North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (2024)

Nothing beats a homemade Christmas cake. I wouldn't say it is our family tradition as I don't make one every year but I do when I can as it is so worth the effort. Christmas cakes do need a fair few ingredients and we spent around £20 on ours.

That does include a cheap bottle of Amaretto from Aldi and we had leftover ingredients that we used to make Mincemeat.

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (1)

A Christmas cake is actually pretty simple to make - it's the measuring out of ingredients and the actual baking that takes time.

I have tried a few recipes over the years from Delia Smith to Nigella but Mary Berry's is my favourite and the one I always use now. I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe though. I hope you like it!

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (2)
Soak your dry fruits in Amaretto overnight

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (3)
Line your baking tin with a double layer or baking parchment

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (4)
Mix all other ingredients in a food processor or by hand until well combined

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This is what your cake batter should look like

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Gently fold your cake batter into the soaked fruit

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (7)


North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (8)
Spoon mixture into your prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for approx 4.5 hours

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (9)
Your fruit cake needs to cool and can then be wrapped ready for feeding.

Classic Christmas Cake Ingredients

You will need a 20cm round deep cake tin. This recipe is supposed to create 12-15 slices but ours lasts a lot longer than this. The cake is pretty deep so you can get away with serving pretty thin slices I think.

100g Glace cherries
100g Ready-to-eat dried apricots
275g Currants
175g Sultanas
175g Raisins
50g Candied peel
5 tbsp Amaretto
225g Plain flour
1/2 tsp Grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground mixed spice
225g Unsalted butter
225g Darkmuscavadosugar
4 Large eggs
50g Chopped almonds
1 tbsp Black treacle
Grated rind of 1 orange

Method

The preparation begins the night before. Start with your cherries - snip them into quarters and pop them into a sieve. Run under a cold tap for a few minutes and then pat dry.

Snip your apricots into small pieces then add the cherries, apricots and other dried fruit do a large mixing bowl. Cover with 5 tbsp of Amaretto (I just give it a good glug), stir and cover with a tea towel. Leave overnight in a cool room.

The following morning.......

1 - Pre-heat theoverto 140C/Fan 120C/Gas 1. Grease and line your 20cm deep round cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment.

2 - Place the flour, spices, butter, sugar, eggs, almonds, treacle and orange rind into a large bowl or food mixer and beat well.

3 - Carefully fold the soaked fruits into your cake batter until combined.

4 - Spoon the mixture into your cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Loosely cover the top with a double layer of baking parchment.

5 - Bake in a pre-heated oven for 4.5 hours or until the cake feels firm and a skewer insertedinthe centre comes out clean.

6 - Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then wrap completely with a fresh double layer of baking parchment and then finally wrap the whole cake in tin foil. Store in a cool, dry place.

Every week, pierce the cake with a skewer in around 10 places and spoon amaretto over the cake to 'feed' it before re-wrapping. You will need to cover the cake with almond paste (or marzipan) about a week before icing.

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients
3 egg whites
600g sieved icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

1 - After covering your cake with marzipan, brush with a little apricot jam

2 - Lightly whisk the egg whites and gradually add the icing sugar and lemon until the mixture forms soft peaks

3 - Spread the icing onto the cake - you can be as creative as you like and form soft peaks or smooth. Decorate with Christmas ornaments. Here are some of my favourites (affiliates):

Easy Classic Christmas Cake Q&A

Q - How early can you make this cake?
A - We usually make in October / November but I don't see any reason why you could not make it earlier.

Q - Do you have to feed the cake?
A - No you don't but it tastes lovely so I would recommend not skipping this part

Q - Do you have to use alcohol to soak the fruit/feed the cake?
A - Apple or Orange Juice are good non-alcoholic alternatives

Q - I don't like amaretto - is there anything else I can use?
A - Whisky, Sherry, Brandy and Cherry Brandy work well

Q - I don't like marzipan/icing - can you recommend an alternative?
A - I would just leave your cake naked - it still tastes delicious and will go well with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

Other Christmas Recipes


North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (10)

These Gingerbread Tree Decorations are perfect to make with children - you can make them at the start of December and they will last until Christmas. They make your house smell lovely too.

Click here to read my Gingerbread Tree Decoration Recipe


Chocolate Orange Slow Cooker Fudge Recipe

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (11)

This fudge can be prepared in a slow cooker and is SO easy to make. It tastes delicious and makes a wonderful Christmas gift. What is not to love?

Click here to read my full Chocolate Orange Slow Cooker Fudge Recipe.

Pigs in Blankets Mac n Cheese


North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (12)

Pigs in Blankets with Mac n Cheese is a winning combination. A winter classic with a festive twist. We love it!

Alternative Christmas Cake Recipes

Nutty Christmas Cake by Me Annie Bee

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (13)

If you like a cake which is nice and nutty and not too moist, check out this Christmas Cake recipe by Me Annie Bee.

Low-effort Christmas Cake by Rachel Bustin

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (14)

Rachel describes this recipe as super easy with the most effort needed being to weigh out the fruit! Check out this low-effort yetfabulous Christmas Cake recipe by Rachel Bustinhere.

