Mary Berry's Christmas fruit cake recipe

(3067 ratings)

Mary Berry's Christmas fruit cake is packed with luxury dried fruit, ground almonds, and nuts and a twist of pineapple. Bakes in just 2 hours 15 mins.

Mary Berry's Christmas fruit cake
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time2 hours 15 mins
Total Time2 hours 30 mins (plus 30 mins cooling time)
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories746 Kcal37%
Sugar74 g82%
Fat29 g41%
Salt0.7 gRow 3 - Cell 2
Protein10 g20%
Carbohydrates112 g43%
Salt0.7 gRow 6 - Cell 2

The queen of cakes shows you how easy it is to knock up a beautiful Christmas fruit cake, packed with luxury dried fruit, ground almonds, and nuts, and a twist of pineapple.

This recipe is speedier than Mary Berry’s classic Christmas cake recipe, requiring just two and a quarter hours to bake. But it still should be some weeks in advance to allow time to mature. Cut the cake too soon and you risk a crumbly texture. This cake has a lighter, more golden sponge than many traditional Christmas fruit cakes, so it suits being left uniced, and simply topped with almonds and glacé fruit. However, if you prefer a classic iced cake, simply cover the fruitcake with marzipan and fondant icing or royal icing once it’s fully matured.


  • 350g (12 oz) red or natural glacé cherries
  • 225 g (8 oz) can of pineapple in natural juice
  • 350 g (12 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots
  • 100 g (4 oz) blanched almonds (skins removed)
  • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 350 g (12 oz) sultanas
  • 250 g (9 oz) self-raising flour
  • 250 g (9 oz) caster sugar
  • 250 g (9 oz) softened butter
  • 75 g (3 oz) ground almonds
  • 5 large eggs

To decorate:

  • Blanched almonds
  • Red or natural glacé cherries
  • Glacé pineapple (available from health-food shops)
  • 100 g (4 oz) sifted icing sugar




  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan/140°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 23 cm (9 in) deep round cake tin then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water then drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry the pineapple and cherries very thoroughly on kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix together.
  3. Measure the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for 1 min until smooth. Lightly fold in the fruit and nuts then turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched whole almonds, halved glacé cherries and pieces of glacé pineapple.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 2¼ hours or until golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Cover the cake loosely with foil after 1 hour to prevent the top becoming too dark.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 mins then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Mix the icing sugar with a little water, and drizzle over the cake to glaze.

Top tips for preparing Mary Berry's fruit cake recipe

How far in advance should you make Christmas cake?

For a traditional rich sponge cake with alcohol, about 2-3 months in advance is ideal, giving the cake plenty of time to settle and mellow. You can 'feed' it regularly in this time by prodding a few holes in the top with a skewer and pouring a teaspoon of brandy over the top. However, this cake with its lighter, golden crumb, suits being make 2-3 weeks in advance.

How do I tell when my cake is ready?

Around the end of the cooking time, remove the cake from the oven and gently press on the top. It should feel nicely firm and springy. Take a clean skewer or knife and push it into the middle of the cake at a slight angle. Try to push it in somewhere where there is a natural crack in the top of the cake, to preserve the look of the cake. Leave it for a few seconds then pull it out again. If the knife looks clean, the cake is ready. If it has clear smears of batter on it, cover the cake with foil or parchment paper to prevent further browning and pop it back in the oven.

Why does the top of my fruit cake crack?

The oven temperature is too high, causing the top of the cake to be ready before the middle has finished cooking, so the middle tries to push through later. Even if your oven is at the 'right' temperature according to the dial, some ovens run hot, so check the real temperature with an oven thermometer.

How can I make the top of the cake look more glossy and beautiful?

Try glazing the fruitcake with a generous brushing of warmed apricot jam.

Please note, nutritional info is per person based on this cake serving an average of 10 people.

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Mary Berry
Celebrity baker

Mary Berry CBE is one of the most loved celebrity chefs in the country. In her early 80s, she’s been on our screens showing us how to make the most delicious recipes and sweet treats for over 50 years! Mary is probably most famous for being one of the original judges on The Great British Bake Off, where she put contestants through their paces for nine years before leaving the show when it made its controversial move from the BBC to Channel Four.