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Last Minute Christmas Cake - top down view of cake decorated with almonds and glace cherries and tied with a red ribbon. Presetned on a wooden board with fairy light, holly, ivy and pine cones
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Last-Minute Christmas Cake

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.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British, English
Servings: 14
Calories: 445kcal


  • 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


I love the juicy flavour of maraschino cherries in cakes and they add a gorgeous burst of colour. If you don't have any, feel free to add in extra glace cherries


Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 941IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg