Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

Angela Nilsen's Christmas cake

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(29 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


  • 200g butter, softened to room temperature



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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…

  • 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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4th Nov, 2017
I use this recipe every year, substituting the pecan nuts for flaked almonds as pecans are so expensive. So far this year I've made 13 (last year I did 15) for various family and friends. I dislike Christmas cake intensely but everyone tells me this tastes fantastic so looks like I'm onto a winner!
10th Sep, 2017
I soaked the fruit in bourbon for a few days, then apart from swapping the pecan nuts for flaked almonds I followed this recipe, it's perfect.
27th Nov, 2016
Made this for two years, changed recipes and am firmly going back to this one this year. It's lovely.
Mark Nevin
17th Nov, 2013
Here is my Christmas Cake - enjoy!
12th Jan, 2013
I never liked Christmas cake myself, but I promised to make one for my Danish father in-law who had never tried it. So Xmas 2012 was my first attempt ever at making a Christmas cake, using this recipe. I didn't have rosewater so I left it out, and like others, I used hazelnuts instead of pecans. I made the cake at the end of October and I fed it with just a tablespoon of sherry every 2 weeks from then. I have to say my opinion of Christmas cakes has completely changed since trying this cake. It was the nicest cake I have tasted -ever. It was lovely and moist with a fantastic flavour - the spices were lovely. It wasn't too boozy either. My in-laws were equally impressed and I have received orders again this year! I will be sure to use this recipe again and this time I will make more than one! Thank you for this recipe. 5 stars from me!
9th Jan, 2013
Made this Christmas cake for the first time this year. I'm not a fan of the really dark, dense cakes and this one suited me much better. Moist, with enough fruit and a good hint of spice. I made it in two loaf tins as we only needed a small cake then gave the other one away as a present. Will make again.
30th Dec, 2012
Made 2 of these this year for the first time. I am told they were delicious. (I don't like Christmas cake) Will keep the recipe for next year. Covered them with regal icing with xmas trees on top. I made these by stacking snowflakes of different sizes on top of each other that I'd cut out with just a shop bought cutter. It looked very impressive.
susiedawnjones's picture
12th Dec, 2012
Made this cake - my first ever Christmas cake and it was so delicious, moist and full of flavour that it got eaten by the family and now I'm making another! Fantastic, easy recipe!
8th Dec, 2012
Made this last year and am currently making it this year. Hope it's as good as last time!
27th Nov, 2012
Just made this cake and used cherry brandy soaked fruit and pure orange juice instead of rosewater... smells divine and looks amazing.. for a 1st attempt i'm very happy one down.. three to go


2nd Dec, 2018
If i scale this up to by 50% to make a 10 inch cake, what is the cooking time?
goodfoodteam's picture
3rd Dec, 2018
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we can't give exact timings or quantities for scaling up our cakes without retesting. We suggest keeping an eye on it from around 2 1/2 hours and testing with a skewer once it starts to look done.
Clare Funston
7th Nov, 2015
I would like to do this recipe using a 6"round cake tin...can you help me with advice for scaling down recipe and cooking time please.
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
Thanks for your request. Although we haven't baked this cake with these quantities, so cannot guarantee perfect results, this is how we would scale it down by a quarter in the Good Food Kitchen. Replace ingredients weighing 200g for 150g, 250g for 185g and 85g for 60g, use 3 eggs, 30g ground almonds,  75ml sherry and 75g pecans with the zest of I small lemon, 1 tsp each spice and rosewater, and keep the vanilla and baking powder just under 1/2 tsp. Bake for 25 mins then turn down the heat as the recipe suggests and bake for 1 hr 15 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. You will need to keep a close eye on the cake to check the progress as it cooks. If it starts to brown before it is fully cooked you can lightly cover the top of the tin with a sheet of foil. 
Clare Funston
5th Nov, 2015
Hi there I was hoping to make this cake as presents using a 6"round deep cake tin and wondered if you could advise me on the scaling down of the recipe ingredients and cooking time etc. It would be great if I could get some advice. Thanks. Clare.
29th Sep, 2013
Hi, I made this recipe last week and it was lovely but it was a bit crumbly although didn't taste dry. I soaked the fruit the night before in the alcohol, I used brandy, but didn't add any more to the mix. Is that where I went wrong? Thanks
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