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 Oct, 2017
It's in the oven now, with minor modifications and a nod to those of you who recommended Delia's timings. I hope to be able to report back favourably .............................!
17th Dec, 2016
For the past 10 years I have taken over the Christmas cake/pudding baking that my Mum did every year. Just a tip that I remember her doing, is that it is important to place many layers of greased paper (I use 4) and this should remedy the cake drying on the outer edges. My Mum always used brown paper to line her cake tins for Christmas, however I find grease proof paper satisfactory. Hope this helps. She was the most amazing cook!
5th Dec, 2016
Just out of the oven! This is the fourth year I have made this for Christmas. I also used the recipe for my wedding cake last year making 10 and 8" It really makes such a delicious, moist fruit cake. Can't wait for Christmas!
26th Nov, 2016
I have just used this recipe instead of my usual one and I am so impressed. I did change the cooking time and cooked at 140 degrees four four and a quarter hours.The cake looks and smells wonderful.This recipe is with me now for good.Thank you and roll on Christmas.
21st Nov, 2016
I've made this cake a few times and always a success, I have just made it a third time and it is cooling right now. I use earl grey tea and orange juice and it is delicious. Highly recommended
15th Nov, 2016
How great to find such a simple formula for a Christmas cake allowing me to use up all the bits and pieces of dried fruit I had in the cupboard. This year's cake is a much more frugal offering but by the look and smell of it will taste no less decadent. My tip is to pour over a generous slug of brandy just as you take the cake out of the oven. It soaks in immediately with a satisfying sizzle and every year I get compliments on how tasty and moist the cake is. I still feed it with a spoonful or two a couple of times in the weeks leading up to Christmas but I think that first shot of brandy takes it to another level.
7th Dec, 2016
What a great tip with the first shot of brandy! I'm going to give that a try - thank you !
7th Nov, 2016
Just made this again, the house smells amazing this morning. Cake is all wrapped up and ready for its first feed! Roll on Christmas.
mummybunny4's picture
12th Dec, 2015
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.
4th Dec, 2015
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.


4th Sep, 2017
Hello, I have been asked last minute to make a birthday cake for Saturday 9/9/17 and they would like a fruit cake. Is it too short notice for this cake or will it be ok to use so soon? Many Thanks
14th Nov, 2016
If you want to do a nut free cake, can you just minus the nuts or do you have to increase a different ingredient to balance it out?
11th Nov, 2016
Can this recipe be converted to gluten free?
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Nov, 2016
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately you can't simply swap the flours but we do have a gluten-free fruit cake which would make a great alternative. We also have a gluten-free Christmas recipe collection.
14th Dec, 2015
Hi, just wondering - how much does a single serving weigh?
goodfoodteam's picture
18th Dec, 2015
That is quite a difficult question to answer, but we estimate a slice (approximately a twelfth of the cake) would weigh approx 185g.
2nd Oct, 2014
Can you use malibu, as still has rum it
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Oct, 2014
Hi there, thanks for the question. Yes Malibu would work fine. 
21st Nov, 2013
Hello, 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... Thanks.
27th Dec, 2013
Hello, 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 :-)
4th Nov, 2014
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.
27th Dec, 2013
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.
16th Oct, 2013
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.