38 Christmas cake ideas: Simple Christmas cake decorations and designs

From traditional Christmas cake decorations to quick and quirky fondant figures, get inspired with our easy Christmas cake ideas, recipes and designs...

One of our favourite Christmas cake ideas and designs with royal icing, fondant snowmen and candy canes

From traditional Christmas cake decorations to quirky fondant figures, our easy Christmas cake ideas, recipes, and designs are sure to inspire.

Once you've baked your favourite Christmas cake recipe (opens in new tab) it's time to get decorating. We've rounded up the best Christmas cake designs from snowmen to Christmas trees, from penguins to Frozen's Olaf, we've got plenty of easy cake decorating ideas (opens in new tab) for you to try at home.

"Decorating a Christmas cake is a lovely family tradition to start and you can have a lot of fun. Whether you choose to top the cake with iced gingerbread or to make decorations from fondant icing, the options are endless," says Senior Food Writer Jessica Ransom. "One of my favourite techniques is to use a cookie cutter to remove a portion of the icing. You then fill this with colourful sprinkles. It makes a little mess when cutting the cake but it's very simple and attractive on the eye."

The majority of these designs were created in Goodto's Test Kitchen by a range of qualified food experts. This includes an impressive Swan cake made by Deputy Food Editor, Rose Fooks. Rose has a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management so certainly knows a thing or two about impressive bakes. As well as a showstopping polar bear cake made by Bake Off The Professionals contestant Keiron George.

Christmas cake ideas and decorations

Mary Berry Christmas cake

Mary Berry Christmas cake

Make this sherry-infused classic Victorian Christmas cake at least 3 weeks in advance for the best taste. Mary Berry has topped her cake with royal icing which is easy to make. She's then used festive Christmas decorations to finish the look.

Get the recipe: Mary Berry's Christmas cake recipe (opens in new tab)

Easy Christmas cake recipe

Easy Christmas cake recipe

This easy Christmas cake recipe is the perfect base for your Christmas cake - simply cover with marzipan and icing, tie with a ribbon and you've got a quick Christmas cake design.

Get the recipe: Easy Christmas cake recipe (opens in new tab)

Gingerbread cake with brandy buttercream

Gingerbread cake

Top your Christmas cake with festive fruits including cranberries, dried apricots and orange peel. This three-tiered gingerbread cake will feed between 8-10 people.

Get the recipe: Gingerbread cake with brandy buttercream (opens in new tab)

Jolly Santa Christmas cake

Christmas cake ideas

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

A smiling Santa face is the perfect topping to your Christmas cake. Woman’s Weekly show you how with our easy step-by-step recipe using ready-to-roll fondant. A design the kids will love.

Get the recipe: Santa cake (opens in new tab)

Christmas present cake

Christmas present cake

Filled with pistachio, clementine, plenty of nuts and a dash of rum this quirk Christmas present cake is a delicious twist on a traditional fruit cake recipe. The design is simple to achieve at home with marbled fondant.

Get the recipe: Christmas present cake (opens in new tab)

Polar bear Christmas cake

Polar bear Chrstmas cake

The adorable polar bear Christmas cake is a real show-stopper. And, making those edible shards of ice is surprisingly easy using melted Fox’s Glacier Mints.

Get the recipe: Polar bear cake (opens in new tab)

Three trees Christmas cake

Three trees Christmas cake

Get the kids to help decorate your Christmas cake by choosing this simple design. Three trees complete with stars and baubles - you can't get more Christmassy than that.

Get the recipe: Christmas tree cake (opens in new tab)

Swan Christmas cake

Swan Christmas cake

Impress guest with this elegant swan cake, which is made with gingerbread, meringue, royal icing and spritz of sprinkling of glitter.

Get the recipe: Swan cake (opens in new tab)

Snowflake Christmas cake

Snowflake Christmas cake

This simple snowflake design is great for Christmas cake beginners. A classy finish to your cake using white sugar paste and snowflake cookie cutters.

