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With so many Christmas cake options to choose from, is it really true that we should be making a start on baking our festive cakes now? Surely it can wait?

We're taking an opportunity to look at some traditional fruit cake recipes as well as some more modern Christmas cake alternatives to give us all a little flexibility around baking times in the run up to the big day.

Whether you’re a stickler for tradition or a renegade maverick who pays no heed to habit, we’ve got some cracking Christmas recipes to try. Fruit cake not your thing? Why not get a little creative and opt for something slightly different this year?

Traditional Christmas fruit cake

The traditional fruit-based Christmas cake is best baked a couple of months before Christmas to allow time for the fruit to soak, the juices to blend and the finished bake to be fed with alcohol before the man in red makes his appearance.

Here at Craft Company, (inspired by our grandmas!) many believe the best time to start making Christmas cakes is during October half term to allow time for maturing before decoration. So, the time is now. Let’s get the fruit mixed up and leave it to soak so we can bake up a Christmassy-feast this month…

We love this traditional recipe from Mary Berry, which recommends baking well in advance of Christmas to allow time to ‘feed’ the cake with rum, whisky or brandy to keep it moist. A good fruit cake like this will keep well for up to three months, wrapped in baking parchment and foil before covering a week before you’d like to eat it.

Last minute Christmas cake

OK, so whilst our grandmas were great at making the family Christmas cake during October, feeding it at regular intervals and keeping it covered it well in advance of Christmas Day, not everyone is that organised. Sound like you? Don’t worry, there’s a last-minute Christmas cake solution that will have even the staunchest traditionalists licking their lips and beating a path for second helpings.

You can rely on Delia Smith for a Christmas cake recipe that’s fine to be made just a few days before you’re planning to celebrate the festive season with a ‘nog’ of cake and warming glass of mulled wine. The last minute brandied Christmas cake is the perfect solution, offering a recipe that can be thrown together within a couple of days and will look and taste the yuletide business.

If you’re hoping to decorate it with marzipan and sugar paste, simply leave off the nuts and cover it as you would a traditional Christmas cake, and of course, choose some traditional cake decorations for the ultimate festive feels!

Fluffly white velvet alternative Christmas cake

If fruit cake simply isn’t your thing in the deep mid-winter, why not break from tradition and get a little daring with this White velvet snowball cake – our mouths are watering at the mere thought!

Seasonal, stunning and simply delicious, this fluffy centrepiece will wow everyone this Christmas and can be made just a day or two before it’s destined to be polished off. Devine!

Fun Christmas cake alternative

OK, so watching a snowman melt is arguably one of the most disturbing memories from early childhood – right? But not this beauty. This melting snowman is made of cake – he won’t melt (except in your mouth) and the kids will love helping to decorate him with buttons, icing and chocolate sticks.

This super-cute Malted Milk Melting Snowman cake will knock their Christmas socks off and tastes delicious too!

We’re off to try out a couple of recipes ahead of the big day – let us know what you’re planning to bake this Christmas and share some festive snaps of your bakes and creations over on our Facebook page or tag us into your Instagram posts at @craftcompany_uk



Hi, Ive made several of my Christmas cakes but have a question. My recipe uses 200ml of brandy which the fruit is soaked in, should I still feed or will this be enough to keep them moist. I dont want them to get soggy. Thank you, Heidi.

Craft Company

Hello Heidi, 

Great to hear you're getting organised for Christmas, and thanks for sending us your question.  

The truth is, there is no right answer. It largely depends on the size of your cake, the other ingredients used, and of course, how boozy you want it to be.  200ml sounds reasonable for an initial bake and we’d recommend trusting your chosen recipe. There are a couple of techniques you can try though. Use a skewer at various intervals in the run up to Christmas to see how moist it is and add a couple of teaspoons at a time.  If you leave the cake in baking paper and can feel the bottom, you should be able to gauge how dense and moist it feels. Some people are happy to cut into the bottom - remember, you’re likely to be icing the cake anyway so you can get creative with the decorating to cover any holes!

We hope that trying these things will help.

Best wishes with your bake, and for Christmas!


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