How to make the perfect Christmas Cake

  • Serves : 10
  • Makes : 1
  • Type : Dessert

It’s not Christmas without a festive slice of deliciously rich Christmas cake, and with Sue’s step-by-step recipe, you’ll be able to make your best one yet.
A great friend of Lakeland (she writes lots of our recipes), Sue believes that it’s so important to have well-written recipes that are easy to follow and give great results – without any hassle – just like this one.


  • For the cake
  • 350g currants 
  • 350g sultanas 
  • 350g raisins 
  • 75g dried apricots chopped
  • 200g glacé cherries halved
  • 100ml dark rum or brandy 
  • 150g butter 
  • 150g dark muscovado sugar 
  • eggs beaten
  • 75g ground almonds 
  • zest of 1 lemon 
  • zest and juice of 1 orange 
  • 200g plain flour 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice 
  • 3 tbsp dark rum or brandy 
  • To decorate
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam 
  • 750g golden marzipan 
  • 1kg red fondant icing 
  • 200g white fondant icing 
  • 1-2 tbsp vodka 
  • A small amount edible glitter for sprinkling
  • ribbon to tie around the cake


  1. Put the currants, sultanas, raisins, apricots and glacé cherries into a large mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 2-3 minutes. Drain thoroughly through a colander. Tip the fruit back into the bowl and add the rum or brandy, stirring well. Cover and leave in a cool place for up to 2 days, though at least overnight. This plumps up the fruit and makes the cake deliciously moist.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/Gas Mark 2. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with double-thickness baking paper. In a very large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a wooden spoon or hand-held electric mixer. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition. Stir in the almonds, lemon zest, orange zest and orange juice.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into the mixing bowl, folding them through with a large metal spoon. Do not beat the mixture at this stage. Add the soaked dried fruit mixture and stir it in thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface. Remember that the mixture will not rise.
  4. Bake for 2 hours in the centre of the oven. Test that the cake is cooked by inserting a fine skewer into the centre – it should come out clean. If not, cook for a little longer. Stand the cake on a wire rack and leave it to cool in the tin. When completely cold, spoon 3 tbsp dark rum or brandy over the surface and let it soak in. Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin.
  5. About 1 week before Christmas, decorate the cake. Brush the top and sides with warm, sieved apricot jam. Roll out half the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar into a long strip, trimming to the depth of the cake. Press into place around the sides. Roll out the remaining marzipan for the top of the cake, trimming to fit. Leave overnight before icing.
  6. Knead the red fondant icing for a moment or two to form a ball. Roll out into a very large circle on a work surface dusted lightly with icing sugar. Carefully lift over the cake, draping it down the sides. Use your hands to mould it around the top and sides of the cake, then trim off the excess around the base.
  7. Dust the work surface, rolling pin and cutters with icing sugar. Roll out the white fondant icing to a depth of about 0.5cm. Cut out snowflakes, using the plunger to create the embossing and release the shapes. Brush a little vodka over the base of each snowflake and position on the cake. Brush the snowflake edges with vodka and sprinkle with edible glitter. Tie ribbon around the cake to finish.