Golden amaretti Christmas cake 2016

Golden amaretti Christmas cake

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs plus overnight soaking and cooling


Serves 15 - 20

A mix of trend and tradition, this is one of the easiest Christmas cakes we've ever created, with a virtually all-in-one method that'll save you some stress

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (20)

  • kcal509
  • fat19g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs73g
  • sugars68g
  • fibre3g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.2g
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    To make the cake

    • 1 large orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 175g dried apricot
    • 700g mixed dried fruit
    • 120ml sweet marsala (or sweet cream sherry), plus extra for feeding the cake
    • 250g unsalted butter, softened
    • 250g bag crisp amaretti biscuits
    • 150g light soft brown sugar
    • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 125g plain flour
    • 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 tsp mixed spice
    • 50g toasted flaked almonds

    To decorate

    • 1 tbsp apricot cake glaze



      A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

    • 125g royal icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
    • 750g natural marzipan
    • gold cake spray
    • handful whole blanched almonds
    • 50g crisp amaretti biscuits
    • sugar balls, snowflakes or Christmassy sprinkles


    1. Grate the zest from the orange and squeeze the juice (about 120ml/1 cup) into a large bowl. Snip the apricots into small pieces with scissors, then add the dried fruit and the marsala. Cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight.

    2. The next day, rub a little of the butter around the inside of a 20cm round, deep cake tin, then line the base and sides with a double layer of parchment. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

    3. Put 200g of the biscuits in a large food bag, squish out the air, then bash the biscuits to fine crumbs. It doesn’t matter if there are a few nuggets left.

    4. Put the remaining butter and the sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 mins or until paler and creamy.

    5. Mix in the eggs, one by one. Sift in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and 1 /4 tsp salt. Tip in the crumbs and beat together for a few seconds until evenly mixed.

    6. Fold in the soaked fruit and almonds with a spatula.

    7. Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and make a saucer-sized dimple in the middle of the batter. This will help your cake to rise evenly.

    8. Bake for 2 hrs, then turn the oven down to 140C/fan 120C/ gas 1. Cover the cake with foil and bake for another 1 hr 30 mins or until risen and dark golden brown.

    9. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a cocktail stick into the middle. It will come out dry when the cake is ready. Set on a cooling rack and leave for a few hours.

    10. Using the cocktail stick, poke deep holes all over the cake. Slowly drizzle 2 tbsp marsala or sherry over the cake.

    11. When completely cold, wrap the cake in clean baking parchment and store in a tin in a cool, dark place. Feed it every seven to 10 days until you are ready to decorate it.

    12. Unwrap the cake and put it on a flat plate or board (25cm or bigger). Brush a thin layer of apricot glaze over the cake.

    13. Sift a little of the royal icing sugar onto your work surface. Unwrap the marzipan and knead it with your hands until it feels softer.

    14. Sprinkle the marzipan with more sugar and roll it to an even circle about 35cm across.

    15. Lift the marzipan over the cake, smooth it down to the board, then trim with a knife. Don’t cut too close to the cake at first. You can smooth the icing with a jam jar or tumbler, then trim again if you need to

    16. Spray the marzipan lightly with the gold spray. Spread the almonds out onto some baking parchment and spray these heavily.

    17. Break four of the remaining 50g biscuits into nuggets using your fingers.

    18. Mix the royal icing sugar with 4 tsp cold water. It should be thick but run very slowly when you drop it from the spoon. Spoon it over the cake and spread it to the edges, letting it drip here and there. Use a palette knife to help.

