An Alternative Christmas Cake

Not everyone likes fruit cake, that traditional stalwart of the Christmas afternoon tea. Or in my case, I love fruit cake but I’m not so keen on the rock hard icing and marzipan that usually accompanies it.  And, confession time, I didn’t manage to get my act together this year to make a Christmas cake in time for that slow maturation and booze feeding that makes it so delicious. So, with that in mind, I did a bit of experimenting this weekend and came up with a variation on my favourite Nigel Slater cake that ticks the boxes for Christmas flavours AND ease and speed of making.

Christmas Spiced Citrus Drizzle Cake


200g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter

3 eggs

zest of 2 tangerines, 1 orange and 1 lemon

200g self raising flour, sifted

knife point of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice

grating of nutmeg

125g demerara sugar

juice of 2 tangerines & 1 orange

Pre-heat oven to 175C. Grease and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper.


Beat sugar, butter and citrus zests together until light and fluffy. Add spices to the sifted flour (by knife point, I mean literally a pinch of the spices – you want this to be subtle but feel free to change the quantites to suit your own taste) Add eggs, one at a time with a tbsp of the flour & spice mix and then fold in the rest of the flour. Make sure all well mixed in.

Shows cake mix going into tin

Cake mix into tin

Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth over the top. Place in oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes – check with a skewer at 40 minutes.


Dissolve the demerara sugar into the citrus juices. Remove cake from oven and stab all over with a fork. Pour the sugar & juice mix over the hot cake, making sure to cover the whole cake.  Leave to cool and let the juice soak in. A lovely sugary crust will form on the top of the cake.

Sugar and tangerines

Cake topping


Remove cake from tin and decorate with sliced tangerines.


Picture of finished cake

Decorated cake, ready to eat!

Serve with cinnamon Chantilly cream – cream beaten with icing sugar, vanilla and a little cinnamon.

Keeps for 4 days if covered.