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Christmas Cake Recipe

Prep time:

Overnight, plus 20 minutes

Baking time:

45–55 minutes


1 x 22–24cm cake


To soak and decorate (optional)


1. Pour the brandy or apple juice over the dried fruit and leave to steep for at least a couple of hours, or preferably overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22 or 24cm cake tin.

3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest.

4. Rub the dairy-free butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and the steeped dried fruit.

5. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the warm milk and stir until dissolved. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix to form a very stiff batter.

6. Turn into the lined cake tin, level off the top and bake for 35 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160°C and continue to bake for a further 10–20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean, checking regularly to make sure it doesn’t overbake.

7. Turn the cake out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

8. Once completely cool, keep the cake wrapped in baking paper in an airtight container until ready to decorate (if desired) just before Christmas.

9. For added moisture and flavour, pour 1 tablespoon of apple juice or brandy onto the cake each week until ready to use.

10. To cover the cake for decorating, brush it with the melted apricot jam and then cover with the fondant icing.

Extracted from The Friendly Baker by Lucy Parr. Priced at £23 and published by Meze Publishing:

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