As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(52 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 4 hrs - 4 hrs, 30 mins Plus overnight soaking


Cuts into 10-12 slices

Use your choice of dried fruit, nuts, citrus zest and booze (or even tea) and get your cake made up to six months in advance

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal681
  • fat24g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs112g
  • sugars97g
  • fibre3g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.26g
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  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (any blend of raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, dried cranberries, glacé cherries, chopped dried apricots, dates, dried figs or dried pineapple)
  • 150ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed tea, plus extra for feeding
  • zest and juice 2 oranges, 2 lemons or 4 clementines



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

  • 250g pack unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 250g light, soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs



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

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g whole or flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or brazil nuts (optional)


    arr-mund or al-mund

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


  1. Put your chosen dried fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of alcohol or tea, citrus zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave overnight.

  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep cake tin – 20cm round or 18cm square – with enough baking parchment to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, securing with staples or string.

  3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Tip in the flour, mixed spice, soaked dried fruit and any liquid from the bowl, plus your chosen nuts, if using. Stir everything together, then scrape into the cake tin. Using the back of your spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the mixture, then bake for 1½ hrs.

  4. Reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1, loosely cover the top of the cake with a double sheet of foil or baking parchment, and bake for another 2 ½ - 3 hrs or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then lift out and wrap in greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Keep in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid, or wrapped in a large sheet of foil, in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Open the cake every week or two to feed by poking with a skewer in several places and dribbling over a little more of your chosen alcohol or tea.

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Comments, questions and tips

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17th Sep, 2019
I have made this cake for 5 years now. I make around 8 cakes for my friends and family as part of their presents. Again as stated above cook for longer than it says. This year I'm wondering if I can make one with stork block as my friend struggles with dairy. Th
24th Dec, 2018
I wish I had read the reviews before baking this cake. It smelled gorgeous but when I cut into it, I was disappointed to find that it wasn't cooked long enough, what a waste! I'd use the recipe again but cook for much longer.
11th Nov, 2018
Like other reviewers took a lot longer than recipee suggests but looks good. Might do 3/4 quantity next time. My tin wasn’t big enough (my fault didn’t measure) still got an extra little cake to cut into now ... bonus
6th Nov, 2018
Have just finished cooking this cake for the first time. Followed the recipe carefully and also prepped the tin as advised but found, as I note an earlier reviewer did, that 140c fan for 11/2 hours then 120c fan for 45mins - 1 hour was nowhere near enough. Mine was in for a total of 4 hours before the skewer came out almost clean! I didn't dare leave any longer. Hoping it will be ok. Will be injecting brandy regularly!
1st Dec, 2017
I made this gluten and dairy free (100g plain 100g bread flour using vitalite) 3.5 hours middle (fan) oven on 140. Used only orange juice as making lots for families with small children.its very moist and falls from side of tin, feels heavy but once cooled and dressed with marzipan and icing it’s like any other Christmas cake. Super lush and go to recipe. All values the same if going free from. Only advice I’d give is to turn oven off and leave it till it’s completely cooled, that way no burn, consistent heat and cooling *naturally. It makes a difference. Let me know what you find.
16th Nov, 2017
I made this cake yeste5day but encountered a problem. The cooking time was a good 2 hours longer than the recipe - I used the fan oven temps, it really wasn’t cooked before then. Now I have a dilemma, will the cake be dried out and should I try another one? I have rechecked the ingredient measurements but did note that there seemed to be a lot of mixture for a 20cm tin.
cheflambey's picture
16th Nov, 2017
Hi, cake should be fine, if you feed it with a mixture of cold brewed tea and brandy cake should come out wonderful. I feed it every other week up till a week before xmas.
cheflambey's picture
13th Nov, 2017
Another great christmas bake completed, cant wait to taste this years model! This is the 7th year i have baked it !. Merry Christmas one and all!!
8th Oct, 2017
It's in the oven now, with minor modifications and a nod to those of you who recommended Delia's timings. I hope to be able to report back favourably .............................!
17th Dec, 2016
For the past 10 years I have taken over the Christmas cake/pudding baking that my Mum did every year. Just a tip that I remember her doing, is that it is important to place many layers of greased paper (I use 4) and this should remedy the cake drying on the outer edges. My Mum always used brown paper to line her cake tins for Christmas, however I find grease proof paper satisfactory. Hope this helps. She was the most amazing cook!


19th Nov, 2019
Im worried that apricots are not appropriate Christmas cake ingredients. Can anyone confirm what a Christmas cake should include before I make this cake and embarrass myself on the big day.
18th Nov, 2019
Hi, When "zest and juice 2 oranges, 2 lemons or 4 clementines" is stated, is this; just 2 oranges and 2 lemons OR just 4 clementines, or, Just 2 oranges AND 4 clementines instead of 2 lemons? Or something else? Sorry!
Grace Bonallie's picture
Grace Bonallie
5th Nov, 2019
Hi, making this came for the first time this year with tea instead of alcohol, reading the reviews about the baking times, would people recommend baking on low shelf at 140 for 4 hours? Without doing a reduction and covering with foil halfway through? Also, when baked will it be okay to store in fridge in a cake tin or does it need to be wrapped in certain things or a certain way? Very nervous about making this haha!
29th Nov, 2017
Has anyone decorated this cake with marzipan and icing ???
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Dec, 2018
Thanks for your question. This is ideal for marzipan and icing. Take a look at some of our suggested designs here:
5th Nov, 2017
Any advice on how to reduce the quantities to make this as an 8inch/15cm round cake? thanks!
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. An 8 inch (20cm) round cake tin is used in this recipe. A 15cm tin is actually 6 inches.
Lesley MacKinnon
19th Dec, 2018
I made this cake without alcohol 3 weeks ago. It's a week before Christmas. I'm wondering if I need to store it in the fridge or if it will be ok to store at room temperature for another week. I has been covered in marzipan and icing.
4th Sep, 2017
Hello, I have been asked last minute to make a birthday cake for Saturday 9/9/17 and they would like a fruit cake. Is it too short notice for this cake or will it be ok to use so soon? Many Thanks
14th Nov, 2016
If you want to do a nut free cake, can you just minus the nuts or do you have to increase a different ingredient to balance it out?


Gillian Bird's picture
Gillian Bird
10th Dec, 2019
Print version has not been corrected for the longer cook time. Above says 1.5 then 2.5- 3 hours; print has 1.5 then 45mins-1hour. See total cook time is 4+ hours.
Susan Turner's picture
Susan Turner
29th Nov, 2019
Took about 8.5 hours in the simmering oven of the Aga.
27th Oct, 2018
I add some roughly chopped stem ginger with a little of the syrup to the fruit mixture, a little candied pineapple is nice too. My alcohol of choice is Spiced Rum, I try to get at least half a bottle in it before Christmas. Takes far longer than the suggested cooking time so keep checking with a skewer to see if it's done.
4th Nov, 2014
Making this now for the third time. Lovely cake but the timings are wrong. I cook for 4 hours. It is a slightly heavier cake than Delia's with more fruit, sugar and butter. She suggests 4-4.5 hours at similar temperature for her cake, so use that as a guide. Well worth it.
27th Dec, 2013
When you add the parchment paper to the baking ring, make sure that the paper covers the whole cake area, otherwise it runs out. You might see that you need longer when baking, even by 30 min, but it will not influence the success in a negative way. Just take it easy with the time, as all ovens are different.
16th Oct, 2013
Fabulous recipe, very easy. I used spiced rum and the smell is divine. Top tip: don't tie the newspaper round the tin until after you have filled it with the cake mix.
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