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Last-minute Christmas cake

Last-minute Christmas cake

If your tea bags are approaching their end date and you're wondering what to do, why not add them to a last minute Christmas cake! This recipe also uses up dried fruits and nuts you may have at the back of the cupboard.
By Love Food Hate Waste
Serves 8
Prep/Cook time: 45-60 minutes
An iced and decorated Christmas cake with a slice missing and surrounded by decorations


500g mixed dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, currants
100g ready to eat apricots, chopped
100g dates, chopped
50g dried cranberries
150g glace cherries, halved
225ml cold black tea, made from two tea bags
100ml whisky or brandy
75ml orange juice
200g butter, slightly soft
200g muscovado sugar
250g plain flour
1kg ready rolled fondant icing
450g marzipan
75g chopped nuts
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp black treacle
1 and a ½ tsp mixed spice
4 tbsp apricot jam
1 orange, zest only
1 heaped tsp baking powder
Sifted Fairtrade icing sugar

Perfect portions

Use our portion calculator for a quick and simple way to check how much food to serve with this meal.

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  1. In a large pan mix together the dried fruits, apricots, dates, cranberries and cherries. Add the cooled tea, whisky or brandy, orange juice, zest and treacle. Bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Transfer to a bowl and chill overnight or as long as you can. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 140ºC / 275ºF / Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment.

  3. Place all the remaining cake ingredients, except the nuts, into a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, and then fold in the tea-soaked fruit and nuts.

  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top, making a slight dip towards the centre. Wrap the sides of the cake in a double thickness of brown paper. Check the cake after 3 hours, and cover with parchment paper if the surface is getting too brown. Bake for a further 30 minutes -1 hour, or until a metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  5. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out and allow to cool completely on a rack.

  6. When ready to decorate the cake, dust a large work surface with icing sugar and roll the marzipan to a circle slightly larger than the cake. Heat the apricot jam in a small pan and brush over the cake. Ease the marzipan over the cake – rubbing with your hands to create a flat smooth surface. If time allows, cover the cake with a clean tea towel and then leave in a cool place for at least one day.

  7. Roll out 150g of the fondant icing on a flat surface, lightly dusted with icing sugar and use your favourite Christmas cookie cutters to cut out some festive shapes e.g. snowflakes, stars or holly leaves etc. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave to set, uncovered, in a cool place.

  8. Place the cake on a cake board. Brush the marzipan covered cake with a little water. Roll out the remaining icing to a 33cm round. Lift over the cake and smooth the icing down the sides. Trim off the excess icing around the cake’s base. Dust your palms with icing sugar, and gently ‘polish’ the surface of the icing to smooth out any creases and uneven areas.

  9. Use the Christmassy shapes you prepared earlier to decorate the cake and finish off with a ribbon.

Make the most of your leftovers
Store in
Airtight container
5-7 days
Where to store
Cool, dry place
Not applicable

Perfect portions

Use our portion calculator for a quick and simple way to check how much food to serve with this meal.

Use portion calculator

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Inside of the fridge with somone changing the fridge temperature dial

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