Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe

Every year people look for a Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe - one that they know will result in a delicious cake they can be proud to say they made. This recipe is one of those! It's an old favourite and I've also included the recipe for making your own marzipan, and of course royal icing. Over the years I've made this particular traditional Christmas cake recipe many times, and it really does produce a rich moist fruit cake that will delight all your guests.

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Although habits and customs change over the years, a traditional Christmas cake recipe is still very much part of a good Scottish Christmas tradition. Of course like many counties, food in Scotland is a central part of some of our customs, and the Christmas meal is no exception. Starters often change, but many people still chose the traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings for the main course. However, other people like to vary it by cooking roast venison, roast lamb, beef or pork. Others might choose to serve goose or perhaps fish such as salmon if they are not big meat eaters. The traditional dessert is still Christmas Pudding, but again some people choose the other rich fruit pudding known as Clootie Dumpling, or the lighter desserts such as Tipsy Laird, or Crannachan, (both made with raspberries, whisky and cream). But Christmas Cake and mince pies are served later in the day, and this traditional Christmas cake recipe will be enjoyed by everyone.

Tradional Christms Cake - slices of cake

This version of the traditional Christmas Cake Recipe will certainly be a hit with your guests. The cake itself should be made at least 6 weeks prior to Christmas, and the marzipan can be made a few weeks after that and then iced a week or two before Christmas. So if you are expecting a busy Christmas, then this can be one task done in advance. I do hope you enjoy this traditional Christmas Cake Recipe.

Traditional Christmas Cake with rich fruit.

Tradtional Christmas Cake Recipe

The Cake


10 oz plain flour
Pinch salt
½ baking powder
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 lb mixed fruit
½ lb glace cherries
½ lb currants
12 oz sultanas
4 oz chopped almonds
½ lb softened butter
½ lb soft dark sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 lemon (juice and grated rind)
1 tbs black treacle
3 tbs brandy
A little milk (if necessary)


  • Sift the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl
  • Stir in the baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice.
  • Add the dried fruit, currants, sultanas, glace cherries and nuts.
  • In another mixing bowl cream the sugar and butter together until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, a little at a time.
  • Fold in half the flour & fruit mixture a bit at a time.
  • Mix in the lemon rind and juice, treacle and brandy.
  • Stir all together until well-mixed.
  • Add a wee bit milk if it seems too dry.
  • Spoon the mixture into a deep tin (about 8" or 9" round or square) which has been been double-lined with well-greased greaseproof paper.
  • Make a slight indentation in the centre of the mixture.
  • Bake in a cook oven (150°C/300°F/Gas 2) for 1 hour.
  • Reduce heat to 140°F/275°C/Gas 1) and continue baking fora further 3 - 3½ hrs.
  • Test if cake is cooked by gently inserting a thin skewer in the centre - if it comes out 'clean' - then it is cooked.
  • Cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper if it becomes too brown during baking.
  • When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire tray.
  • Carefully peel off paper.

Tradtional Christmas Cake Recipe
The Marzipan (Almond Paste)


½ lb ground almonds
½ lb sifted icing sugar
½ lb castor sugar
1 beaten egg
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp almond essence
4 tbs sieved apricot jam


  • Thoroughly mix together the almonds, icing sugar, castor sugar.
  • Beat in the egg, lemon juice, vanilla and almond essences until the paste is soft but not sticky
  • Turn on to a board sprinkled with icing sugar and knead the paste lightly until smooth.
  • Use immediately or wrap in clingfilm until ready for use.
  • Divide the paste into 2.
  • Roll out 1 half into 8" or 9" round or square to match the cake.
  • Brush the top of the cake with the sieved jam.
  • Place the cake upside down on the marzipan round or square and press down firmly.
  • Roll the remaining marzipan in a strip wide enough to go round the sides of the cake.
  • Cut in half for a round cake, divide into 4 for a square one.
  • Brush the sides of the cake with the jam.
  • Press the marzipan into the cake ensuring each piece joins with the other neatly.
  • Leave to dry for 2 - 3 days.

