From classic iced Christmas cakes to chocolatey alternatives, our team of experts has narrowed down the best Christmas cakes for 2023 from Aldi to Waitrose & Partners.
Christmas cake is one of the most popular Christmas foods when it comes to the festivities and this year we have tested out an array of delicious shop-bought options, including some that give Mary Berry’s Christmas cake recipe a run for its money. We can appreciate those wanting to save energy by not switching their oven this Christmas as well as dreading washing up, so a shop-bought readymade option is a great choice.
Our panel of expert judges who put all of these supermarkets favourites to the test include; Group Food Director Jen Bedloe, Food Editor Jess Meyer, Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks, Senior Food Writer Amanda James, and Junior Food Writer Georgia Sparks. All of which have years of experience trying thousands of new food and drink products each year. This makes them very well prepared when it comes to seeking out the best Christmas cakes.
Our judges tried hundreds of products during the annual taste test - blind-tasting cakes looking out for specifics such as texture, flavour, and appearance. A number of supermarkets and stockists entered the awards including Marks & Spencer, Aldi, and Patisserie Valerie.
But don’t stop there, if you love Christmas sweet treats as much as we do, we’ve also tried and tested the very best Christmas desserts, best mince pies, and best Christmas puddings. And if you’re more interested in the savoury side of things, we’ve also rated our favourite turkeys in our best turkey taste test.
This article was updated on the 20th of December. We checked the prices of all the products featured in the article and updated some of the deals for accuracy.
Where to buy Christmas cakes for 2023
- Aldi: Budget and best! For those that would like to cut costs but don’t want to miss out on flavour
- Waitrose & Partners: For classic Christmas cakes and a variety of tasty alternatives
- Patisserie Valerie: Delicious, mouthwatering festive bakes, cakes and more
Best Christmas cakes to buy online
Why you can trust GoodtoKnow.
1. Cartwright & Butler Iced Christmas Round Cake, 700g - View at Cartwright & Butler
Best Christmas cake for gifting
RRP: £20 | Delivery: Standard | Available: Order online now | Servings: 8-12
Simply iced on the top with a golden snowflake decoration and a thick layer of marzipan beneath, this delicious cake has a great flavour. Moist and gently spiced it is packed with plenty of juicy and plump fruit. This balanced cake comes with a generous flavour of warming brandy and spices. Ideal for gifting, this cake comes in a pretty tin too. Judges thought this was good for those who aren’t too keen on icing, as it isn’t iced around the sides.
Group Food Editor Jess Meyer says: “This cake has a beautiful flavour, moist and gently spiced. The fruit is plump and balanced with a bit of booze. It also comes in a nice tin for gifting.”
2. Aldi Specially Selected Luxury All Over Iced Christmas Cake, 907g - View at Aldi
Best budget Christmas cake
RRP: £8.99 | Delivery: Not available | Available: In store | Servings: 8-12
A fruity, traditional flavoured cake with great all-around flavour. Large chunks of fruit meant this had a great texture. Judges thought this cake had a good amount of marzipan and icing. Decorated with a simple bronze star topping, the subtle design makes this one a classic crowdpleaser. It’s hard to see where you could go wrong with this, at just £8.99 it’s a bargain!
Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: “I love the burst of fruit as it's so moist and rich, it has delicious notes of orange too.”
3. Biscuiteers Christmas Wreath Cake, 6 inches - View at Biscuiteers *OUT OF STOCK*
Best luxury Christmas cake
RRP: £65 | Delivery: Next day if ordered before 4pm | Available: Order from Biscuiteers | Servings: 10-12
Deck the Halls! This show stopper of a cake has extremely pretty and detailed hand-piped festive foliage decoration, with a delicious layer of marzipan beneath. This was a very moist cake that looked as though it had been generously soaked. The fruity flavours really pop with a freshness that other contenders didn't have. It was slightly less boozy than others, like the Cartwright & Butler cake so would suit those who aren’t as keen on that flavour.
