Christmas cake – a luxurious recipe for great results this year

If you're making your own Christmas cake then you need to start about 8 weeks ahead to ensure it has enough time to mature. This is our favorite luxury recipe

Christmas cake
(Image credit: Miele)

This Christmas cake recipe combines festive spices and zesty fruits... it's everything you want in this classic dessert that's synonymous with Yuletide joy. 

What's important to note first up, is that if you're making your own Christmas cake  (brave) then you need to start minimum eight weeks before you serve this up.

The next thing to note is that it needs a slow bake (and a fair amount of attention) also, so it's more effort than a batch of Christmas cookies, for example. 

If you're up to the challenge, then you're in the right place as making your own Christmas cake is very much worth the effort if you ask us. After all, homemade is always best, and who can actually resist a helping of a perfectly iced Christmas cake? Especially when there's a glass of brandy to go with it...

Make it now, store it in a cook, dark place to mature (all info in the recipe below) up until Christmas and you will be in Santa's good books this year.

For more Christmas-related reads and recipes, don't miss our dedicated page and be sure to visit our food hub for more delightful recipes when you have the chance.

Christmas cake recipe

(Image credit: Miele)
  • Thanks to Miele for this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 230g sultanas
  • 230g raisins
  • 170g currants
  • 100g glace cherries, rinsed and quartered
  • 100g dried apricots, quartered
  • 50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp brandy
  • 250g plain flour
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g flaked almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • ½ lemon, zest only
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • A deep 20cm round or 18cm square cake tin

Method:

1. Preheat the oven or warming drawer to 60°C. Grease and double line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. 

2. Place all the fruit in an oven-proof bowl and pour the brandy over it. Stir well and place in the oven for two hours. Remove and set aside.

3. Now preheat the oven to 140ºC. 

4. Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl and stir in the almonds, orange and lemon rind. 

5. Cream the softened butter and dark brown sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the treacle.

6. Gradually fold in the flour, spices, almonds, rinds and the soaked fruit. Mix well and then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth off the surface with a palette knife. Loosely cover the top of the cake with a double circle of greaseproof paper.

7. Place the cake in the oven on a wire rack on the middle shelf. Bake the cake for one hour (at 140°C) then reduce the oven temperature to 120ºC and bake for a further three hours at this temperature, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

8. Take the cake out of the oven, poke a few holes in it and pour over just 2bsp of your tipple of choice. 

9. Allow the cake to cool in the tin then remove when it’s cold.

10. Remove the greaseproof paper then wrap it in cling film and store it in a cool, dark cupboard to start the maturing process.

11. Feed it with just 1-2 tbsp of brandy, sherry, rum or even whisky every fortnight to stop it from drying out. 

Top tip! Don't feed it on the last week so that a bit of a crust forms on the top, this will make it easier to ice your creation, for the grand reveal.

And hey presto, a Christmas cake is in the making!

How to decorate a Christmas cake

The traditional look is a couple of sprigs of holly, and maybe a cranberry or two. As holly is toxic and not something you want anyone munching on by mistake after a brandy too many, choose artificial decor instead or if you're feeling very fancy, you could make green and red icing to form your very own leaves and berries.

For a more modern look, you cook buy edible bakers glitter in silver or gold!

More Christmas feasting: