celebrating 130 years 1884-2014

Chelsea’s Favourite Christmas Cake

By Chelsea Sugar
Chelsea’s Favourite Christmas Cake
24 servings
  • 62 reviews

  • Difficulty Moderate
  • Prep time 15 mins
  • Cooking time 4 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves

    250g butter
    2 cups Chelsea White Sugar
    2kg mixed dried fruit
    1 cup sherry
    2 tsp mixed spice
    2 tsp baking soda
    4 Tbsp Chelsea Golden Syrup or Treacle
    4 eggs
    450g plain flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 Tbsp orange zest


    Heat butter, sugar, fruit, sherry, spice, baking soda and syrup in a large saucepan. Heat over a medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Allow to cool fully (at least 1 hour).

    Heat oven to 125°C conventional bake. Grease 2 x deep 20cm round tins (or 2 x regular 30cm tins) and triple line with baking paper, ensuring the paper extends up the sides beyond the tin.

    Beat eggs and stir through cooled fruit mixture. Sift dry ingredients and fold into fruit mixture with orange zest.

    Spoon into tins, bake for approximately 3 -3 ½ hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Decorate once cool.

    Tip: Place a double layer of baking paper across top of tin to prevent cake browning too quickly (avoiding contact with cake mixture).

    Note: We have updated this recipe to make it easier to bake by spreading it across two cake tins. You can still make it as one cake, just use a larger tin and allow for a longer cooking time (approximately 4 hrs) and check it regularly.

    Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Wrap in tin foil, and then cheesecloth.  Will keep for at least a year and stays deliciously moist.

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Average Rating
(62 reviews)

The best Xmas cake i have ever made and have cooked it for years just the one cake, so easy
Highly recommend i bake in Oct eat in Dec keeps moist, keep wrapped in grease proof and newspaper, husband cannot wait to start eating, plenty of compliments to.

Hi going to make this cake for Christmas just could you give me the amount of sugar by weight I find cups confusing for what size of cup for instance ? Many thanks

this is the easiest cake to bake and i thing the most delicious to eat, if you can't get this right then don't go near the kitchen. I cooked mine in one large square tin in a Breville digital bench oven at the recommended temperature, It did not take the four hours to bake but there was no darkening of the sides or bottom of the cake and the top did not crack or rise in the middle. As is stated keeps very well and stays nice and moist.

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Best Christmas cake I've ever made. Quick simple and very moist.

Wow, what an amazing cake. Turned out beautiful and very simple to make. I used only 1kg of mixed dried fruit and it was still spectacular, plenty of fruit with every bite. Very moist and delicious. No need for icing.

This is my Xmas cake recipe from now on moist delicious and very easy to make my husband absolutely loves it.!!!!

Just wondering how this recipe would go in cupcake tins how long would they need to cook. Would make amazing Christmas presents for colleague's and friends.

This is my go to recipe now. Beats all others hands down

If i was to half this recipe , can i halve the ingredients? Also in terms of cooking time , how long will it take?
Chelsea Sugar:
Yes, you can halve the recipe and the bake time is 4 hrs 30 mins.

Can I use molasses in place of treacle please?

Yes Pauline! Happy Baking!

Good recipe. Really different from the way I have made Christmas cakes before but so easy and quick. I did add a heaped tsp of ginger and cinnamon as well cos I love those flavours in my cakes.

I have made this recipe for four Christmases now. It is easy, consistently successful and earns a lot of compliments.

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I make at least 6 of these cakes every year for family and friends and they all love it, even 2 people who dont like fruit cake actually like this one! So easy to make and would keep for a long time if it got the chance! Rich, dark and moist - what more could one ask for in a fruit cake?

Best cake ever! Just popped this years one in the oven 3rd year making it family loves it isn’t too rich nice and moist, I double the spice and 1 1/2c sherry, do the first step with the fruit, butter syrup sherry etc then leave mixture till next day then bake with eggs flour etc, I’ve only ever made it 6-8 weeks before Xmas feed the cake a little every week or so honestly it’s amazing, my grandma always made a Xmas cake 40 years later and I’ve decided to carry on the tradition with this cake, I make the full mixture and use one large square cake tin approx 4hrs cooking

The Best xmas cake I have ever made, Dark and moist. I used Brandy and 1 1/2 cups dark cane sugar. I added Hazelnuts, sliced almonds and Glace cherries. I baked in a very large tin for 4 hours @ 125 celsius. I used classic bake no fan bake. Just perfect!

