wanted to, first night soaked in tea, second I thought "why not, second soak, madeira!" I don't have a bowl big enough to mis the finished batter so I had to proceed from the fruit mixing stage in a huge high sided saute pan haha. I wrapped my tin in foil as didn't have a newspaper to hand, and when the top started to brown after the temp reduction I topped with a foil hat to stop it burning. About 30 mins from the end I decided to skewer it to check how long it had left and it came out clean! Cooled in the tin with its foil hat on, smelt fantastic, looking forward to wrapping and will be making one for my in laws this weekend. surprised at the ease of this recipe. It was a thick batter to stir but that's hardly "difficult" is it
7th Nov, 2012
This cake as always has turned out perfect, mixed mine with a mixture of brewed tea and congnac. It did need an extra hour though! Cant wait for Christmas day to tuck in to this one!
31st Oct, 2012
Verry simple to make and I love the fact that you can add in any fruit that you like - I added about 300g of dates to hopefully make it good and sticky!! My mother in law swears by fruit cakes needing 'an hour an inch' and this cake did take about an hour longer than the recipe stated. It took about 4 1/2 hours to bake. Smells delicious though, can't wait to try it. I used a mixture of cold brewed tea and Navy rum (as that what was in the cupboard) and after it had cooled I gave it it's first feed with a couple of tablespoons of sloe gin. Mmmmmm.
24th Oct, 2012
Will be making this cake again this year, probably going to have to make 2 as I hardly got any of last years after the family got near it!
22nd Oct, 2012
Oops!!! 20 cm tin NOT 20mm!!!! Still too much mix though!!
22nd Oct, 2012
I have just made this cake ready for Christmas and it is cooling in the oven. Loved the idea of mixing your own blend of fruits and put extra cherries and dates in mine. Yum! Agree with lots of other comments, it does take much longer to bake than suggested. Also I had too much mix for my tin ( which was 20mm) maybe mine was not deep enough? No problem I had enough to make a mini one too!! The 20mm cake has cracked on the top but I am hoping the flavour will be good. I am also a Delia Christmas cake fan. Hope this does not disappoint!! Will post a comment once it is eaten........... roll on Christmas.
2nd Nov, 2014
This is my first attempt at making a Christmas cake. I soaked my fruit for a full 24 hours and baked my cake for 3 hours in total. I found this cake just right as I could mix the ingredients around to my liking! My partner found out 6 months ago that he has a severe nut allergy. So it made sense for me to have a go and make my own. Both my daughter & mum are impressed and the smell is AMAZING!! I can't wait for Xmas day to try it. I will definitely be making this again next year :))


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