Group Food Director Jen Bedloe says: “This is a super attractive cake with a wow factor. The cake inside isn't as traditional as others we tried, it reminded me of figgy pudding, it’s super moist and has a lovely citrusy zing. The marzipan is particularly good and the detailed icing is superb!”
4. M&S Collections Perfectly Matured Christmas Cake, 950g - View at M&S *SOLD OUT ONLINE, INSTORE ONLY*
Best traditional Christmas cake
RRP: £12 | Delivery: Standard | Available: In store and online | Servings: 10-12
For those who aren’t as interested in the decoration or icing, this simple and chic cake is iced with two gold snowflakes and wrapped in a golden ribbon. Judges praised this rich and decadent cake and particularly enjoyed the all-butter richness, as well as having a delicious flavour it was also brimming with juicy plump fruit and almonds. While on the sweeter side, it is laced with a nice amount of brandy and the soft moist texture was pleasant.
Junior Food Writer, Georgia Sparks says: “I enjoyed the fruity flavour of this cake. Full of juicy, plump fruits. It's for those that enjoy a very traditional cake and simple decoration.”
5. Patisserie Valerie Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Cake, 1300g - View at Patisserie Valerie *OUT OF STOCK*
Best non-traditional Christmas cake
RRP: £45.95| Delivery: Standard (will arrive frozen)| Available: Order from Patisserie Valerie from the 6th November | Servings: 10
Ideal for large gatherings, this cake was a real showstopper! Impressively hand decorated, with green, red, and white stripes and adorned with mini candy canes. Boasting 4 layers of rich chocolate sponge, each layered with fresh cream and mini marshmallows. A mint chocolate ganache adds a refreshing peppermint note. The level of detail is second to none and the fact you can get this delivered to your door is ideal!
Food Writer Amanda James says: “This cake is a real showstopper! You can see how much care and attention has gone into constructing this cake, it’s so impressive! The mint chocolate flavour may not be to everyone's taste but we really liked it!”
6. Waitrose & Partners No1 Rich Fruit Cake, 1500g - View at Waitrose & Partners *SOLD OUT ONLINE, INSTORE ONLY*
Best supermarket Christmas cake
RRP: £18.50 | Delivery: Book a slot or buy in-store | Available: in store only | Servings: | 10-12
For those who want to bring a bit of glitz and glam to the table, this sparkly number is for you. The perfect balance of icing and marzipan adorned with gold leaves, despite being a supermarket offering, the level of craft gone into decoration is excellent. Matured for six months this cake is delightfully warming from the brandy and has a lovely balance of spice with a touch of ginger. Filled with plump dried fruits and crushed almonds that give it a nice texture.
Group Food Editor Jess Meyer says: “Covered with marzipan and soft icing this hand-decorated cake has delicious citrus flavours. It has a nice light sponge that’s not too boozy or dry."
7. Daylesford Organic Christmas Cake, 800g - View at Daylesford *OUT OF STOCK*
Best un-iced Christmas cake
RRP: £25 | Delivery: Next day available before 12pm | Available: Order online | Servings: 6-8
If you’re not a big fan of icing or marzipan or simply want to add your own decoration to your cake, this is a great solution. A traditional cake packed with plenty of juicy vinefruits. A warming spice blend and a good amount of brandy give this cake a great flavour. A thin sugar coating on top adds a pleasant crunch and a slight sweetness.
Group Food Director, Jen Bedloe says: “Perfect for those who’d like to put their own stamp on a cake but are short on time. The flavours of this cake are really great and the sweet tin it comes in can be used again and again.”
How did we test the best Christmas cakes?
All of our taste tests are conducted blind which means there is no bias or brand favouritism and all products are judged on merit alone.
During the taste tests, each judge is given a sheet to take notes on commenting on the appearance, flavour, and texture of the cake and giving it a score from one to five. One is poor and five is exceptional. Only products that scored three and above have been included in this roundup.