Get the recipe: Snowflake Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Chocolate cake with tiramisu cream

Chocolate cake with tiramisu cream

With a light dusting of icing sugar, you can create an effective pattern in no time. We love this stunning chocolate cake with a light tiramisu cream - it's simple yet effective.

Get the the recipe: Chocolate cake with tiramisu cream

Malteser Christmas Pudding Cake

This Maltesers Christmas pudding cake is a great alternative if you don't like traditional Christmas cake but still want a showstopper.

Get the recipe: Maltesers Christmas pudding cake (opens in new tab)

Rudolph cake

Rudolph cake

Top your Christmas cake with this cute Rudolph design - the kids will love helping you decorate. Finish with Smarties to each of the reindeer's noses.

Get the recipe: Rudolph Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Christmas cake ideas: Christmas cake decorations

One of our favourite Christmas cake ideas and designs with royal icing, fondant snowmen and candy canes

Impress your friends and family with this delicious and vibrant coloured red velvet peppermint cake. This cake can be made in 35 minutes. We love the candy cane and fondant snowmen.

Get the recipe: Red velvet Peppermint cake (opens in new tab)

Igloo Christmas cake

Igloo Christmas cake

One from our friends at Woman's Weekly. If your kids aren't sure about eating fruit cake, see if you can tempt them with this fun igloo Christmas cake design. They could help make the penguins.

Get the recipe: Igloo Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Mini Christmas cakes

Mini Christmas cakes recipe

If you don't fancy making a large Christmas cake you could make these mini Christmas puds instead. They're really simple and delicious too.

Get the recipe: Mini Christmas cakes (opens in new tab)

Pick and mix chocolate and sweet cake

pick & mix chocolate and sweet cake

The kids are just going to love this pick and mix cake. Making it at Christmas time? Swap the regular chocolate for festive favourites instead including Ferrero Rochers, Quality Street and Roses mmm....

Get the recipe: Pick and mix chocolate and sweet cake (opens in new tab)

Modern Christmas cake

Modern Christmas cake

Now this looks really classy and impressive, but it's actually really simple. The pleats are all individual triangles of Royal Icing that you just layer around your shimmer Christmas cake. This definitely has the wow factor.

Get the recipe: Modern Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Red Velvet Christmas Cake

This delicious twist on Christmas cake is even gluten free. A really simple royal icing design with some festive Christmas trees.

Get the recipe: Red velvet Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Frozen Christmas cake

Frozen Christmas cake

Make a Frozen-inspired Christmas cake the kids will be in awe of with Victoria Threader's step by step recipe.

Get the recipe: Frozen-inspired Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Mary Berrys Victorian Christmas cake

Mary Berrys Victorian Christmas cake

Packed with dried fruits, nuts and sultanas and topped with glacé cherries and pineapple, we love this cake recipe from the Queen of Cakes. The decoration on this cake is so easy too just making sure you add plenty of fruits and nuts to the top of the cake when baking. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Get the recipe: Mary Berry's fruit cake (opens in new tab)

Stocking filler Christmas cake

Stocking filler Christmas cake

Feeling creative? Then this Christmas cake is for you. The stocking itself is simple to make and you can spend the time creating the little characters to go in the top of your stocking filler Christmas cake.

Get the recipe: Stocking filler Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Vegan Christmas cakes

Vegan Christmas cakes

These cute little parcels are a perfect way to serve Christmas cake at a party - they'd be lovely for party bags as well!

Get the recipe: Vegan Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Chocolate tiramisu cake

Chocolate tiramisu cake

Coffee, chocolate, Amaretto, double cream and mascarpone... What's not to love about this impressive cake? Topped with piped cream swirls.

Get the recipe: Chocolate tiramisu cake (opens in new tab)

Cranberry Christmas cake

Cranberry Christmas cake

This Woman's Weekly fruit cake is a brilliant base for lots of Christmas cake recipes and the step-by-step video recipe makes it really easy. With a quick fondant design.

Get the recipe: Cranberry Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

White chocolate and raspberry gateau

White chocolate and raspberry gateau

If you're looking for something really simple to whip for Christmas Day dessert, this festive cake is it. It may look professional, but it's actually really easy to make with hazelnuts, raspberries and a snow-like icing.

