A fruit cake covered in white icing with a slice taken out of it

Make-ahead Christmas cake

  • 12
  • A little effort

Get ahead with your Christmas baking and rustle up our gently spiced, orange and ginger wine-spiked fruit cake

Try our Christmas cake recipe then check out our Christmas pudding, mince pies and more Christmas baking recipes.

Fill any holes and dips in the Christmas cake with extra marzipan before you cover it with the marzipan layer.

How to store your Christmas cake

This make-ahead Christmas cake will keep up to three weeks if stored in an air-tight container in a cool place. Otherwise wrap the un-iced cake in airtight wrapping and store in the freezer for up to six months, then defrost thoroughly before icing. 



  • currants, sultanas and raisins 600g
  • glacé cherries 100g
  • mixed peel 50g, chop a couple of whole pieces if you can
  • glacé ginger or crystallised ginger 50g, roughly chopped
  • glacé or diced pineapple 100g, roughly chopped
  • Cointreau or Grand Marnier 60ml
  • ginger wine 60ml
  • Angostura bitters 2 tbsp, the orange version is good
  • light muscovado sugar 225g
  • butter 250g, softened
  • plain flour 225g
  • ground ginger 1tsp
  • nutmeg ¼ of a whole one, grated

  • cinnamon 1 tsp

  • vanilla extract 1 tbsp
  • whole blanched almonds 100g
  • eggs 4
  • orange 1, zested


  • apricot jam 2 tbsp, mixed with 1 tbsp water and sieved
  • marzipan 500g
  • corn flour for rolling
  • vodka 4 tbsp
  • ready-roll fondant icing 500g


  • Step 1

    Soak the dried and glacé fruit in the alcohol and Angostura bitters for up to 2 days.

  • Step 2

    Heat the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1. Line an 18cm square or 20cm round cake tin with 2 layers of baking parchment. Beat the sugar and butter together then sift in the flour and spices and mix briefly. Add the vanilla, almonds, eggs, orange zest and the fruit and alcohol mix and stir together. Spoon into the tin and make a dip in the centre with the back of a spoon so that when the cake rises in the middle you get a at top. Bake for 3-31/2 hours then cool in the tin in the oven.

  • Step 3

    Peel off the paper and brush off any crumbs, then brush the top with the jam. Roll out the marzipan on a work surface dusted with corn flour until it is big enough to cover the cake. Lift it over the cake using a rolling pin and smooth down all the way around. Trim any excess. Brush with vodka then roll out the icing and cover in the same way. Trim the icing around the edges and neaten. Roll out the icing off-cuts and cut out different sized stars, brush with a little vodka and stick to the cake. Finish with a ribbon.

Check out our best Christmas baking recipes

Christmas Cake Recipe with Almond Buttercream

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 924
  • Fat 29.9g
  • Saturates 12.4g
  • Carbs 156.2g
  • Fibre 3.4g
  • Protein 10.5g
  • Salt 0.57g