Easy Gluten-Free Christmas Cake by Kate On Thin Ice


North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (15)

If you are looking for a gluten-free Christmas Cake , check out this Gluten Free Christmas Cake Recipe by Kate on Thin Ice or how about this lighter and healthier recipe as an alternative?

Let me know if you've baked your own Christmas Cake this year.

Pin Me For Later

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (16)

North East Family Fun : Easy Classic Christmas Cake Recipe (Inspired by Mary Berry) (2024)

FAQs

What is Christmas cake often eaten with in northern England? ›

In Yorkshire, Christmas cake is usually eaten with Wensleydale, a type of cheese produced in North Yorkshire. It's a tradition that dates back at least to Victorian times, according to food historian Peter Brears from Leeds.

Which cake is traditionally made for Christmas? ›

Christmas cake is a type of cake, often fruitcake, served at Christmas time in many countries.

How to make Mary Berry's fruit cake? ›

Put the flour, grated nutmeg, mixed spice, butter, sugar, eggs, chopped almonds, black treacle and the citrus zest into a large bowl and beat well to mix thoroughly. Fold in the soaked fruits. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon.

What cheese is eaten with Christmas cake? ›

Many people say it needs to be eaten with Wensleydale, a type of cheese produced in North Yorkshire... Although some say that cheddar is the way to go. And others say the cake needs to be icing-free. Eating cheese with your Christmas fruit cake is actually a long-held Yorkshire tradition.

What is the traditional cake of England? ›

Victoria Sponge

Named after Queen Victoria herself, this classic British bake is an afternoon tea staple. The classic Victoria sponge cake is a light, two-tiered sandwich cake traditionally filled with whipped cream, jam, and fresh fruit.

What's the difference between a fruit cake and a Christmas cake? ›

Christmas cakes are also commonly made with pudding while a fruit cake uses butter, however there are Christmas cake recipes that do contain butter. The traditional Scottish Christmas cake, also known as the Whisky Dundee, is very popular. It is a light crumbly cake with currants, raisins, cherries and Scotch whisky.

Is October too early to make Christmas cake? ›

This is a question I get asked a lot and my answer is early November. Yes this seems early, but there are two key things that make a Christmas cake extra tasty and that is…

What alcohol is good for Christmas cake? ›

You can use rum, brandy or whisky for spice, or if you like citrus flavours, try an orange liqueur. Cherry brandy and amaretto will also work well if you prefer these.

What is the Christmas cake slang? ›

Hence, a cruel saying: Japanese women who remained unmarried past the age of 25 used to be referred to as Christmas cakes, implying that they had passed their use-by date.

What do British call fruitcakes? ›

Did you know that the of eating fruitcake around the holidays stemmed from Great Britain? The traditional Christmas dessert isn't at all similar to the candied peel and citron cakes you might think of when “fruitcake” is mentioned. Called Christmas cake or plum cake in Great Britain, the dessert dates to Roman times!

Why is my Christmas cake dry? ›

The ratio of wet to dry ingredients determines a cake's moisture level. If there's simply too much flour and not enough butter, a cake will taste dry. On the other hand, if there's too much milk and not enough flour, a cake will taste too wet. Finding the right balance between wet and dry ingredients is key.

What is the best alcohol to soak fruit in for Christmas cake? ›

There are many types of alcohol that can be used for soaking fruit cake, but the best options are generally going to be those that are high in sugar content. This includes options like rum, brandy, whisky, and port wine.

Do you grease a pan for fruitcake? ›

Grease and line pans with brown paper, waxed paper, or parchment. Grease again. Cut paper about 1 inch taller than pans. Fill pans a little over half full with batter.

Is it too late to make a Christmas cake? ›

Of course not! With some people making their Christmas cakes in the early autumnal months, don't panic if you haven't started yours yet! This easy recipe means you still have time. We will be decorating ours to look like a Christmas Pudding.

What do you eat Christmas cake with? ›

Strong, flavourful spirits with a high ABV are ideal for feeding fruitcakes. You can use rum, brandy or whisky for spice, or if you like citrus flavours, try an orange liqueur. Cherry brandy and amaretto will also work well if you prefer these.

What is the Yorkshire tradition of Christmas cake with cheese? ›

On Christmas Eve one Yule Cake is given to each member of the family, along with a piece of Christmas cheese,” he wrote. Lucas was most probably referring to the famous Wensleydale cheese which remains a Yorkshire specialty to this day.

Is cheese and fruit cake a Yorkshire thing? ›

It seems certain eating fruitcake and cheese started in Yorkshire before later spreading throughout the other northern counties. The tradition of enjoying fruitcake with cheese was and is strong in the north of England, but seems often frowned upon or ignored elsewhere in the UK.

Why do people have cheese with Christmas cake? ›

Folks found that the sharp and crumbly cheese—either perched atop or eaten alongside the cake—paired perfectly with the moist, rich baked good, and a tradition was born. The Christmas custom has remained mostly a delight confined to Yorkshire, but that may change.

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