Search results

Start typing


Royal recipe: Rich Christmas Fruit Cake

Ideally, start the preparations for making this cake at least a month before it will be needed.


Cake ingredients

175g (7/8 cup) golden sultanas
175g (7/8 cup) currants
100g (½ cup) mixed peel
75g (3/8 cup) raisins
120g (2/3 cup) glacé cherries, chopped
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed orange
60ml (¼ cup) brandy
2 free-range eggs
90g (3/8 cup) dark brown sugar
115g (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
25g (¼ cup) ground almonds
a pinch of salt
90g (¾ cup) plain flour
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
30ml (1/8 cup) brandy (for soaking)
600g (1lb 5oz) golden marzipan (or natural if you prefer)
600g (1lb 5oz) ready-to-roll icing
150g (½ cup) smooth apricot jam



15cm (diameter) × 7.5cm (depth) 6" × 3" metal cake tin
cake smoother (available from cake decorating suppliers)
festive ribbon
your own choice of cake decoration


To make the cake: 
  1. A day in advance of baking, place all the dry fruit ingredients, citrus juices and zest and the brandy into a large bowl to soak overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 140ºC (275ºF, gas mark 1).
  3. Prepare the cake tin by greasing with butter and lining the bottom and sides evenly with baking paper. Place the lined tin on to a flat, heavy-duty baking tray and leave to one side until required.
  4. Cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly and carefully add the eggs before folding through the flour and ground almonds. Finally fold through the soaked fruit from the previous day. Carefully pour the cake mix into the prepared tin ensuring it is level.
  5. Wrap baking paper (folded double) around the outside of the cake tin securing with string. These extra layers of paper will prevent the cake from getting too dark around the edges whilst baking. Likewise, a baking tray on the shelf above the cake can prevent the top of the cake from darkening too quickly.
  6. Place the cake on a low shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 2–3 hours, or until the cake turns golden brown. To test the cake, insert a knife or skewer and if it comes out clean and not sticky, the cake is baked through. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Before removing the baking paper and the cake tin soak the cake with the remaining brandy. It is essential that your fruit cake is completely cooled before wrapping or placing in a tin for later use.
To marzipan and ice the cake:
  1. Sit the fruit cake on a piece of baking paper; this will enable you to freely turn the cake without touching its sides. 
  2. To ensure a smoother finish for your icing you will need to fill in any gaps produced by sunken pieces of fruit with tiny rolled balls of marzipan, ensuring the surface of the entire cake is as even as possible.
  3. Then take the apricot jam and in a small pan bring it to the boil, whisking all the time. Be very careful at this stage as the jam might bubble and spit. Once it has boiled, take a clean pastry brush and brush the cake with a thin layer of jam. This will help the marzipan used in the next stage to stick to the cake.
  4. Roll out the marzipan on a clean surface to a thickness of about 0.5 cm, making sure that the width and depth is large enough to cover the cake.
  5. With the aid of a rolling pin, carefully lift the marzipan over the fruit cake and then, using the cake smoother, ensure that the marzipan is pushed flat to the top of the cake. Do the same, again using the smoother, to ensure the marzipan edges are smooth and attached securely to the cake.
  6. Carefully trim any excess paste from the bottom of the cake using a sharp knife.
  7. Finally, use the cake smoother to smooth the marzipan all over again one additional time. Be careful not to use your fingers anywhere as that will indent the marzipan.
  8. Ideally leave the marzipan to set at room temperature overnight. This will help achieve a smoother finish with the rolled-out icing the next day.
  9. To finish the icing, firstly brush the marzipan with a light layer of water. This will ensure the icing sticks to the marzipan, but be sure to have a light touch – too much and the icing will slide all over the place and may even fall off!
  10. Roll out the icing just as you did the marzipan and then repeat the entire process used for the marzipan with the rolled-out icing, again being careful not to leave fingerprints or dents. Allow the icing to set overnight before placing on a cake stand or plate. Decorate as desired.
Royal Teas: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace


Buy now

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.