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How to bake a Christmas cake

Use our nifty how-to guide to make the perfect Christmas cake this year. It really couldn't be simpler.

  1. Line the tin

    Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tin and line the base and sides with 2 layers of nonstick baking paper. Cut 2 circles of baking paper to fit the base and place 1 in the tin, Cut a long strip to go around the inside, about 3cm taller than the tin. Make 2-3cm cuts at regular intervals along one side. Place inside the tin, cut-edge down, so the flaps fold over the base. Top with the other circle to secure. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C .

    Line the tin
  2. Turn mincemeat into cake mix

    Spoon the mincemeat into a large mixing bowl and stir in the cherries, orange zest, juice and sherry with a wooden spoon. Sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, then stir in with the ground and chopped almonds. Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla until well combined, then pour into the prepared tin. Use the back of the spoon to level the top.

    Turn mincemeat into cake mix
  3. Baking the cake

    Wrap a double layer of brown parcel paper around the outside and base of the tin, coming 10cm above the top. Cut a double layer of nonstick baking paper to place over the top, cutting a 3cm hole in the centre, and rest on top of the tin, inside the parcel paper but not touching the cake mix. Bake on the lowest oven shelf for 2½hrs or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If it doesn’t, bake for 10-15 mins longer, then test again.

    Baking the cake
  4. 'Feed' the cake

    Transfer to a wire rack and leave in the tin to cool completely. Remove from the tin and ‘feed’ by piercing several times with a cocktail stick and drizzling over the sherry. Serve straight away, or cover with fresh baking paper, wrap tightly in foil and place in an airtight tin. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months, ‘feeding’ with sherry every fortnight with 2 tbsp more sherry.

    'Feed' the cake
  5. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this delicious Christmas cake. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    1kg mincemeat (we used this Sherry, pear and ginger mincemeat recipe)
    100g glacé cherries, halved
    1 orange, zested and juiced (about 4 tbsp juice)
    3 tbsp PX or other sherry, plus extra for feeding
    175g self-raising flour
    ½ tsp baking powder
    1 tsp mixed spice
    100g ground almonds
    100g blanched almonds, roughly 
    chopped 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    You will also need
    nonstick baking paperbrown parcel paperkitchen string

    Makes 16 servings | Takes 3 hr 10 mins plus cooling


    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      14g 21%
    • Saturates

      4g 18%
    • Sugars

      35g 38%
    • Salt

      0.2g 4%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 47.2g Protein 6.7g Fibre 1.9g