Sherry & almond Christmas cake

Sherry & almond Christmas cake

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(19 ratings)

Cook: 3 hrs Prep 30 mins plus overnight soaking


Cuts into 12 slices
Packed with almonds, both ground and whole, and fed with raisiny PX sherry, this is intensely fruity - but not overly rich

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving with icing and marzipan

  • kcal1079
  • fat54g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs137g
  • sugars126g
  • fibre0g
  • protein19g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 1kg bag mixed dried fruit (not one with cherries)
  • zest and juice 2 large oranges



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

  • 150ml PX (Pedro Ximenez) sherry, plus extra for feeding
  • 250g pack butter, softened, plus extra for the tin



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

  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
  • 140g plain flour
  • 100g ground almond


    arr-mund or al-mund

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

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 large eggs, beaten



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

  • 140g whole almond


    arr-mund or al-mund

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


  1. Mix the fruit, zest, juice and sherry, and leave overnight to soak. Next day, heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep, 20cm round cake tin. Wrap the outside with brown paper or newspaper and secure with string, as this will protect the sides from overcooking.

  2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds together until pale and creamy. Mix the flour, ground almonds and mixed spice together, then tip into the butter mix with the eggs. Beat until combined and smooth. Stir in the whole almonds, fruit and any leftover juices, turn into the tin, then smooth the top and make a dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs.

  3. Turn down the oven to 140C/fan 130C/ gas 2, then bake for 1½ hrs more until dark on the top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, or with a few damp crumbs clinging to it. Once cool enough to handle, turn onto a cooling rack and peel away the lining paper. Cool completely.

  4. Keep the cake well wrapped, then feed once a fortnight with 1-2 tbsp sherry. Poke holes into the cake with a skewer and slowly spoon over the sherry. If you don’t have time to do this, this cake is delicious freshly made, and can be covered and decorated as soon as it has completely cooled down.

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Comments, questions and tips

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melanieall's picture
14th Nov, 2012
I've made this cake every year since it was published. It is so easy to make and tastes moist and delicious, highly recommend.
10th Nov, 2012
Made this the past two christmases and will definitely be making it this year. Lovely rich and moist fruit cake. Thank you
21st Feb, 2012
Brilliant recipe for Christmas cake. I made this for the family at Christmas time and they loved it! I didn't add almonds as hubby is not keen on those and used brandy to feed the cake instead of sherry. This was my first attempt at Christmas cake and I couldn't have been more happy with the results. Thanks for a great recipe! :-)
18th Dec, 2011
Made this cake for Christmas, but used gran marnier not sherry instead. it took less time to cook than recipe stated (only took 2 hours total, not 3 hours as suggested), but that may have been as I used a square tin and not a round one as did not have one bigger enough! Cake uses a lot of fruit and so not the cheapest ! Also used unsalted butter and vanilla essence instead of vanilla pod. 4 medium eggs were sufficient too with all the orange juice! Also did not use whole almonds, but flaked ones instead!Fed cake only a couple of times as plenty of alcohol in it! Tasted delicious, though very heavy! A little goes a long way, but was moist and not dry at all!
18th Oct, 2011
I made this last Christmas for family and everyone loved it! I think they were quite surprised that I made it and It was so tasty. About to start again for this year! Dead easy to make.
26th Jan, 2011
I wont be making this recipe again. I will use the PX and almonds (I add essence too) but use the basis of another as its far too flakey and ends up a mess on the plate. It seems to have many faults as I have listed before - tin size too small, soggy etc. The taste is good but will devise my own next year.
30th Nov, 2010
I first made this cake for Christmas 2 years ago when it was first in Good Food and I must admit it was so lovely that I will be making it again this year. The PX sherry makes it so moist and has a real 'raisiny' flavour so compliments the cake amazingly. I use the orange marzipan to cover it that was also in the same magazine a couple of years ago. Highly recommended!
26th Oct, 2010
I've made this cake before and love it but this year I want to split the mixture in half and make smaller cakes - please could anyone advise as to how long I should cook them for? Do you simply halve the cooking time?
4th Oct, 2010
Its the 3rd year I've made this cake and after a few disasters as mentioned I think I have perfected it. First of all roughly chop the almonds as this make it easier to cut. If using a 20cm tin bake for 4hrs. But I think this size tin is far to small as mine rises well above the tin so I think 22cm is better as I'll have to trim this down as far too high! Cover the top with foil too as the top can burn and that tastes awful. Will be making mini cakes too from this receipe. This is one of the nicest christmas cakes I've tasted as it doesnt have that over rich black fruit that blows you down.
15th May, 2010
We loved this cake and it just got better with age. Will definately make it again next Christmas


18th Oct, 2017
Is there a reason why the mixed fruit shouldn’t contain cherries?
goodfoodteam's picture
20th Oct, 2017
Thanks for your question. The classic combination of almonds, Pedro-Ximenez and orange with vine fruit and citrus works best without cherries.
22nd Nov, 2014
I made this christmas cake last year from the magazine, it stated somewhere on the recipe tips that I could microwave the fruit, sherry and orange juice rather than letting it stand overnight. I can't find this information anywhere now, the cake was amazing especially as it was my first attempt at a fruit cake. If anybody has this information could you please let me know how long I should microwave it as I want to repeat what I did last year. Thank you
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Dec, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. Microwave for about 30-60 seconds, to warm through.
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