This easy Last-Minute Christmas Cake requires minimum effort and tastes fantastic. Marzipan is baked into the cake so there’s no need for time-consuming decorations.
We all have times when our best-laid plans get sidelined. If you find yourself caught out and short of time in the lead up to Christmas, this last-minute Christmas cake is the answer to your time issues.
Forget about making a traditional Christmas cake until another year.
The best time to bake this cake is Christmas Eve since it requires no maturing or feeding time and it stays fresh for at least 1 week.
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This last-minute Christmas cake recipe includes tinned pineapple which gives the bake a very soft and moist crumb. It also contains grated marzipan which likewise helps to keep the crumb soft and serves to accentuate the festive flavours in this cake.
And of course, the extra benefit of adding the marzipan directly into the cake is that there really is no need to spend extra time covering the cake in marzipan and icing. Simply adorning wth some nuts and cherries or a selection of candied fruit works a treat here and takes no time at all.
I’ve added a generous amount of dried fruits (raisins, sultanas, apricots and prunes) to the cake batter along with some extra festive treats. Nestled inside of the cake are glace cherries, maraschino cocktail cherries, crystalised ginger, rum, spices and some citrus zest. This simple fruit cake really does scream of the flavours of the season.
In the absence of snow-white icing, a bright red ribbon makes the cake look suitably festive.
When do I Need to Make a Christmas Cake?
The answer to this question varies depending on whether you are making a traditional Christmas cake or a last-minute Christmas cake.
Traditional Christmas cakes should be made at least 4 weeks in advance. The cake needs time for the flavours to mature and it must be fed alcohol at least 3 times over the space of a few weeks to help ramp up the richness and those festive flavours.
If that all seems like too much hassle, then consider my easy recipe. It is a much simpler affair. There is no need for maturing or feeding. Instead, it can and should be eaten straight away. Though it will last easily for at least a week.
How to Make the Last-Minute Version
The best way to show you how simple this cake is to make is to let you visualise it.
- Begin by mixing all of the fruit and goodies such as marzipan and crystalised ginger in a bowl and pouring in the rum
- Next, make the cake batter
- Fold all of the fruit into the batter
- Spoon into a lined tin
- Decorate with almonds and cherries
Instead of the nuts try adorning the cake with candied fruits and if you are yearning for a shine on your cake, brush with a little warmed apricot jam.
Honestly, this is around 30 minutes hands-on work for an easy Christmas cake sure to deliver festive flavour in each bite.
Looking for more Christmas recipes?
- Gluten-Free Mince Pies
- Christmas Wreath Biscuits
- Mulled Gin & Tonic
- Black Forest Yule Log
- Rudolph Rice Chocolate Krispie Treats
Last-Minute Christmas Cake
- 1 x deep 8 inch cake pan (round)
- 180 g Tinned pineapple drained
- 150 g Glace cherries
- 150 g Maraschino cocktail cherries see notes
- 180 g Dried apricots
- 120 g Raisins
- 120 g Sultanas
- 75 g Prunes
- 30 g Crystalised ginger
- 8 tsp Dark rum
- 100 g Golden marzipan
- Rind 1 lemon
- Rind 1 orange
- 200g g Butter softened
- 200 g Golden caster sugar
- 4 Eggs – large, free range
- 200 g Plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 30 Whole blanched almonds
- 3 Maraschino cherries
Prepare the fruit
- Begin by draining the pineapple from it's juice and patting dry on kitchen towel. Chop into small pieces. put into a large mixing bowl
- Rinse the glace cherries, chop roughly and add to the bowl
- Drain the maraschino cherries, blot on kitchen towel and chop roughly. Add to the bowl
- Chop the apricots and prunes and weight out the sultanas and raisins and finely dice the crystalised ginger. Drop into the bowl too
- Lastly, finely grate the orange and lemon zest and coarsely grate the marzipan. Add to the bowl with the rum. Using your hands mix everything together until everything is evenly mixed and coated in the alcohol. Set aside
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/ GM2 and grease and line a deep 8-inch round cake pan
- Begin by creaming the butter and sugar together with electric beaters until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition
- Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the bowl and beat until just combined – take cake not to overmix as this will result in a tough cake
- Tip the fruit into the bowl and stir with a large metal spoon to combine
- Spoon into the prepared baking tin, taking care to ensure the cake is spread to the edge of the tin. Level the top and arrange the almonds and cherries (chopped in half) in a neat pattern on the top
- Bake for approx 1 hour then cover the top with parchment to stop it browning too much. Continue to cook for a further 50 minutes, then poke a skewer into the cake – if it comes out clean the cake is done. If it has cake batter on it, keep baking and test again after 10 more minutes. Note: marzipan can look a bit like cake batter – double check by poking the skewer in a few places.
- Once baked take out of the oven and let cool completely in the tin. Unmold and store in an airtight container until ready to serve