Hi - I made this cake for the 1st time last year and it was delicious!! I want to make it again this year, however I thought the recipe also had instructions on how to wrap the cake in plastic and tin foil for at least 6 weeks prior or similar? Thanks!
CHELSEA: best to wrap in tin foil and then cheesecloth.

I have 8 x 10cm cakes to do this Christmas. Would 2 of these be good and would you divide into 8 small tins or 2 big tins and then cut into 4. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but looks good and reviews are great
CHELSEA: either would work. Just reduce the cook time to allow for the reduced volume.

Great recipe. Made my first fruit cake at Xmas time and it was beautiful. Thanks for the great easy recipe! I have the Mammoth task of making a big fruit cake for a 75th jubilee. I’m thinking of making this recipe twice and baking in a roasting dish (one dish for each batch) then stacking them to make one big cake. Do you think this recipe would be big enough to use in a 29 x 45 roasting tray?
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes this recipe makes 2 deep 20cm cakes or 2 regular 30cm cakes, so a roasting dish of that size per batch should work nicely. Good luck!

Outstanding recipe. My family will eat as many as I make. Makes a lovely large cake and we never ice it, it's tasty as it is.

Everyone loved this cake, it was so moist and delicious and so easy to make. I made it as 1 large cake 23 x 23 cm it took 4 hours to cook.

Easy breezy first Xmas cake for me and it was so easy, thank you

I see that the recipe say's 2 x 20 cm cake tins, once the cake is cool do you stack on top of the other, or leave as single cakes?
If I wished to make the Christmas Cake in one tin, what size Cake Tin should I use> and is 4 hours the length of cooking time.
As I wish to have one Cake.
5 Stars, it looks an easy recipe to make.
CHELSEA: Hi there, you leave these as single cakes. We would recommend a 25-30cm cake tin if baking in one tin. Try 4 hours but keep an eye on it as all ovens are different. Good luck :-)

I've never really been a fruitcake fan, but this recipe popped up and I decided it was a good time to try and make it. I am now a total convert- this cake is amazing!
As I'm pregnant, I soaked the fruit in apple juice beforehand, and cooked down brandy before adding it. The first cake was demolished in no time- I'm so glad I made two!

Everyone loved this cake. It was moist and delicious.

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If I was to soak the fruit, do I soak it in sherry then drain it off before following the recipe?
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes if you want to soak the fruit we recommend soaking it in sherry and then draining it off. You can use this leftover sherry either in step one of the recipe or to feed the cake after baking.

Great recipe, very easy and tastes yummy. I let the fruit sit overnight and cooked the following day.

An amazingly moist tasty cake. You have the balance exactly right - addictive!
Lovely with a brandy icing

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Please can you help??
I want to bake this in 2 x 19cm square tins.
Will this work and how long will I cook them for?
Thank you.
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes this will be fine. Your cooking time is likely to be closer to 3 hours rather than 3 1/2. Enjoy!

Lovely moist easy to make Christmas Cake.

First time making Christmas cake. Turned out perfectly. I soaked the fruit in sherry for a few days prior as suggested in the comments which worked well. Very moist and easy to make.

Is it possible to swap the alcohol for black tea
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes you can replace the alcohol with black tea, fruit juice or water!

The best Christmas cake I have ever made. Can you suggest a Gluten Free option as I have just found out I have celiacs.
CHELSEA: Hi there, really sorry but we don't yet have a gluten free Christmas cake recipe. We'll have to sort that out!

One of the most moist christmas cakes I have ever had. Definitely worth making two!

Amazing and easy cake. I soaked the fruit for a week prior and added some Brazil nuts. Was a very moist and tasty cake! Relatively cheap for ingredients too, compared to some Xmas cakes!

Dark and rich. First ever attempt at xmas cake and was excellent. Used port instead of sherry. Made in a wooden box for even cooking
Will do again next year if I can wait that long!!

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An excellent cake with lovely texture and taste! Worth baking 2, ice with marzipan and the royal icing to create a truly delectable Christmas Cake!

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Best and easiest Christmas Cake I have ever had. So many compliments too. Yummy!

