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Woodland wreath Christmas cake recipe

Woodland wreath Christmas cake recipe

19 ratings

Transform classic Christmas cake into a simple yet stunning centrepiece with beautiful rustic decorations, sweet amaretto-spiced icing, and an almond-encrusted marzipan pinecone. You can make the cake ahead and freeze, so all that's left to do is decorate it before the big day – Christmas showstoppers don't get much easier than this! See method

  • Serves 20
  • 45 mins to prepare and 1 hr 45 mins to cook, plus cooling
  • 289 calories / serving
  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian


For the cake

  • 140g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 140g light muscovado sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 411g jar mincemeat
  • 200g glacé cherries, halved
  • 2 tbsp amaretto, optional

To decorate

  • 75g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp amaretto
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g golden marzipan
  • 10g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • rosemary sprigs, to decorate
  • cinnamon sticks, to decorate
  • fresh sage or bay leaves, to decorate
  • physalis, to decorate 
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    11g 16%
  • Saturates

    6g 31%
  • Sugars

    29g 32%
  • Salt

    0.3g 6%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 47.4g Protein 2.4g Fibre 1g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Grease a 20cm round, deep cake tin with butter, then line with nonstick baking paper. In a bowl, beat together the salted butter, light muscovado sugar, flour and eggs until pale and creamy.
  2. Fold in the mincemeat and glacé cherries with a metal spoon. Pour into the tin, level, then bake for 1¾ hrs until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  3. Brush the warm cake with 2 tbsp amaretto, if you like, and cool in the tin on a wire rack. Remove from the tin when cool and peel off the baking paper. If adding decorations at a later date, the cake will keep for 1 week in an airtight container.
  4. Make the buttercream by beating the butter and amaretto in a bowl until creamy. Add the icing sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the icing sugar has been added, beat for a further 7 mins with an electric whisk (or 12 mins if using a wooden spoon) until really light and creamy. The icing should be flecked with bubbles of air, like mousse.
  5. Cut the cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Put a little buttercream on a cake stand or board and put the top half of the cake upside down on it; press down lightly to secure. Spread 2 tbsp buttercream over the top. Top with the other cake half and spread the rest of the buttercream over the top and sides. Turning the cake stand or board, scrape the sides of the cake with a palette knife to remove some of the buttercream, creating a naked-style cake effect.
  6. Make the marzipan pine cone. Roll the marzipan into a cone shape. Push the toasted almonds into the marzipan in concentric circles at a 45° angle to the marzipan, starting at the top.
  7. Arrange the rosemary, cinnamon sticks, sage or bay leaves and physalis on top of the cake to make a wreath. Add the marzipan pine cone. The cake will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

Tip: Add wow-factor by spraying the physalis petals with edible gold glitter spray.

See more Easy Christmas baking ideas

To make this you will need: Serrated knife, cake stand or board, palette knife.

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