Lyle’s Christmas Cake

  • Preparation Time: 1½ hours
  • Cooking Time: 3½ hours
  • Serves: 12-16
A Christmas cake decorated with fondant icing snowflakes on a stand, a generous slice cut

There are still a couple of weeks left to feed this lovely cake with whisky or brandy if you want to make it for this year! Rich and dark, it’s also excellent for a christening cake, or just as a cut-and-come-again cake.



  1. You will need a 20cm round cake tin, greased and the base and sides lined with a double thickness of baking parchment, plus a double thick layer for covering the top, a 25.5cm round cake board, a 6cm snowflake cutter, ribbon and glass-headed pins.
  2. Combine whisky or brandy, orange juice and zest, vanilla, 1tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup and the mixed spice in a large saucepan. Shake to mix.  Add raisins, cranberries, prunes, cherries, candied peel and nuts. Stir, bring to just under the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Gently cook for 5min, stirring once or twice, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the fruit has plumped up. Cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120° Fan, 275°F, Gas 1 with the shelf in the middle. In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together butter, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Dark Muscovado Sugar. Add flour, eggs and salt and mix until smooth. Stir in the fruit mixture until well combined.
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface with the back of the spoon and make a gentle hollow in the middle to prevent the cake peaking too much. Bake for 3 hours, then cover with the parchment paper. Bake for a further 20-30min or until the centre springs back when lightly touched.
  5. Cool the cake in its tin for 30min. Turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the paper. If you have the time you can feed the cake with whisky or brandy at intervals over a month to enrich it. Poke holes in the cake with a fine skewer or cocktail stick and drip about 2tbsp alcohol over the top each time. Keep wrapped in foil in between, and store in an airtight container where it will last for up to 3 months.
  6. Transfer the cake to the board. Heat jam and water in a small pan for 2-3min, stir to combine, then brush all over the cake. Roll out marzipan on a surface dusted with Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar to slightly larger than the cake. Cover the cake, cut away excess and leave out to dry. One day later, repeat using the fondant.
  7. Thinly re-roll excess fondant. Stamp out snowflakes with the cutter, dipping it into a little Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar each time. Use the edible ‘glue’ to stick the snowflakes around the edge of the cake. Alternatively mix 1tbsp Tate & Lyle Icing Sugar with a drop of water to make a glue. Stick silver balls onto snowflakes. Leave to dry for a minimum of 2 hours before storing in an airtight container.
  8. Wind the ribbon around the base of the cake, cut to fit, secure with pins and serve.

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