Hi can you tell me if I am able to use GI cane or brown sugar instead of white sugar ??
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes we think brown sugar would work well. We haven't tried using the low GI sugar in this recipe before but this should also work ok.

A beautiful, moist dark cake. The recipe was easy to follow and 3 and 1/2 hours seemed about the right length of cooking time. The lower cooking temperature is the key to this recipe, which I am sure I'll use again and again. I used my large preserving pan for mixing the ingredients which worked well. I also used a 23 cm round tin to cook the cake in (I halved the recipe, so one cake only). The round tin was perfect! Thanks Chelsea, this is a great recipe.

This cake looks great BUT you haven't said whether the cake tin, suggested in the recipe, is round or square, so I haven't yet made the cake, as at 20cm there is quite a substantial difference in volume between a 20cm square tin and a 20cm round tin. I have emailed your email address asking for an answer to this query but as yet have had no reply?! Please could you add this fact to the recipe. Thank you. I look forward to making the cake once I know the exact tin size.
CHELSEA: Hi there, thank you for your feedback and sorry that you haven't had a reply to your email yet - we will have a look into this. We would recommend using round tins; however, the recipe is large enough that if it is made in a square tin it should still work out well. We have updated the recipe to reflect this. Enjoy!

Great cake keeps well using recipe again

Such an easy recipe and it is beautiful. Do you have a recipe for the icing?
CHELSEA: Hi there, good to hear you are enjoying this recipe! You could try our fondant icing recipe:

I have just put the cakes in the oven. My only comment so far is that you need a very large saucepan. I used a preserving pan and the cake went together very well.

Would love to try this recipe Can I replace the sherry with juice rather than use alcohol?
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes you can use juice instead of alcohol. The cake might not keep for quite as long though.

The best and easiest cake ever. Have been making this cake now for a few years, the recipe makes 3 cakes the size you would buy in the shops and I make 9 every year for family and friends. Everybody loves it and I get requests each year from friends to make sure I don't forget them. Am just about to make first batch for 2016 tonight.

just what I was lookin for this year

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Did anyone decorate it, and if so how?? Thanks for any advice.
CHELSEA: Hi there, there are lots of options for decorating! You could go all out and cover the cake with marzipan and fondant icing - if you do a google search you will find lots of tips and tutorials on how to do this, as well as some inspiration for the 'finishing touches'. For a simpler alternative, try rolling out some fondant and cutting into Christmas shapes, then sticking onto the top of the cake with a little warmed apricot jam. The cake also tastes great without any icing - just dust with icing sugar and secure a bright ribbon around the edge of the cake to brighten it up!

Love the sound of this but can the sherry be replaced with something else??
CHELSEA: Hi there, yes you could try brandy, rum or whiskey as alternatives to the sherry.

the only Christmas cake I make now after trying others this one is the best and super easy

This is the best Christmas cake ever. I have used the recipe to make small Christmas cakes for gifts. This is my third year of making this cake. Such an easy recipe. I used whiskey instead of sherry.

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Can't wait to try to make this!!

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This has been my most successful Christmas cake yet - I have now made it two years running, and everyone loves it.

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I made this cake last year and it turned out the best one I had ever made, so I have done it again this year, just waiting impatiently until Christmas to try it. It makes a lovely large tasty moist cake.

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Both my daughter and I made this cake which is great. Her's was better than mine as I baked with fan bake on and she used top and bottom elements - better all round.

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very easy to bake and tastes great! have made one for the freezer to.

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one of the simplest Christmas cakes I have ever baked. Tastes as good as it looks! Will definitely use this recipe again.

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I have just cut into the cake and must say it is the best xmas cake I have ever made,will never make any other now. Thank you Chelsea

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Very easy to make. It is moist. Tastes great

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Add a grated whole apple skin also and you will have the best fruit cake. I make this recipe a lot but have 1 C plain Flour and 1 C Self Raising flour. Happy baking Val

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Just made this Christmas cake. It is better than any brought one. I made 2 out of the recipe so I will cut the ingredients in 1/2 next time. This is the only cake I will be baking in the future. A1

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Very tasty cake. Had lots of compliments and it freezes well too.

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Awesome recipe.... Stays moist for ages.... Great flavour.... :)

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