This Small Christmas Cake is packed with a variety of different fruits, nuts and mellow Christmas spices. It is deliciously soft and moist and will keep well without the need for being "fed".
This is the best Christmas Cake I have ever made, and I have been making a Christmas Cake annually since I was 13 years old!
I wasn't going to add this cake to the blog because it was made from whatever fruits and nuts I foraged from deep within my cupboards and really only started out as just a cake for me for Christmas. But, because I am just smitten with it, I've decided it deserves its own blog spot in which to shine.
This recipe is for a 7 inch Christmas Cake, however, just use the toggle button in the recipe card if you want to alter the quantities for a bigger or smaller cake.
The recipe is totally versatile and you can change the ingredients to fit with what you like or what you have available. See below in "Ingredients" for more information regards the substitutions you can make.
I hope you like it, I have managed to eat my way through the first one already 🤭 so I am already planning Christmas Cake take two!
Enjoy and do give me a little feedback in the comments below if you can as I'd love to know how y'all get on, especially your fruit and nut combination changes if you make them!
No time? Want an easy, quick mince pie recipe? Then try my
Puff Pastry Mince Pies
Why Make this Small Christmas Cake?
Lots of different textures and flavours ✔️
Plentiful variety of fruits and nuts ✔️
Soft and moist cake ✔️
Smaller-family-friendly-sized 7 inch Christmas Cake ✔️
No need to feed, unless you want to! ✔️
No need to make weeks in advance! ✔️
So, the beauty of this cake is you can change the ingredients easily.
The key rule is to just keep to the same quantities as per the original recipe to ensure the Christmas Cake remains soft and moist.
Below I list the ingredients I used when making this 7" Christmas Cake and the substitutions you can make if you want to.
One thing to bear in mind though is to try to keep to a variety of fruits and nuts, it just makes for a far more interesting fruit cake!
Below are some suggestions for substitutions. Substitute for the same weight as listed in the recipe, for example, if using a bag of mixed fruit instead of raisins/currants/sultanas use 405 grams.
Raisins, Currants and Sultanas
Bag of mixed fruit or whatever raisins/currants/sultanas you have, but try to ensure the ratio of raisins/currants together is about 65% with the other 35% being made up of sultanas, as raisins/currants are key ingredients of fruit cake.
Apricots and Prunes
You can use more apricots than prunes or vice versa.
Or replace partly or entirely with dried raisins/currants/sultanas/cranberries/apricots/prunes/dates/figs as these will work just as well.
If you don't want to add cranberries just increase the amount of raisins/currants by 30 grams.
Walnuts and almonds
You can use change the ratio of walnuts to almonds and use more of one than the other, or use Chopped nuts/pecan nuts or a combination of any.
Morello glace cherries
Replace with glace cherries or leave out entirely if you so wish. If leaving out I recommend you increase the quantity of prunes you add, or replace with half prunes and half ready to eat dates or figs, chopped.
Dark muscovado sugar
You can replace with light muscovado sugar, dark brown sugar or light brown soft sugar.
Can be replaced with the same amount of golden syrup or 1 tablespoon of honey.
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
In the UK you can replace all of these spices with 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice. Don't be tempted to increase individual spices to compensate for each other though as it will affect the flavour of your Christmas Cake, instead best to leave it out entirely if you don't have them.
You can replace with a tablespoon of grated dark chocolate. We melt the chocolate with our butter so this stops it from setting, or omit entirely and add an extra tablespoon of flour.
You can use salted butter but omit the pinch of salt.
Can be replaced with the juice from a whole orange. Orange zest can be replaced with lemon zest.
Can be replaced with the same amount of Sherry or Port or with 2 teaspoons of Amaretto or Cointreau.
Can be replaced with a covering of blanched almonds.
See end of post RECIPE CARD for precise quantities and instructions.
The most time-consuming element of making this 7 inch Christmas Cake is preparing your ingredients. Then it is a case of just mixing and baking.
- Firstly, prepare your baking tin. Grease the whole of your tin with butter and then cut out a circle the size of the base of your tin. Cut out two long strips to go around the sides of the tin. Fold the paper over on the long side by about 1.5 inches, then snip it at every inch and place into Place into your tin and then place your circle onto the base.
- To prepare your fruit add your currants, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, apricots, butter, sugar, treacle, satsuma juice and zest, cocoa, water and spices into your large saucepan and heat on a low setting.