Tradtional Christmas Cake Recipe
The Icing


2 egg whites
1 lb sifted icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp glycerine (optional - this creates a 'softer' icing if preferred)


  • Beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until frothy.
  • Gradually beat in the icing sugar until it is completely mixed and the icing is stiff, standing in peaks.
  • Beat thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps.
  • Beat in the lemon juice and glycerine (if using).
  • Use immediately or cover with polythene (or damp cloth)

To ice this traditional Christmas cake recipe with 'snow' effects.
  • Place cake on a cake board and place icing on top.
  • Spread icing all over top and sides.
  • Using a palette knife, pull parts of the icing up using sharp and short movements.
  • Do this all over the cake to create the traditional 'snow' effect.
  • Decorate with Christmas cake ornaments.

To 'flat' ice the cake
  • Leave some icing aside to make any edible decorations (eg berries, bells etc)
  • Place cake on a cake board and put three quarters of the remainder on top (cover remaining with cloth/polythene as above)
  • Using an 'icing' ruler or palette knife, spread the icing lightly over the top, backwards and forwards.
  • Continue doing this until any air bubbles are out of the icing and the icing is looking flat.
  • When it's looking smooth, draw the ruler across the top in one steady movement.
  • Take off any icing that got on the sides and put back in the bowl with the rest and keep covered.
  • Allow the top icing to set before icing the sides.
  • Put the remaining icing on the sides and in the same way - use the ruler or palette knife to smooth it out and join the icing together.
  • Decorate creative using some of the icing you left aside at the beginning or any left marzipan you might have left over.

So, there you have it - my favourite traditional Christmas Cake Recipe!! Enjoy it!

If you've enjoyed this page, 'Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe' - check out some of the other Scottish recipes.
Mothers' Day - Look at some of the Scottish Traditions at Mothers' Day as well as a simple menu of Cottage Pie,followed by Rhubarb Crumble and Custard.
Easter Sunday Menu - Have a look at the recipes I've chosen for Easter Sunday - Cream of Carrot & Coriander Soup, Roast Lamb, followed by profiteroles.
Valentine's Meal - Try the recipes I've chosen for Valentine's Day - starting with Smoked Salmon Mousse followed by Steak in a Whisky and Pepper Sauce, and finishing with a delicious Chocolate Cream.
Burns Supper - Look at how this is celebrated and try out the traditional menu of haggis, neeps and tatties.
Tipsy Laird - This delicious whisky trifle (similar to sherry trifle) is traditionally served at a Burns Supper.
Black Bun - This is traditionally served at Hogmanay when bringing in the New Year.
Clootie Dumpling - This rich and traditional dish is a favourite all year round but especially at Christmas time.
Christmas Pudding - Like the traditional Christmas Cake Recipe, this traditional pudding is usually served on Christmas day throughout the UK as well as Scotland.
Black Bun - This is traditionally served at Hogmanay when bringing in the New Year.
Cullen Skink - This famous fish soup is made with smoked haddock.
Trout in oatmeal - This traditional and famous dish made with local ingredients.
Roast Turkey - This simple recipe will be ideal for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Roast Venison - Make Christmas, Thanksgiving or other celebration special by serving roast venison to your guests.

Best Scone Recipes - Try the plain, fruit or the cheese scones.
Famous Shortbread Recipes - Have a look at some variations of shortbread recipes.
Haggis - Try this world-famous dish.
Pretend Haggis - If you can't face the 'real' thing, try this easy-to-make pretend haggis recipe.
Forfar Bridie - Try this filling meat 'pastie'.
Raspberry Recipes - See what you can do with a punnet of delicious raspberries, including the famous dessert, Crannachan.
Scotch Broth - See the recipe for hearty Scotch Broth.
Scotch Eggs - A simple recipe for you to try. Can be served hot or cold.
Scotch Pancakes - A quick, inexpensive treat for your guests.
Potato Scones - Serve Potato (or tattie) scone as part of the traditional Scottish Breakfast.
Tablet - Indulge in this delicious, but sweet Scottish confectionery.
Scottish Leek Soup Recipes - Try these two famous Scottish Leek Soup Recipes.
Scottish Lorne Sausages - Try this everyday dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Scotch Pies - This Traditional pie is made with mutton or lamb.
Porridge - Try a bowl of this famous Scottish breakfast dish.
Savoury Mince Pie - This delicious but simple pie is served in households across Scotland.
Salmon Patties - A variation on the Fish Cake - but using Scottish oats.
Traditional Fish and Chips in Batter. - If you're visiting Scotland - do try this from a good Fish and Chip Shop. But if you want to make it yourself, here's the recipe. Serve with 'mushy' peas.
Stovies - Try this simple, everyday dish, can be made with lamb, corned beef or even sausages.

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