Snow-topped holly cakes

Snow-topped holly cakes

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 1 hr, 45 mins


Makes 2 cakes, each serves 8
This square Christmas cake is cut into two loaf-shaped cakes, so you can give one to a friend

Nutrition and extra info

  • Undecorated cake can be frozen


  • kcal584
  • fat20g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs97g
  • sugars87g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.32g


  • 8 glacé cherries
  • small holly sprigs, washed and dried
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g butter, chopped



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

  • 700g luxury mixed dried fruit
  • 50g glacé cherry
  • 2 tsp grated fresh root ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • zest and juice 1 orange



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

  • 100ml dark rum, brandy or orange juice
    Dark rum cocktail with a lime slice



    Rum is a type of spirit based on sugar cane. First produced in the 1600s on slave plantations in…

  • 85g pecan
    Pecan nuts



    Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

  • 3 large eggs, beaten



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

  • 85g ground almonds


    arr-mund or al-mund

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

  • 200g 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
  • 1 tsp cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 250g pack marzipan, halved
    Marzipan cake



    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 2 tbsp warmed apricot jam
  • 500g pack fondant icing sugar


  1. Tip the sugar, butter, dried fruit, whole cherries, ginger, orange zest and juice into a large pan. Pour over the rum, brandy or juice, then put on the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently to melt the butter. Reduce the heat and bubble gently, uncovered for 10 mins, stirring every now and again to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Set aside for 30 mins to cool.

  2. Stir the nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the fruit, then sift in the flour, baking powder and spices. Stir everything together gently but thoroughly. Your batter is ready.

  3. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Butter and line the base and sides of a 18cm square tin with baking paper. Spoon the cake mix into the tin and level the top with a spoon dipped into boiling water. Bake for 45 mins, then turn oven down to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Will keep well-wrapped in foil for 2 months or freeze for 1 year.

  4. Carefully cut the square cake in half and trim the edges so that you see the texture of the cake on all sides. Roll out each piece of marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar until the size of the top of each cake.

  5. Generously brush the top of the cakes with jam, place jam-side down on top of the marzipan, then trim away the excess marzipan with a sharp knife.

  6. Make up the fondant icing to a spreading consistency, then spread on top of the cakes so that it slightly runs over the edges. Top with cherries and holly, then leave to set. Will keep in a plastic container in a cool place for 4-7 days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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6th Dec, 2016
I have used this mixture for wedding cakes and Christmas cake. Even made as a traybake cut into fingers and decorated. Perfect
17th Nov, 2016
I made this last year and it was fantastic. For the luxury fruit I used up all the odd bits of dried fruit left over from other recipes (such as sour dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried pineapple, chopped apricots) and then topped up the quantity to 700g with other dried fruit. It was the best cake I have ever made I just wish I had taken a note of what fruits and exact weights of each one I used as I will never be able to re create it exactly!!!.I didn't Ice it we just ate it as a fruit cake to cut down on calories a bit.
6th Nov, 2016
I've made this cake for the last 2 years and it is very easy to make and tastes delicious. I find it doesn't need quite as long as the recipe tells you but that may just be my oven!
11th Sep, 2015
A great recipe. This became my regular Christmas cake recipe a few years ago after I first tried it. I have also used the fruit cake, with different decoration, for birthdays. The cake is easy to make, moist and very fruity and the decoration is simple. Like some other commentators, I find it takes a fair bit longer to cook than the recipe states (I can't say how much longer as I just keep testing and returning to the oven until it is cooked). For me the most difficult part of making this recipe is getting the consistency of the icing just right so that it falls down the sides without running off the bottom of the cake. The advantage of having two cakes is that my second attempt is usually better than my first. I therefore display the better looking cake to my guests and slice and serve the other!
6th Aug, 2014
I have made this recipe for several years. Rather than making a square cake, I divide the mixture between 2 loaf tins and cook them at the same time. It makes a delicious cake and is so, so easy.
samilou1989's picture
13th Dec, 2013
This has just come out of the oven, gave it an extra 25 min cooking time as it was still wet in the middle. Its currently cooling, looking forward to the finished result!
3rd Jan, 2013
Excellent recipe you just can't go wrong with it..I left out pecan nuts but put in 100g of ground almonds as I don't like the crunch of nuts in my fruit cake I also added 100ml brandy. So good had to make two..
6th Dec, 2012
I have just made this cake for Christmas for ourselves and sister in law. Both cakes are already half gone, not sure they are going to make it to Christmas!!! Really nice, not too heavy and better to have slices rather than big wedges. Recommend it :-)
27th Nov, 2012
Does anyone know if you cook 2 of these at one time do you need to increase the cooking time?
23rd Oct, 2012
Sorry am I the only one that doesn't know what to do to make up fondant to spreading consistency? Can someone please tell me how to do this? Thanks


28th Nov, 2017
How far in advance can this cake be made? Does it keep well?
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Dec, 2017
Thanks for your question. The cake will keep in a plastic container in a cool place for 4-7 days.
16th Dec, 2014
If I make this in two loaf tins, how long should I cook them for and what temp? Thanks in advance
goodfoodteam's picture
18th Dec, 2014
Hi finmason thanks for your question. We haven't tested baking this cake in 2 halves so cannot guarantee perfect results but you could try baking them at 150C for 30mins then reduce the temperature to 140C for the next 45 mins. Hope this helps, let us know how you get on. 
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