Mary Berry’s classic Christmas cake recipe

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  • Vegetarian
serves: 12 - 15
Skill: medium
Cost: mid
Prep: 30 min
Cooking: 4 hr
(may need an extra 15 mins)

Nutrition per portion

Calories 884 kCal 44%
Fat 31g 44%
Carbohydrates 142g 44%
  -  of which Sugars 117g 130%
Protein 10g 20%
Salt 0.6g 10%
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  • Mary Berry's classic Christmas cake recipe is a traditional recipe you'll want to make time and time again. You can make Mary Berry's Christmas cake well ahead of the big day - in fact, the longer you leave it, the better it will taste!

    Mary Berry’s Christmas cake recipe will be the talk of your Christmas Day meal or party. Made with fruits including currants, raisins and cherries and soaked with rich sherry, the sponge is fruity and moist.

    Serve this festive cake with a dollop of brandy butter for a real Christmassy experience. This recipe makes a foolproof Christmas cake every time. Mary Berry’s classic Christmas cake recipe also shows you how to decorate this traditional cake in a simple, yet impressive way.

    Mary Berry’s well baked fruit cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped thoroughly in foil or a plastic bag to stop the cake from drying out, for up to 6 months after opening but we’d recommend eating sooner for the best taste. The whole family are going to love tucking into this Christmas cake!

    Love this recipe? We’ve got loads more lovely recipe ideas from Mary Berry. Not sure how to decorate your Christmas cake? Our simple Christmas cake decorating ideas are sure to inspire!

    Please note, nutritional info is per person based on this cake being divided by 15 people equally. The nutritional values also include the icing, almond paste and jam used to decorate this Christmas cake.

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    • 175g (6 oz) raisins
    • 350g (12 oz) glace cherries, rinsed, thoroughly dried and quartered
    • 500g (1lb 2oz) currants
    • 350g (12oz) sultanas
    • 150ml (¼ pint) sherry, plus extra for feeding
    • Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
    • 250g (9oz) butter, softened
    • 250g (9oz) light muscovado sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tbsp black treacle
    • 75g (3oz) blanched almonds, chopped
    • 75g (3oz) self-raising flour
    • 175g (6oz) plain flour
    • 1½ tsp mixed spice
    • To finish and decorate Mary Berry's Christmas cake you will need:
    • About 3tbsp apricot jam, sieved and warmed
    • Icing sugar
    • 675g shop-bought almond paste
    • Packet royal icing mix to cover 23cm/9in cake


    • Put all the dried fruit in a container, pour over the sherry and stir in the orange zest. Cover with a lid, and leave to soak for 3 days, stirring daily. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) deep round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 140C, 120C fan, gas 1.

    • Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, treacle and almonds into a very large bowl and beat well. Add the flours and mixed spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

    • Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 4-4½ hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours, and, if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

    • When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra sherry. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, feeding at intervals with more sherry. (Don’t remove the lining paper when storing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)

    • Decorate with almond paste and royal icing.

    Top tip for making Mary Berry’s classic Christmas cake

    You should make this cake at least three weeks ahead of Christmas, for if eaten too early it's crumbly. If you don't want to use alcohol, use the same quantity of orange juice. Instead of covering with icing, you could brush warmed apricot jam over the cake, then arrange glace fruits and nuts on top.

    A boozy Christmas cake isn't everybody's cup of tea and definitely not one for the entire family! Instead of your usual liquour such as brandy, grape juice is a good alternative!

    If you're looking to make a lighter coloured fruit cake, orange or apple juice are also good choices to achieve that result. Just make sure to soak your dried fruit overnight in a glass bowl if you're choosing to make a non-alcoholic Christmas cake to avoid the cake being too dry.

    When boozing up a Christmas cake you want to know that it's only going to add to the flavour, rather than leaving you feeling a little tipsy! You want to add in a reasonably strong spirit (around 40% ABV), such as rum, brandy or whisky.

    If the liquor has a warm, fiery flavour it'll definitely compliment the cake. A strong alcohol will also help to preserve the cake so it will keep for longer and you can enjoy every last slice!

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