In this post we share a simple Christmas cake which doesn’t need to be made months in advance. You could knock this up this weekend in time for Christmas. This recipe was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s quick chocolate Christmas cake  recipe.

After we had two babies at once I spent a lot of time multi-tasking. Two key tasks were breastfeeding and watching Food TV. My husband was worried I had become addicted to “food porn”.

Arguably, the queen of food porn is Nigella Lawson. And it was Nigella’s swooning over a moist, damp, aromatic Christmas cake that convinced me to try making one myself. Before that, I had never seen the appeal of the fruit cake. The hook for me was probably the fact her recipe had cocoa in it. A chocolate fruit cake – who knew?


The other hook for me was her naughty idea of simply eating the boozey-buttery fruit mixture (the first step in creating the cake) for pudding with cream or vanilla ice cream. And she was right, it really is quite something. Arguably it is a form of quality control. Dangerous, but delicious.

Chocolate Christmas cake

My recipe below is an adaptation of hers. It is quite different to hers now as I have made it for a couple of Christmases now. Hers is no doubt infinitely better and her original recipe is easily found on the internet-web should you prefer to follow the professional. I love her website But here is my version anyway.

You could dust with icing sugar before serving. Eat with cream, ice cream or custard. Or all three since it is Christmas time!

For some other simple last minute quick Christmas recipes  you could try making these simple  Peanut butter Christmas biscuits or our Cheat’s Christmas cookies or these Special Christmas Cookies for last minute gifts.

Mummy to three small boys


Quick chocolate Christmas cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Christmas
Serves: 1 large cake
  • 250 g dried prunes
  • 250 g raisins
  • 100 g dates
  • 125 g dried cranberries
  • 175 g butter
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 175 mls golden syrup
  • 125 mls of a mixture of port and whisky (don’t tell my husband I used his Laphroaig)
  • 1 orange (zest and juice)
  • ½ cup juice (I used apple)
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (I used cinnamon and small amount of five spice)
  • 2 Tablespoons of cocoa
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 200 g flour
  • 70 g ground almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • (you can substitute any combination of dried fruits)
  1. (nb - you can substitute any dried fruits from those specified: that is how I ended up with my own recipe!)
  2. In a medium saucepan/pot put the fruit including the orange zest and juice, butter, sugar, golden syrup, spices, cocoa and heat until this reaches a gentle boil. Simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and let it cool for at least half an hour before doing the next step.
  4. This fruit mixture is delicious on its own with ice cream or cream or both, since its Christmas. The fruit mixture could be prepared ahead. Simply re-heat gently before moving to the next stage.
  5. When the mixture is cooled add the beaten eggs, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well until well combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into a lined cake tin. I lined the bottom and sides of my tin. I made a well in the centre of the cake to enable to rise more evenly. It seemed to work!
  7. Bake in a 150 C or 300 F oven for about 1.5 hours, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean. If it is still a little bit gooey in the centre, all the better.

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