- Once your butter has melted, turn up the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, this rehydrates the fruit so that they are all plumped up.
- Then leave the fruit mixture to cool entirely before moving to the next stage.
- Once cooled, stir in your prunes, cherries, brandy and nuts.
- Beat your eggs lightly and sift your flour, salt and bicarbonate (baking soda) together.
- Then, add your beaten egg along with some flour and fold in, before folding in the rest of your flour. We fold rather than mix in order to keep as much air in the cake batter as possible.
- Bake in your prepared tin for about 1 hour 25 minutes. As this is a moist cake, a skewer inserted into the centre should come out with a few fudgey bits of cake stuck to it.
- Dried fruits often stick together in clumps therefore ensure that they are separated before using.
- You don't need to feed this cake, but if you want it to be a bit more boozy simply prick the base of the cake with a skewer and paint over 1 tablespoon of brandy each week using a pastry brush. We prick the base because it doesn't have a hard crust, so the brandy will soak in. I recommend only doing this for a max of 4-6 weeks otherwise your cake can become a bit too heavy and solid. Ensure you wrap and store your cake properly (see "Storage" section) in between feeding.
You can make this Christmas Cake and store it for a month or so until Christmas. To do so wrap it in a layer of greaseproof paper and then in a layer of foil, to ensure that it remains fully airtight.
Did you try this recipe? Please do leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the Recipe Card at the end of this post if you can. Thank you.
You need to allow the marzipan to dry before icing the cake. Therefore cover in marzipan and then cover in a layer of greaseproof (parchment) paper and then a layer of foil and put away in an airtight container for a week. Then you can ice your cake. Ice your cake 24 hours before you intend to consume it.
Small Christmas Cake
- Greaseproof (parchment) paper
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Small whisk (or fork)
Christmas Cake Stage 1
- 80 g Raisins (US = ¾ Cup)
- 175 g Currants (US = 1 Cup)
- 150 g Sultanas (US = 1 Cup)
- 30 g Dried cranberries (3 tablespoons)
- 25 g Dried Apricots (3 tablespoons)
- 125 g Unsalted butter (US = ½ Cup)
- 130 g Dark muscovado sugar (US = ¾ Cup packed) or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon Dark treacle (US = molasses)
- 3 tablespoon satsumas juice plus zest
- 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- 100 ml Cold water
Christmas Cake Stage 2
- 50 g Prunes (ready to eat) (US = ⅔ Cup)
- 100 g Morello cherries (glace) halved and rolled in flour (US = ⅔ Cup)
- 30 ml Brandy (2 tablespoons)
- 25 g Whole almonds chopped (2 tablespoons)
- 25 g Walnuts chopped (2 tablespoons)
Christmas Cake Stage 3
- 2 Large eggs at room temperature and beaten (US = Extra large)
- 150 g Plain flour (US = 1 Cup- + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda (US = baking soda)
- pinch salt
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle of top (optional)
Christmad Cake Stage 1
- Take your large saucepan and add all your Stage 1 ingredients.
- Heat on a low setting until your butter has melted, then turn up the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely.
Christmas Cake Stage 2
- Once your Stage 1 mixture has cooled add all of your Stage 2 ingredients and mix together thoroughly.
Christmas Cake Stage 3
- Heat your oven 140°C Fan/160°C/320°FGas Mark 3.
- Sift together your flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
- Add all of your beaten eggs and two large dessertspoonfuls of flour to your dried fruits mixture in your saucepan and fold in to fully incorporate.
- Fold in the rest of your flour mixture.
- Tip your Christmas Cake mixture into your prepared tin and place in the lower half of your oven. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes.
- Your cake is baked once it has set on top and is shiny and firm. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out with a few fudgy bits of cake still stuck to it.
- Leave to cool in your tin for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Store once fully cooled.
- Check your dried fruits to ensure they are not stuck together in clumps and if so pull apart.
- You don't need to feed this cake, but if you want it to be boozier simply prick the base of the cake with a skewer and paint over 1 tablespoon of brandy each week using a pastry brush. I recommend only doing this for a max of 4-6 weeks otherwise your cake can become a bit too heavy and solid. Ensure you wrap and store your cake properly (see "Storage" section) in between feeding.
- Ensure your Christmas cake is fully cooled before storing, otherwise it can become a little sticky.