Get the recipe: White chocolate and raspberry gateau (opens in new tab)

Poinsettia design Christmas cake

Poinsettia design Christmas cake

If you want to impress this Christmas, follow Woman's Weekly cookery editor Sue McMahon as she makes this gorgeous cake in her step-by-step video recipe.

Get the recipe: Poinsettia Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Frances Quinn chocolate Christmas cake

Frances Quinn chocolate Christmas cake

This chocolate snowflake cake is made and decorated by Bake Off champion Frances Quinn. It's a simple design that is ideal for beginners.

Get the recipe: Frances Quinn's chocolate Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Ginger Christmas cake

Ginger Christmas cake

Soak the fruit in ginger wine for a couple of days to get the most out of this flavoursome Christmas cake.

Get the recipe: Organic boozy Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Dairy-free Christmas cake

Dairy-free Christmas cake

Crammed with rum-soaked fruit, this rich sweet Christmas cake is suitable for vegetarians and dairy- and gluten-free. We love the fruit and nut scattered on top of this cake for a simple yet effect design.

Get the recipe: Dairy-free Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Treacle bundt cake with limoncello drizzle

Treacle bundt cake with limoncello drizzle

One of our favourite Christmas cake ideas. This boozy bundt cake is the perfect Christmas cake alternative. Why not sprinkle with edible glitter to give it an extra festive feel?

Get the recipe: Treacle bundt cake with limoncello drizzle (opens in new tab)

Classic chic Christmas cake

Classic chic Christmas cake

Take one delicious fruit cake, some Royal Icing, an icing pen and a steady hand and create this classic chic Christmas cake. Perfect if you need to decorate your Christmas cake last-minute.

Get the recipe: Classic chic Christmas cake (opens in new tab)

Snow cake

Snow cake

Use our apricot and cranberry fruit cake recipe as the basis for this great Christmas cake from Woman's Weekly. Decorate with fondant figures for a truly impressive finish. Ideal for expert bakers and decorators.

Get the recipe: Snow much fun cake (opens in new tab)

Mini snowflake and gingerbread men squares

Mini snowflake and gingerbread men squares

How about whipping up some mini Christmas cakes this year? They'd make the perfect gifts. Ours are decorated with mini snowflakes and gingerbread men.

Get the recipe: Mini square Christmas cakes (opens in new tab)

Royal icing cake

Royal icing cake

Learn how to make royal icing with our simple step-by-step recipe. It creates the perfect effect to make your cake look like it's covered in snow.

Get the recipe: Royal icing cake (opens in new tab)

Christmas gift cake

Christmas gift cake

Don't be put off if this Woman's Weekly cake looks tricky - step-by-step icing instructions make it much easier. Plus you can freeze it (undecorated) 3 months in advance.

Get the recipe: Chocolate and almond parcel cake (opens in new tab)

Fondant Christmas cake decorations

Fondant Christmas cake decorations

Wrap your traditional Christmas cake in white fondant and marzipan and then decorate with your very own cake decorations. Learn how to make Rudolph, Santa and more with our step-by-step recipes.

Get the recipe: Fondant Christmas cake decorations (opens in new tab)

Top tips for decorating a Christmas cake

If you're at beginner level when it comes to decorating cakes, don't be afraid to use cake decorating tools to help you out!

A cake decorating turntable and icing smoother are the perfect utensils to help you achieve a perfectly polished look with your icing.

And if perfection is what you're looking for, you could also use an adjustable cake leveler, which allows you to trim off any raised lumps and bumps that your cake grew in the oven, for the perfect base for your Christmas decorating creations.

The last thing you want when decorating your Christmas cakes is for your fantastic icing sculpture of Rudolph to go skiing off the edge. If your decorations are made of fondant icing, an easy way to help them stick to your fondant-based cake is to dust them with a little water. This will activate the sugars in the icing and help it to stay stuck. You could also use a bit of frosting or buttercream to 'cement' them in place, just be careful not to use too much or it might escape and be visible underneath.

Jessica Dady
Jessica Dady

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at Goodto.com and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.