Best Christmas cake 2022: The best Christmas cake to buy this year
From Waitrose to M&S, here are the best Christmas cakes for 2022 that have been tried and tested by a panel of food experts...
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From classic iced Christmas cakes to chocolatey alternatives, our team of experts has narrowed down the best Christmas cakes for 2022 from Waitrose to M&S.
Christmas cake is one of the most popular buys 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 (opens in new tab) 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 supermarket favourites to the test include; Group Food Director Jen Bedloe (opens in new tab), Food Editor Jess Meyer (opens in new tab), Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks (opens in new tab), Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom (opens in new tab), and Junior Food Writer Georgia Sparks (opens in new tab). 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, flavor, and appearance. A number of supermarkets and stockists entered the awards including Tesco, Co-op, and Patisserie Valerie.
These products all scored highly during our blind taste tests for the woman&home Festive Food Awards (opens in new tab).
Where to buy Christmas cakes for 2022
- Waitrose & Partners: From festive cupcakes to classic iced fruit cake - a great variety (opens in new tab)
- M&S: Book a slot and start shopping all things Christmas food with M&S (opens in new tab)
- Morrisons: Budget Christmas cakes for those looking to cut costs this year (opens in new tab)
Best Christmas cakes to buy online
Why you can trust GoodTo Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
1. Waitrose & Partners No.1 Rich Fruit Cake, 1.5kg - View at Waitrose (opens in new tab)
Best traditional iced Christmas cake
RRP: £18.50 | Delivery: Book a slot or buy in-store | Available: Order now from Waitrose
The chic, simple design of this cake won over our judges but the flavours impressed too. From the subtle shimmer to the dainty iced pine cone decorations, this cake looks festive without overdoing it with the usual stars and snowflakes. Flavour-wise, expect flavours of orange, treacle and ginger and a moist, fruit-filled texture.
Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: "It’s everything you want from a Christmas cake. There’s a nice even ratio of icing to marzipan. The generous fruit helps give the cake crumb good structure for a satisfying mouthfeel."
- Waitrose & Partners No.1 Rich Fruit Cake - £18.50 - Waitrose (opens in new tab)
2. M&S Collections Jewelled Fruit & Nut Cake, 755g - View at M&S (opens in new tab)
Best Christmas cake with nuts
RRP: £20 | Delivery: Book a slot or buy in-store | Available: Order now from Ocado
Small but mighty, this cake is the ideal treat for those who adore Christmas cake but don’t want to be left with lots of leftovers. The top is generously decorated with large pieces of fruit and nuts including cherries, pecans, pistachios, and almonds. It also has an attractive shiny glaze which makes it look decadent and luxurious. Judges enjoyed the subtle citrus flavours coming through from the clementine marzipan.
Food Editor Jess Meyer says: "The flavour of this cake is dominated by fruit and nuts, with very little boozy flavour coming through. This is perfect for those who sometimes find the alcohol in Christmas cakes overwhelming. Plus, the tin can be reused for future cakes and bakes. It’s perfect if you’ve made some edible gifts but you’re not sure how to package them up."
- M&S Collections Jewelled Fruit & Nut Cake - £20 - Ocado (opens in new tab)
3. Patisserie Valerie Madame Valerie Gateau, serves 20 - View at Patisserie Valerie (opens in new tab)
Best alternative Christmas cake for big parties
RRP: £54.95 | Delivery: Next day delivery available | Available: Order now from Patisserie Valerie
This decadent bake has a lot going on but we think it will be a big hit with chocolate lovers. This cake is all about the over-the-top chocolate flavours and I’m into it. The caramel layers on the inside remind me of the nostalgic flavours of Angel Delight and the golden decoration gives the overall cake design a classy finish.
Group Food Director Jen Bedloe says: "This cake is incredible. The flavours are fab and I love the fresh cream filling. It looks a little like a wedding cake because it’s so spectacular but it has wonderful festive decorations. You only need a small slice as it tastes so rich and chocolatey but it’s perfect for big celebrations and would easily serve 20 or more."
- Patisserie Valerie Madame Valerie Gateau - £54.95 - Patisserie Valerie (opens in new tab)
4. Co-op Irresistible Belgian Chocolate Orange Wreath Cake, 739g
Best alternative Christmas cake
RRP: £9 | Delivery: Available in store only | Available: Buy now in store
Judges thoroughly enjoyed this gorgeous, rich option from Co-op which is made from Fairtrade cocoa and is better for smaller gatherings compared to the Madame Valerie Gateau. Plus, those who love the combination of chocolate and orange will be delighted with this cake. An orange-flavoured milk chocolate ganache buttercream covers layers of moist chocolate sponge and a clementine filling. The cake is decorated with chocolate curls, needles, and crispy rice balls.