    19. Put the whole biscuits on the cake first, then add the broken biscuits and the almonds in-between.

    20. Put 1 tsp icing sugar in a fine sieve and shake a snowy dusting over the cake. Scatter the cake with the sugar balls, snowflakes or sprinkles, then leave the icing to set.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    10th Sep, 2019
    This recipe was recommended by a friend so I gave it a go. Read the comments before starting. Based on those comments, I only baked the cake for an hour before covering. Also, not being a massive fan of almond flavouring (love almonds though) I decided to swap out the amaretti biscuits. Was going to use biscotti but didn't want to make those too so used digestives, as someone else had mentioned. I cooked it to the alloted time. The top is a little dry, so cut it off (and so I could taste the cake too!). Well, it's the first christmas cake I have made and I am delighted with it. It tastes moist and flavoursome. I have yet to do the marzipan and icing. I made swap out the marzipan for a vanilla alternative. And I don't expect to get it looking anything like the picture, but I would recommend this recipe.
    Amanda Steward's picture
    Amanda Steward
    24th Jun, 2019
    This was the first Christmas cake recipe I've ever made and it was fantastic - so easy to follow, and the result was gorgeous. I'd definitely recommend this recipe and will we making again for years to come!
    17th Dec, 2018
    This was a lovely cake, very moist and full of flavour. For the dried mixed fruit, I used 100g glace cherries, 100g mixed peel and 500g sultanas. I also used ground almonds instead of flaked (shop had sold out of flaked). I honestly don't think the almond flavour is overpowering, but we all have different taste buds and opinions. I will definitely be making this cake again!
    7th Nov, 2017
    I made this last year and we loved it. But you do have to like almond falvour. I will make it again this year. I had no problems with cooking it but my oven was slow. This year I have a new fan oven so I will be careful.
    12th Jan, 2017
    I made this cake for the family and it was a real success. We a like marzipan so the ameretti biscuits were a perfect addition for us. A really moist and rich fruit cake.
    28th Dec, 2016
    I didn't have too many problems making the cake. I put a brown paper collar round the tin & covered it after an hour. The cake seemed fine & looked really good once iced. However, the taste was awful. The ameretti biscuit flavour completely over powered the rest of the ingredients. Not one member of the family could eat it. A terrible waste of time & money. If I'd bought it from a shop I would have taken it back & complained. Do not waste your time with this cake......terrible, really terrible!!!!
    27th Dec, 2016
    I made this recipe as an alternative to our usual Christmas cake and it is amazing! Without doubt the best Christmas cake I've tasted, very moist! I cooked this cake in my normal Christmas cake tin which is quite large (larger than size suggested in the recipe) and wrapped it well to avoid the top going too dark. I also had issues getting the icing to drip down the sides of the cake like in the picture, so ended up icing the whole thing- but it still looked good!
    22nd Dec, 2016
    I've done this recipe with half the quantity. The cake seems ok. - yet to eat it! And half the mix went comfortably in a 7inch Tin. I also used much less water for the royal icing.
    18th Dec, 2016
    Arggggh this was a nightmare! Went dark on top far quicker than expected and after only 1 hour of baking! I had to cover it after 1 hour but I really think it should say cover from the beginning as this is what I usually do! There seemed to be far too much mixture for the size of the cake tin recommended! One side collapsed when I tried to move it so it now has a prosthetic marzipan side lol!!! I also struggled to get the consistency of the Royal icing but that's not the recipes fault I suppose! Will have to reserve full judgment Until after tasting it! Wish I could post a picture!!!
    11th Nov, 2016
    I'm really disappointed. I followed this recipe to the letter, and I could ill afford to waste ingredients this costly. The deep 20cm tin was completely filled by the amount of mixture this produced, and after baking for only 1 hour 48 minutes the top of the cake was completely black and burnt although the cake was uncooked in the centre (and there were still 90 minutes cooking left at a lower temperature according to the recipe!). I assumed my oven must have gone wrong so I tested a standard 3 egg 18cm sponge and it cooked perfectly in exactly 25 minutes which indicates my oven temperature is not at fault. Has anyone else tried this recipe?


    12th Nov, 2019
    How long will this cake last without icing and wrapped well?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    14th Nov, 2019
    Thanks for your question. You can make the cake up until the end of step seven up to 6 weeks in advance if wrapped well and fed regularly with alcohol. For decorating, we'd suggest doing the marzipan up to a week before and the rest no more than a few days before to ensure the best texture, especially for the biscuits.
    8th Nov, 2019
    Any alternatives to apricots (I am not a fan) has anyone tried cherries soaked in Marsala/Sherry? Thanks
    Sheena B
    2nd Dec, 2016
    Could I use Amaretto instead of marsala?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    8th Dec, 2016
    Thanks for your question - Amaretto has quite a strong and distinct almondy-sweet flavour which may end up being overpowering the cake. However, if you're a big fan then by all means switch away. An alternative would be to use Marsala or sherry to soak the fruit, then feed the cake with Amaretto at the end.
    4th Nov, 2016
    would be helpful to know what size tin?! thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    7th Nov, 2016
    Hi Aimee,Apologies for the omission, we've now added in the information. This cake needs a 20cm round, deep cake tin.
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