Simple Christmas Cake

Simple Christmas Cake Recipe

He’s finally lost it. It’s far too late in the year to make the Christmas cake. That’s what you’re thinking. But it’s never too late. There’s always a way. My Simple Christmas Cake recipe proves that; it’s one of the most enjoyable I’ve had and can be made only days before the year’s main event. No. I challenge you to make it only days before.

Traditional Christmas cake can be such a bore. Even if you do have a recipe that yields a genuinely enjoyable article, it’s likely required extensive preparation, perspiration and at least a modicum of perseverance. Ok, so they’re not all that troubling, but they do elicit a certain pain in the posterior. Instead, opt for an easy Christmas cake. If you have time you can still feed it and nurture it. But if there’s no time, you don’t have to.

Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe

The best thing about a simple Christmas cake is that its method naturally produces a perfectly moist fruit cake. Essentially an all-in-one cake, this recipe naturally turns out a moister cake than the traditional creaming approach. Add to that delightfully hefty additions of cream sherry – my preferred Christmas cake tipple – and freshly squeezed orange juice and you can see where things are going. Easy, rich and moist.

How To Make Christmas Cake

You may also have noticed my cake’s distinct lack of marzipan and icing. It always seems a shame to cover the impressively deep flavour of a festive fruit cake with super-saccharine shenanigans. Don’t bow to the weight of familial expectation. Stand firm in the knowledge that your Christmas cake – however easy it was to make – will hold its own.

If bend you must, at least make your own marzipan. But for an even quicker solution, should you have some mincemeat on hand, is this delicious mince pie cake recipe…

Simple Christmas Cake

Makes one 23cm cake


  • 1kg mixed dried fruit, whatever you like
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice
  • 150ml cream sherry
  • 250g butter, in chunks
  • 200g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice


  1. Grease and line a round 23cm springform baking tin. Tie a separate double layer of baking parchment around the outside of the tin for insulation. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C(fan).
  2. Tip the dried fruit, orange juice and zest, and cream sherry into your largest saucepan. Heat over a low heat before adding the butter in chunks, sugar and dark treacle.
  3. Once the butter has melted, stir in the ground almonds. Remove from the heat and set aside for 2 minutes.
  4. Incorporate the eggs into the cake mixture one by one. Fold through the plain flour, baking powder and mixed spice.
  5. Transfer the prepared batter to the lined baking tin and bake for 2 hours until browned, slightly cracked and ever so slightly sticky in the middle.
  6. Allow the cake to cool fully on a wire rack before turning out. Wrap up in baking parchment and foil until Christmas or decoration. It should keep well for 2-3 months.

Recipe For Christmas Cake Easy Christmas Cake Recipe

Cost: Christmas cake isn’t the cheapest cake going and the cost of yours will largely depend on the sherry and dried fruit you use. I’d suggest that better quality fruit is a better investment than expensive sherry. Besides, even cheap cream sherry is relatively palatable.

All in all, following this recipe you should quite easily be able to produce a simple Christmas cake for as little as £7. Not bad, considering its size; no need for a turkey dinner.

43 comments on “Simple Christmas Cake

  1. Saskia
    December 2, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Hi Nick,
    I don’t have any cream sherry, but I’ve got 2 bottles of dry sherry sitting in my cupboard. It would be a shame to have to buy yet another bottle. Do you think this cake could work with the dry sherry? Should I add more sugar then?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Really sorry for my late response. Just go with the dry sherry. No need for extra sugar either! I hope you enjoy the cake.

  2. lovinghomemade
    December 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

    So much tastier without the marzipan and icing. Looks lovely!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Exactly – I like to appreciate my fruitcake.

  3. Maya Oryan
    December 2, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Wonderful as usual:)

  4. Susan Walter
    December 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Boiled Fruitcake. I would never consider making any other sort. It’s what I grew up with and I’ve never understood why you would make the other sort when boiled is so much nicer every time. I agree that sans marzipan is best too.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Yoiu know, this is very similar to a boiled fruitcake. It’s certainly as nice as any boiled cake I’ve ever eaten!

  5. Gary Horn
    December 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I was thinking of bringing a stollen to each of my children’s households, but maybe I’ll do this instead!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      I also have a great recipe for stollen 🙂

  6. Gary Horn
    December 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Could you tell us how you would “feed” this cake? I’m in the U.S. and ignorant of this concept.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Sorry for the late response – feeding the cake simply involves adding a tablespoon or so of sherry, brandy, rum – whatever alcohol you choose – to the cake every few days. It then matures and gradually improved the flavour.