Group Food Director Jen Bedloe says: "The texture is a little drier compared to the gateaux but overall the balance is satisfying. The icing is glossy and attractive and the orange flavour is subtle but pleasant."
5. Tesco Finest Snowdrift Fruitcake - View at Tesco (opens in new tab)
Best budget Christmas cake
RRP: £12| Delivery: Book a slot | Available: Coming soon
There are big pieces of fruit such as cherries in the sponge which I enjoyed. The layers of icing and marzipan are well-balanced and contribute to a satisfying overall mouthfeel.
Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: "The vine fruit flavours really shine through in this cake and it has a wonderfully moist texture. The design is simple but effective and would make a lovely addition to any Christmas table. There is a good ratio of icing and marzipan and a good distribution of fruit and nuts in the cake sponge."
- Tesco Finest Snowdrift Fruitcake - £12 - Tesco (opens in new tab)
6. Morrisons The Best Fully Iced Christmas Cake, 900g - View at Morrisons (opens in new tab)
Runner up: The best budget Christmas cake
RRP: £10 | Delivery: Book a slot or buy in-store | Available: Order now from Morrisons
We were impressed with the even layers of icing and marzipan in this cake and said the snowflake design was attractive and suitably festive. The cake contains a mix of the usual vine fruits as well as glace cherries and some orange zest. It is matured with Cognac but the flavours are well balanced and the booze isn’t overpowering the other spices and flavours.
Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: "A wonderful spiced nutmeg aroma and classy minimal design. I like the contemporary ice blue ribbon and the presentation board is perfect for taking straight to the table. There is a good distribution of fruit and the marzipan has an intensely nutty flavour which I adore."
- Morrisons The Best Fully Iced Christmas Cake - £10 - Morrisons (opens in new tab)
7. M&S Helter Skelter Christmas Cake - View at M&S (opens in new tab)
Best Christmas cake for kids
RRP: £25 | Delivery: Book a slot or buy in-store from 18th December | Available: Pre-order from M&S
This light Madeira sponge cake will mesmerise children and will impress adults too. The cake is filled with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream which is pleasant but the appeal of this cake is all in the design. On top of the cake is a white chocolate helter-skelter dome. The came comes with some edible snowballs which children will love watching as they tumble down the cake. Then, once you lift off the dome there is a magical festive wonderland hiding beneath with an adorable edible penguin and chocolate snowflakes.
Group Food Director Jen Bedloe says: "This cake has a classic, satisfying flavours which a perfect for anyone who despises traditional fruit cakes at Christmas. There’s plenty of buttercreams to ensure the cake is nice and moist and the design is of course, very cute!"
- M&S Helter Skelter Cake - £25 - M&S (opens in new tab)
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. They comment on the appearance, flavour, and texture of the cake and give it a score from one to five. One is poor and five is exceptional. Only products which scored three and above have been included in this roundup.
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...
Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. She has a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Career highlights have included interviewing the wonderful Mary Berry and working on Truth, Love and Clean Cutlery; a guidebook of sustainable restaurants in the UK.
An enthusiastic, self-taught cook Jess adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits. Career highlights for Jessica include chatting to one of her favourite food writers and chefs Sabrina Ghayour for an interview in Country Homes and Interiors and having the opportunity to meet the legendary Michel Roux Jr. and Raymond Blanc
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 and 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 the Group Food Editor at Future PLC, working across brands in the woman’s lifestyle group, including Woman and 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.
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?
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.
Naked, uniced 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.
What to do with leftover Christmas cake
You’ve likely got a collection of your favourite savoury Christmas leftover recipes (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) or pile into ramekins and make a festive twist on Eton Mess (opens in new tab). Alternatively, why not use the cake as a base for your Christmas trifle (opens in new tab)? Layer up with cranberry jelly, spiced custard, and softly whipped cream.
Video of the Week
Jessica currently works as a Senior Food Writer at Future. She writes food and drink-related news stories and features, curates product pages, tests, and reviews equipment, and also develops recipes that she styles on food shoots. An enthusiastic, self-taught cook Jess adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.
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