Baking The Perfect Christmas Cake

You’ll find stacks of recipes for Christmas Cake, from Mrs Beeton, to Nigella to Mary Berry. The recipes do actually vary quite a lot but all of them are quite fail-safe as long as you get the cooking time right and make sure your fresh ingredients such as eggs and baking powder are actually fresh.

For those who don’t like the traditional fruitcake at Christmas, we’ve published some alternatives in the Christmas Baking section. You’ll also find Debbie’s great gran’s christmas cake recipe is similar to Mrs Beeton’s and makes a great traditional Christmas cake.

Here is a deliciously rich, moist, fruit cake based on Angela Nilsen’s original Christmas cake. It is one which we think everyone will enjoy.

Ingredients :

  • 200g (7oz) Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
  • 200g (7oz) Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 200g (7oz) Plain Flour
  • 4 Free Range Eggs (beaten)
  • 50g (2oz) Ground Almonds
  • 100ml (3.4floz) Sherry (plus extra for feeding)
  • 80g (3oz) Mixed Peel
  • 200g (7oz) Glacé Cherries (quartered)
  • 500g (1lb 1oz) Mixed Currants, Raisins and Sultanas
  • 100g (3.5oz) Pecan Nuts (chopped)
  • Finely Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1½ tsp Mixed Spice
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder


Preheat the oven to 160ºC (140ºC Fan Oven / 320 F / Gas Mark 3).

  • Fully line an 8 inch (20cm) round, deep cake tin.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the flour and beaten eggs a quarter at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
  • Stir in the ground almonds.
  • Mix in the sherry (it will look curdled but don’t worry).
  • Add in the mixed peel, glacé cherries, raisins, currants, pecan nuts, lemon zest, mixed spice, and vanilla extract, then combine.
  • Stir in the baking powder.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth over and make a slight dip in the middle.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 150ºC (130ºC Fan Oven / 300 F / Gas Mark 2) and bake for a further 2 – 2½ hours.
Insert a clean skewer into the middle – it will come out clean if the cake is cooked.
Leave to cool in the tin, take out, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely.
Once cooled, double wrap in cling film and cover again with foil.
Feed with sherry weekly, until you’re ready to decorate.
If you would like to bake this recipe in a different sized or shaped tin, you can do this with our CakeOmeter.

Leave a comment