Honey saffron Christmas cake

Honey saffron Christmas cake

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(21 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins


Cuts into 12 slices
Has all the flavours of Christmas without being too heavy and can be made at the last minute too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal613
  • fat28g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs82g
  • sugars67g
  • fibre3g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.6g
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    For the cake

    • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing



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

    • 2 tbsp brandy



      Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

    • pinch saffron (about 1⁄4tsp strands)



      The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

    • 225g golden caster sugar
    • 4 eggs



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

    • 225g plain flour
    • 50g ground almond
    • 1 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…

    • 300g raisin
    • 300g sultana
    • 100g natural-coloured glacé cherry, halved
    • 85g mixed peel
    • 50g whole blanched almond, roughly chopped


      arr-mund or al-mund

      Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

    • 50g whole blanched hazelnut, roughly chopped



      Grown in Europe and the US, hazelnuts are encased in a smooth, hard brown shell but are most…

    • 50g walnut pieces



      Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

    To soak

    • 3 tbsp brandy



      Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

    • 2 tbsp honey



      Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…


    1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a round, deep 20cm cake tin with two layers of baking parchment (see Knowhow, below). Tie a few sheets of newspaper around the outside of the tin, level with the top of the baking parchment.

    2. Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few mins. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.

    3. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and make a slight dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs, then cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then, while it’s still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.

    4. Mix the brandy and honey together and spoon over the cake. Wrap up well in foil and keep in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    lil d
    24th Nov, 2015
    I have used this recipe for the last three years it's light moist and tastes delicious . Just taken this year's out oven mmmmmmm lovely . Merry Christmas
    lil d
    27th Nov, 2014
    I have just made this cake and it was so simple and if it taste and smells as good as it looks we are on to a winner just tasted it mmmmmmm. Will now have to make another one for christmas.
    25th Nov, 2011
    I made these into muffin size indivdual cakes for presents, finishing as tradditonal style Christmas cake - marzipan and icing. Absolutely Fab!
    18th Nov, 2011
    This will be my third year of making this cake. I love it. Whilst you can make it at the last minute I find making it 2 or 3 weeks ahead is great as I give it extra soakings with the honeyed brandy. As it is so easy I have also made it for Christmas Gifts. Lovely for older friends and family who do not need things andy more but find a good piece of cake very comforting.
    26th Oct, 2011
    We love this cake, make it every year and soon gets eaten. We make small ones as well to give as presents, just need to keep an eye on them when cooking the time is a bit hit and miss.
    ade_in_the_kitchen's picture
    21st Oct, 2011
    I've baked this cake every year since it appeared in Good Food magazine in 2007. This year will be my 5th version and each one has been sublime! I've found that it does take nearer to 4 hours to cook but that is never an issue for me. I guess that every oven is different. The smells that waft through the house as it cooks are very festive and instantly lift the spirits. I also soak it another couple of times and the result is a light and moist Christmas cake. It is now as much a part of my family Christmas as mince pies and mulled wine.
    28th Dec, 2010
    PAUL ( USA) made his cake for christmas did not change anything not even the cooking times and it turned out fab: i did not ice the cake it looked to good to cover up
    lisafry743's picture
    17th Oct, 2010
    I've given this cake a high rating as it went down a storm with my entire family. I won't be making it again this year though as I found the saffron a bit strong - personal taste. I had to cook it for an hour longer than the recipe suggested but it turned out well. I marzipaned & iced my cakel. Going to try the figgy christmas cake recipe this year :)
    15th Oct, 2010
    hi i would like to make this xmas cake. but what i would like to as it doesnt say on the recipe how do i go about icing the cake please can some one let me know asap as i want to make my cake soon . thank you laura
    8th Dec, 2009
    this is the third year i've made this cake. Everybody loves it. Its easy to make. I find it takes a litttle longer to cook but only about 15 mins. This is the only xmas cake recipe i've ever made and i love it!


    Deborah Cowling
    4th Dec, 2017
    Can anyone explain the need for wrapping the tin in newspaper, I've seen this in a few recipes.
    goodfoodteam's picture
    8th Dec, 2017
    Thanks for your question. This stops the cake getting overcooked on the outside when the cake is in the oven for a long time.
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