This rich fruity Christmas cake is made with cider instead of rum or brandy. It makes a super moist cake and has become my favourite Christmas cake recipe.
Hello Rudolph! This is my Christmas cake. It's only the second year I've made a Christmas cake. Last year was the first and I've played safe by sticking with the same cake recipe as it worked so well. It was just what I wanted from a rich fruit cake - moist, fruity and just a bit gooey from all that dried fruit. If that's how you like your Christmas cake then look no further.
Most Christmas cakes are fortified with sherry, rum or some other rather strong spirit. The only alcohol in this cake is cider. You may think that's a bit unusual for a Christmas cake but it goes perfectly with all the dried fruit. Well, maybe I shouldn't say it goes perfectly as you can't actually taste it, but the cake is good and if the cake is good then all that goes into it must be good too.
Actually I hope this particular cake is good. I haven't properly tasted it yet, not the cooked cake anyway. But, going by my experiences of making this Christmas cake with cider last year, I'm pretty convinced this year's cake is going to be amazing too!
As I said at the start, this is the second time I've made this Christmas cake. It was so good last year and I'm confident it will be this year too. After all, I've stuck to the same recipe, with just one or two small changes. Maybe one year I'll try the hard alcohol route but for now I'm sticking with a Christmas cake recipe that I know works.
The recipe is slightly adapted from Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton.
What ingredients do you need for this Christmas cake with cider?
To make this rich fruity Christmas cake you'll need:
- Dried fruit - I use a mixture of sultanas, raisins, prunes, dates, apricots, glace cherries
- Dessert apples
- Mixed spice
- Butter - I usually use unsalted but salted is fine too
- Soft brown sugar
- Eggs - Large ones are best
- Ground almonds
- Plain flour - You can replace the plain flour with self raising flour plus just one teaspoon of baking powder.
- Baking powder
Decorate the cake however you choose but if you do want to copy this design you'll need:
- Jam - Raspberry or apricot
- Royal icing sugar
- Designer icing tubes in various colours - This is so you can draw on the cake with the designer icing
Can you adapt this recipe?
Yes of course! Feel free to use different dried fruits. Use more of less of particular ones and miss out something if you don't have it. Just make sure that the overall weight of the dried fruit stays the same.
You can also vary the spicing. I usually use mixed spice which is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice but you can use any kind of spice mix that's suitable for baking. Pumpkin pie or apple spice spice work well and so does just plain cinnamon.
Can you make this Christmas cake with beer?
Yes! You can replace the cider with beer. It's just a plain swap.
How far in advance can you make this cake?
You can make this cider Xmas cake up to 8 weeks in advance. Just like a more traditional Christmas cake you can even feed it with rum or brandy if you want.
If you are planning to feed it, wrap it in baking paper. Then wrap it in aluminium foil and then put it in an airtight container.
More Christmas Recipes
Or why not use any leftover Christmas cake to make Christmas cake pops?
Christmas Cake with Cider
- 200 g sultanas
- 400 g raisins
- 250 g prunes
- 100 g dates
- 150 g dried apricots
- 200 g glace cherries
- 2 dessert apples peeled and diced
- 600 ml cider
- 4 tsp mixed spice
- 200 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 175 g soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 150 g ground almonds
- 280 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the Decoration
- 400 g marzipan
- 3 tbsp jam
- 500 g royal icing sugar
- Designer icing tubes in various colours
- Put all the dried fruit, mixed spice and cider in a large saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Leave in the pan overnight and the fruit will absorb the rest of the liquid.
- Line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
- Put the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Use an electric whisk if possible. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold in the fruit and the ground almonds. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then fold in too.
- Put the cake batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven at 160°C for 2.5 hours. Test the cake with skewer and if it comes out with sticky batter still on it then return it to the oven. My cake needed 3 hours.
- Let the cake cool a little in the tin and then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- If you want to keep the cake for a while before eating it then wrap it up well in foil and keep it in an airtight container. You can keep it for up to 8 weeks.
- When you are ready to decorate the cake, put the jam in a small bowl and heat in the microwave or a small saucepan until runny. Brush it over the cake.
- Roll out the marzipan and cover the cake with it.
- Make the royal icing according to the pack instructions. I just needed to whisk mine with a little water. When it begins to form stiff peaks then spread it over the cake with a palette knife. I chose a rough snow effect for the top by tapping the palette knife up and down on the icing. I smoothed the sides carefully with the knife so I could draw on them
- I used the designer icing to draw reindeer and Christmas trees on the sides of the cake but of course you could draw anything you wanted.
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Keep in Touch
Do let me know if you make this Christmas Cake with Cider or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.
Places I'm sharing this Christmas cake recipe
The Christmas Foodie Friday link on Casa Costello
Love Cake December Delights, hosted by Jibberjabber UK.
Festive Family Foodies hosted by Banger and Mash