A well fed Christmas cake

5 from 1 reviews

Christmas cake doesn't need to mature for weeks to taste gorgeous - honestly. This one is award-winning, tastes heavenly and involves no fuss.



  • 225g (8oz) soft butter
  • 225g (8oz) light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 4 tablespoons cold tea
  • Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 110g (4oz) SR flour
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 110g (4oz) mixed peel
  • 225g (8oz) glace cherries, halved + 150g (5oz) for decoration
  • 200g (7oz) currants
  • 200g (7oz) raisins
  • 300g (11oz) sultanas
  • 180ml (6floz) medium sherry
  • 150g (5oz) walnut halves
  • 370g (12oz approx) jar apricot jam (ideally NOT containing chunks of apricot)

You will need a deep 20cm square tin for a large cake, a deep 15cm square cake for a medium cake and a deep 10cm diameter round tin for a small cake.

You will also need -

a cake testing skewer
a small medicine cup
a pastry brush
a small saucepan


How to bake your cake(s) -

  1. Firstly, decide which size cake(s) you wish to make. This recipe will make 1 large or 2 medium or 4 small. Select your tin(s) accordingly and grease them well before lining them with baking parchment. I would recommend lining the base and the sides of the tins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C Fan/275ºF (gas mark 1).
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Now beat in the golden syrup, tea, lemon rind and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the eggs to the mixture and add the salt, spices and flours on top. Beat well.
  6. Gently stir in the fruit and mixed peel being sure to reserve 150g of glace cherries for the decoration.
  7. Divide between your chosen tins, using scales to ensure that you are as accurate as possible.
  8. Bake in the oven for 3 hours for the large cake, 2 hours for the medium cake and 1½ hours for the small cake. The cakes should be golden brown and a cake testing skewer inserted should come out clean. Ovens do vary, so be sure to check that your cake is not ready sooner than these times. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with a loose layer of aluminium foil on the top.
  9. Allow to cool completely in the tin before carefully removing.

How to feed your cake(s) -

  1. When cold, you can start the 'feeding' (the process of piercing the cake with a skewer before drizzling sherry over it). Cut two pieces of aluminium foil for each cake - each large enough to thoroughly wrap it up. The aim here is to have your cake(s) double wrapped in foil during the feeding process.
  2. FEED 1 - Lay the foil pieces in a cross shape and place the cake upside down in the centre. Now using a cake testing skewer, gently pierce lots of holes in the base of the cake. Then, using a small medicine cup (or similar) slowly and evenly drizzle sherry over the whole of the cake's base, being sure to go right up to the edges. For a large cake use 60ml of sherry per feed, a medium cake use 30ml of sherry per feed and for a small cake use 15mlof sherry per feed. Now wrap the cake up securely in the double foil ensuring that the base of the cake stays upright.
  3. FEED 2 - When you are ready to do your next 'feed', open up the foil and turn the cake over so it is the right way up. Now repeat steps in FEED 1 before re-wrapping the cake in foil - this time the cake should be the right side up.
  4. FEED 3 - When you are ready for your final 'feed', repeat the steps in FEED 1 again. This time you will be feeding the base of the cake for a second time. Re-wrap the cake in foil again - the base of the cake should be upright this time.
  5. Leave the cake to rest for at least 24 hours before starting the decoration.

How to decorate your cake(s) -

  1. Warm the jam in a small saucepan until it is very runny. If it contains pieces of apricot, you may need to sieve it at this stage.
  2. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the jam all over the top and sides of the cake.
  3. The jam will act like a 'glue' to stick your cherries and walnuts to the cake. Start in the centre of the cake with a row of cherries and then work outwards alternating with walnuts. Work quickly so that the jam has not dried and lost its stickiness. If you are decorating a large cake, you may find it better to brush the jam on, one section at a time.
  4. Finish with a coat of apricot jam brushed over the cherries and walnuts to form a glaze - you may need to gently reheat the jam if it has become difficult to work with.
  5. To store your cake, either wrap it in cellophane or wrap it loosely in foil and store it in an airtight container.


This quantity will make 1 large cake OR 2 medium cakes OR 4 small cakes. You could also mix and match - e.g 1 medium cake + 2 small cakes

Keywords: gifts, family, celebration, last minute