Judges considered a good cake to be moist and juicy with plump fruits that have been well soaked. Judges also looked at how visually attractive the cake was. They also considered the texture of the cake, it should not be crumbly in texture and slice well.
Most of the cakes submitted this year were traditional fruit cakes with marzipan and icing and had differing levels of decoration. There were also a few alternatives that had a Christmas design but were sponge-based.
Meet the experts: Tried and tasted by...
An experienced recipe writer, editor, and food stylist, Jen is Group Food Director at Future plc where she oversees the food content across the women’s lifestyle group, including Woman & Home, Women’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, Goodto.com, and womanandhome.com. Jen studied Communications at Goldsmiths, then landed her first job in media working for Delia Smith’s publishing company on Sainsbury’s magazine. Jen honed her practical skills by combining courses at Leith’s cookery school with time spent in the test kitchen testing recipes and assisting food stylists on photoshoots.
Jess is Food Editor at Future plc, working across brands in the woman’s lifestyle group, including Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, womanandhome.com and Goodto.com. An experienced recipe writer, food stylist and home economist, Jess honed her skills in print and digital food media, working with well known brands such as Great British Bake Off, Tastemade US and UK, and Slimming World to name a few.
Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future plc, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo, Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home. Our resident baking expert, Rose has a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Her favourite time of year is Christmas as she loves nothing more than creating elaborate edible centrepieces such as her Gingerbread Cuckoo Clock to wow friends and family.
Amanda has clocked up experience in both digital and print working at brands including Olive, ASDA Good Living and Ocado becoming an expert food and recipe writer, reviewer and tester. At Future Plc Amanda has a busy schedule having taken on the health and Christmas specials. With a savoury tooth and discerning palate, Amanda enjoys testing the main categories, but secretly she loves a dessert with a novel twist, such as the Smash Nose Snowman Cheesecake from Tesco.
Georgia Sparks is Junior Food Writer, working across Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Chat and goodto.com. She's passionate about food and is most content knife and fork in hand around the table with family and friends. Georgia works within the Food Team at Future Plc where she can usually be found in the kitchen developing and testing recipes as well as assisting on shoots and writing food features.
Can you freeze Christmas cake?
Naked, un-iced Christmas cakes can be frozen. Simply wrap in clingfilm then freeze until you need or want the cake. Consider slicing it into small portions if you don’t think you’ll want the whole cake in the future. Defrost and then ice and decorate it or simply grab a fork and tuck in.
Iced Christmas cakes will last for two or three months as long as they are stored in a cool dark place. Once cut, store in a Tupperware or cake tin.
What to do with leftover Christmas cake
You’ve likely got a collection of your favourite savoury Christmas leftover recipes but people are often stumped when it comes to sweet festive treats. We’ve got plenty of ideas that will give your Christmas cake a new lease of life.
Make our no-churn vanilla ice cream recipe then fold in some crumbled Christmas cake for a wonderful frozen treat with warm, festive flavours. Blitz and fold into the filling for an easy cheesecake or pile into ramekins and make a festive twist on Eton Mess. Alternatively, why not use the cake as a base for your Christmas trifle? Layer up with cranberry jelly, spiced custard, and softly whipped cream.
What is the difference between fruit cake and Christmas cake?
The main difference between fruit cake and Christmas cake is the layer of marzipan below the icing. Regular fruit cakes tend not to have this addition, whereas most Christmas cakes do. Some may also say that Christmas cake has more fruit and booze in it than a regular fruit cake.
How long before Christmas can you buy a Christmas cake?
Christmas cakes have a long shelf life due to the high sugar content, we recommend that you keep a Christmas cake for up to 6 weeks. However, if you don’t think you’re going to finish it, wrap slices in baking paper and freeze.
Looking for more Christmas inspiration? Have a look at our best Christmas food hampers for 2023. As well as