  7. Karista
    December 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous Nick! I love a delicious Christmas cake. I’m going to have to make this one. Happy Christmas!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Please do, Karista – I enjoyed it so much.

  8. cateinthekitchen
    December 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Looks lovely and squidgy. I wish I loved Christmas cake, I should try making it myself sometime really shouldn’t I..

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Yes, it was certainly squidgy. Just like its creator. You should. Super simple.

  9. Conor Bofin
    December 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Epic cake Nick. Perfect festive cycling fuel.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks, Conor. You’re right and I’ve needed it.

  10. angelica | table twenty eight
    December 3, 2015 at 6:09 am

    That looks DIVINE, my mouth is watering….

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you – I’m going to have to make another!

  11. Julie
    December 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I always make my cake about now, so its not too late!
    Going to try your recipe now!


    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Brilliant – I hope you like it. Ours has all gone and I need to make another.

  12. The Candid Kitchen (@thecandidktchn)
    December 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I never did think you could start making a christmas cake this late!!! You are right, the original recipes take a lot of time to develop so it’s nice to see a simple, straight forward recipe. Mariana

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Oh you totally can! And you can still feed it a bit too.

  13. Kirsten
    December 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    It’s not too late at all for Christmas Cake making, there is still plenty of time to feed it with booze!!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      That’s true, but some do prefer to make it many weeks in advance.

  14. Cinnamon Vogue
    December 8, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Nick this is a work of art. Not only does the cake look good it has been photographed so well. This is a keeper of a recipe. Thank you so much. I am one of those people who like a thin layer or Marzipan but you have convinced me to go without. Now just have to figure out where to get black treacle.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you! I don’t mind marzipan, but I’d rather without. Each to his or her own though. I’m afraid I can’t help with the black treacle.

  15. Karen
    December 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I think everyone should take you up on this challenge, Nick. Your cake sounds wonderful.

  16. Cathy
    December 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    This looks so good! I am going to be making this to take to family over the holidays.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Fantastic idea; I’ll be doing the same :).

  17. Jean |
    December 11, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Nick, I love your Simple Christmas Cake! I so much prefer a fruitcake without any icing. Not a fan of marzipan or any type of “super-saccharine shenanigans”! I do have extra homemade mincemeat on hand (posted my recipe today) so will check out your mince pie cake.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks! The mince pie cake is really delicious. I’m looking forward to having some left over myself.

  18. Trish
    December 15, 2015 at 2:12 am

    here in the US, fruitcake is a joke – it is sold in stores, but no one really eats it. I fell in love with real fruitcake during an incredibly delightful year in Australia. I have never made one – would love to try this, but have the same question about cream sherry vs dry (not even sure cream sherry is procurable here). I am also not clear about the parchment tied around the outside of the baking tin. I would love to bake this cake, and eat it as James Herriot describes he did, with a slice of Wensleydale cheese

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      That’s a shame, It’s very popular here. Both types of sherry are fine (sorry for my slow response). The parchment is literally just a length of parchment folded in half and tied around the outside of the tin. Let me know if you need further description!

  19. Gathoni
    December 27, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Don’t ask me how, but am I glad I stumbled on to your blog! 🙂 Simple, affordable recipes. Healthy too, at least the ones I’ve drooled through (Oatcake) So I’m just wondering, with all this yummy food, you’re still trim? What are you hiding? 😀

  20. Julie-ann gledhill
    December 31, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I made the cake but used dark rum instead of sherry, it has turned out very well and made loads of cake! I will make it again but half the ingredients next time. It keeps very well though, and is better now than when I made it (when the recipe was first published).

    Try it heated up with some rum custard. Sounds ridiculous I know, but it was lighter than Xmas pudding and just as festive…

    • frugalfeeding
      January 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      It is a rather large cake, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  21. Susan Walter
    January 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Surely your recipe is a boiled fruitcake? How does it differ from your idea of a boiled fruitcake?

  22. ladymelchett
    January 31, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Hi, I made this cake this Christmas, as unusually I was running very late and completely missed stir up Sunday. Over the years I’ve made a host of celebrity chef recipes,normally at great expense, one year I needed a whole bottle of brandy! But this recipe was by far and away the best. Very moist and soft but not stodgy, just lovely. This is definitely a keeper and I’ll be making it next year too. Thanks for the recipe.

    • frugalfeeding
      February 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Brilliant! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to have an excuse to make it again.

  23. lara
    May 1, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    That’s what I call a great cake! I hope you’re doing good 🙂
    I really love your blog , keep it up !
    Lara xo.

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