9 best Christmas cake recipes
Whether your eyes light up at the thought of a traditional rich fruit cake, or it’s something less conventional you’re after this year, we have plenty of Christmas cake recipes that are bound to bring some joy to 2020.
We might be going without the Christmas parties and the big crowded feasts, but there is certainly no need to forgo our cakes this year. After all, Christmas cakes keep much longer than a regular sponge cake, so there’s no need to worry about it not getting finished!
We hope you’ll find something to love here.
What’s the history of the Christmas cake?
Christmas cake in its original incarnation was known as ‘plum porridge’, and was used to line people’s stomachs after a day of spiritual fasting. A little later, additional dried fruits and some honey joined the plums and became ‘Christmas pudding’. In the 16th century, oats were swapped out in favour of flour and eggs, and the pudding started to resemble the cake we all know and love today. You can use any number of alcohols for soaking your fruit, or forgo it altogether in favour of a festive chocolate recipe… Just don’t tell the Elizabethans.
What does it mean to ‘mature’ a Christmas cake?
Christmas cake is traditionally made a few weeks in advance of the big day, to allow the fruity, boozy flavours to develop. The act of ‘feeding’ the cake – where it is doused in a liquor of choice (often brandy, sherry or whisky) once a week until the big day, stops it from drying out and results in an even moister and richer fruit cake by Christmas time.
Best Christmas cake recipes to make this Christmas
For a recipe that will never let you down, this option from Mary Berry is hard to beat. Remember to soak the fruit overnight so it can absorb the alcohol and plump up. This cake can be fed with brandy, spiced rum, sloe gin, whisky, sherry or madeira – baker’s choice.
Whether chocolate and orange are quintessential Christmas for you or you simply love the combination, this cake from Paul A. Young is an alternative to traditional fruit cake that we can get down with. The undecorated baked cake freezes well for up to 1 month, and once iced the cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week – becoming even more moist.
This cake uses mincemeat so is extra moist. It keeps for two months and has a welcome kick from stem ginger.
Wow the room with a beautiful white Christmas cake recipe. Start with our Drambuie and orange Christmas cake, then make your homemade royal icing – it isn’t as tricky as you’d think. A snowflake cutter and fondant icing make for pretty decorations.
This beauty includes sweet masala-soaked figs, cherries, currants and sultanas, for a light and sophisticated cake. It can be made dairy free by leaving out the butter and greasing the tin with sunflower oil.
This cake from Chetna Makan makes use of saffron and pistachio for a bit of a change, and it’s packed with juicy soaked fruit, nuts and beautifully balanced spices. The cake will keep for a week in an airtight container (minus the caramel hazelnuts), or can be frozen, undecorated, for up to six months.
This is the cake for those that like things a little less rich, but still fruity. A traditional Scottish recipe first baked over 300 years ago, Dundee cake is light enough to be eaten as a breakfast treat, but fruity enough to be enjoyed as dessert.
Here’s a showstopper cake if we ever saw one. It combines dark chocolate and gingerbread cake spiced with stem and ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
This is the nation’s favourite Christmas cake recipe, and it’s easy to see why. Delia’s famous Christmas cake is rich, moist, and more fruit than cake. Once you’ve soaked the fruit, it’s a doddle to put together.
Hungry for more? Click here for our entire Christmas cake recipe collection!