Easy Christmas cake recipe

(2915 ratings)

Our easy Christmas cake takes 15 minutes to prep and uses mincemeat for a quick and delicious boost of flavour

easy christmas cake
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 mins (plus cooling time)
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories311 Kcal16%
Sugar40.5 g45%
Fat10 g14%
Saturated Fat2.8 g14%
Salt0.08 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein3.3 g7%
Carbohydrates50.6 g19%
Salt0.08 gRow 7 - Cell 2

This easy Christmas cake will make up to 21 servings and is under 320 calories a slice.

This Christmas cake recipe only has four steps in the method and can be baked three months before the big day so there’s no need for last-minute stress. You can eat the cake without decorations but we have lots of design inspiration for you to browse if you choose to top it with marzipan and icing.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g (10oz) plain flour
  • 250g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 250g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 410g jar of mincemeat
  • 500g (1lb) dried mixed fruit
  • 4 tbsp brandy




  1. Heat the oven to 140C (120C fan, Gas 1). Grease and line a 20cm (8in) round or 18cm (7in) square cake tin.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl, beat them lightly, and then stir in the flour, butter, sugar, mixed spice, mincemeat and dried mixed fruit. Add a pinch of salt and then transfer to the cake tin. With a wet hand, press the mixture into the tin and smooth on top, so that it's level.
  3. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 - 3.5 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes, then spoon over the brandy. Leave it to cool completely in the tin.
  5. Remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Wrap it in clean baking parchment and then foil, and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, until ready to cover with icing and decorate.

Watch how to make this easy Christmas cake

Top tips for making this easy Christmas cake recipe

You can freeze the cake as soon as it is cooled if you’d prefer. Wrap it tightly in cling film and then defrost the night before you want to decorate it. 

How long before Christmas should I make the cake?

It’s best to bake your Christmas cake 6-12 weeks before Christmas. To keep the sponge moist, ‘feed’ it weekly with alcohol: prick the cake all over with a fine skewer, before drizzling with a couple of spoons of your chosen liqueur. Make sure you wrap the cake well in greaseproof paper and tinfoil in between feedings, otherwise, you risk it drying out.

What is the best alcohol for Christmas cake?

Use a reasonably strong spirit (around 40% ABV), such as rum, brandy, or sherry. If the liquor has a warm, fiery flavour it'll definitely compliment the cake. Strong alcohol will also help to preserve the cake so it will keep for longer and you can enjoy every last slice.

Do you have to put alcohol on a Christmas cake?

Worried such a boozy cake will leave you tipsy? Remember the brandy or sherry is only going to add flavour – the actual amount of alcohol in each slice is unlikely to have much of an impact. But if you don’t fancy making such a strong cake for whatever reason, simply omit the alcohol and replace it with orange or grape juice. Just make sure to soak your dried fruit in juice overnight to avoid the cake being dry.

How long does a non-alcoholic Christmas cake last?

Without the alcohol to act as a preservative, a ‘virgin’ cake won’t last quite as long. Aim to finish the cake within a month of baking, and be sure to store it in an airtight container.

How should I decorate a Christmas cake?

Once you've mastered this recipe you can get decorating with your chosen topping, be it traditional fondant and marzipan or royal icing. If you're looking to keep it simple, don't decorate this cake at all – simply serve glazed in a light drizzle of honey, golden syrup, or warmed apricot jam.

This cake has an all-in-one method so it's important to choose a bowl that is big enough to combine all the ingredients. 

Mason Cash Ceramic Mixing Bowl, 4L, Green - View at John Lewis

Mason Cash Ceramic Mixing Bowl, 4L, Green - View at John Lewis

The bowl is made from a chip-resistant material and is heavy enough to not wobble around too much when you’re mixing big batches of dough or cake batter. The pattern on the exterior is also useful for helping you grip the bowl and we love the pale green colour.

If you have more time, consider making Mary Berry’s fruit cake. It takes a little longer to bake but the flavours will be worth it. We have loads of Christmas cake decorations you can explore if you decide to cover the cake with marzipan and icing. If you've never iced a cake before, read this guide on how to cover a cake with marzipan. We particularly love this Christmas tree cake design. We also have a guide on how to cook a Christmas cake in an air fryer.