Glazed Fruit Christmas Cake

A much simpler affair for your Christmas Cake – great if you’re not mad on marzipan and icing!

The glaze contains brandy which means you can prep your cake well in advance and nothing untoward will happen to the fruits.  If you’re making an alcohol free cake then just use the warmed apricot jam on it’s own.  You will though have to top your cake at the last minute (upto a week before) as it won’t keep as well.


40g whole blanched almonds

25g pecans

60g dried apricots

55g glace cherries

90g candied peel – use the whole large pieces, not the diced stuff in a tub, it tastes brilliant (Waitrose sell Sundora in boxes)

35g dates

25g dried cranberries

20g crystallised ginger

3 tbsps apricot jam

2 tbsps brandy

1 x 8″ Christmas Cake

First up place the nuts in a dry frying pan, heat them over a gentle heat, tossing them around regularly to toast them lightly.

Place them in a bowl with the whole glace cherries and dried cranberries.

Chop up the apricots, dates and mixed peel into still fairly large sized pieces and the ginger into small squares.

Add them to the rest of the fruits and toss them up together so they are well mixed.

In a small bowl place the apricot jam and warm it up slightly in the microwave.  Add the brandy to it and stir it all up.

Place your christmas cake on a cake card or board, even a chopping board will do.

With a pastry brush coat the top in a layer of the apricot glaze.

Take a  good handful of the fruity nut mix and transfer (that’s a glamorous word for it) to the top of the cake trying to keep as much of it on the top of the cake as possible!

Now use the remaining fruit to fill in the gaps, the smaller pieces like the nuts and cranberries are best for right around the edge as they stay put easily.

Fill in all the nooks and crannies, sticking back on pieces that keep jumping off by adding a dab more glaze where it’s needed.

Once you’re happy with the look gently dab the glaze all over the fruits and nuts using the brush.  Just remember dab and dot not brush or you’ll knock the whole lot off again!

Make sure it’s all covered with glaze, turning the cake round so you can see every little bit.

Wrap the cake in two pieces of clingfilm to stop the outside edge of the cake from drying out and store in a tin or tub large enough to accommodate it.

When it comes to serving time, transfer it to a plate or clean cake card and wrap a ribbon around the side.

Glazed Fruit Christmas Cake

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire


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29 Responses to Glazed Fruit Christmas Cake

  1. Lynne Perry says:

    This is just what I’ve been looking for – my family are not fans of icing and marzipan, but fruits and nuts are always welcome. I’m glad I spotted this before I went shopping too, I will be able to decorate my cakes later today, thank you!

  2. Louise Everett says:

    Loving the decoration …personally not mad on icing so I now know how my cake is going to look!!

  3. Jackie says:

    I done something like this in other years, using a more regimented look with the fruits and nuts, and got lots of positive comments. It’s actually surprising the number of people that don’t like fondant icing. I think a disk of homemade marzipan, which has a much more subtle taste underneath the glazed fruits would be fantastic too. I prefer the haphzard look. Anyone struggling to find candied fruits can make your own, it just takes a while boiling the sugar solution.

  4. Tricia Morrison says:

    Oh Yum! I love marzipan and icing and have made a few cakes to give as christmas presents – but the glazed fruit topping looks so spectacular I’ve decided to use this for our own cake this year! Thanks for the recipe. I wouldn’t have thought to add brandy to the apricot glaze

  5. Kirstie phillipson says:

    This looks superb I know what’s on my shopping list tomorrow 🙂 thank you so much for the clear easy to follow directions looking forward to a kitchen day 🙂

  6. Alison Damant says:

    That looks so luscious, what a great idea!

  7. Michaella Carling says:

    I was only looking at a cake topped like this today and wondering how it was done. What a great idea!
    I love marzipan but hate icing, and my huband hates marzipan but doesn’t mind icing so every year I have the same dilema, to ice or not to ice!
    This is the perfect solution to my problem as the whole family love fruit and nuts. Thank you, i shall definately be trying this out 🙂

  8. Connie says:

    always great to have a recipe without marzipan.

  9. angie says:

    absolutely the ideal xmas cake, i stopped doing marzipan and icing a few years back after getting fed up of putting the picked off picks left on the side of the plate in the bin…..ho hum, better things to spend my money on than keeping the bin fed!

  10. Maureen Warke says:

    Looks amazing will definitely be doing this instead if icing which my husband dislikes so Merry Christmas to him. X

  11. Denise Thompson says:


  12. Cristina says:

    a good alternative since my husband doesn’t do marzipan

  13. Georgia Davey says:

    I’m not a great fan of fruit cakes – too heavy by far, but this one looks nummy!

  14. Christina says:

    We’re not big fans of icing so this is a great idea for my family Christmas cake!

  15. Michelle Wilson-Taylor says:

    Wow, this cake looks stunning. All of my family love marzipan and royal icing not fondant icing. I have made 18 christmas cakes this year for gifts to family and friends but my sister in law detests marzipan so i have been wondering what to do with hers and now i have the perfect answer. Thankyou!!

  16. Emma says:

    I made my christmas cake on Saturday and I’m tempted to decorate it like this instead of the usual iced cake I usually make.

    Wonderful pictures!

  17. Karen Mottram says:

    Hi Ruth

    I love your decorating ideas for Christmas cakes, especially the dried fruit …I,ve been looking for ages for a really generous looking topping, this looks fab. Love the Pink Whisk!

    Karen x

  18. Elaine Croft says:

    Your cakes always look so yum, Ruth!

  19. Sez says:

    Looks yummy!

  20. Aly Makin says:

    Not keen on the nutty bits but it looks super!

  21. Sarah says:

    A lovely alternative to marzipan and icing!

  22. Rachel F says:

    What a lovely alternative!x

  23. Pingback: The Best Fruitcake in New York, Obviously | Kitchen Butterfly

  24. sue p says:


  25. Elspeth Woods says:

    So simple and elegant.

  26. Sue J says:

    havin a cake comp at work my rich fruit cakes are always better than just sponges so that’s what I’ve made no nuts allowed so no marzipan wanted to know how to do alternative top this is just the job minus the nuts. Looks fantastic hope it tastes as good

  27. Cat says:

    I’ve done the boozy cake before and it turned out just amazing! The whole family loved it! But I prefer Christmas cakes with fruit and nuts on top. If I was to try a combination of this and the boozy using the following ingredients, what quantities would you recommend??

    Glacé cherries
    Mixed peel

    Thanks! !! Cat xx

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