Modern Christmas cake

Charlotte Morgan gives her cake an elegant touch with iced shooting stars and silver balls
By Charlotte Morgan
Modern Christmas cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 16
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 450 g soft margarine
  • 450 g soft brown sugar
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 450 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 110 g ground almonds
  • 1 lemon, rind and juice only
  • 1 orange, rind and juice only
  • 110 g glacĂ© cherries
  • 700 g mix of raisins, sultanas and currants
  • 110 g mixed candied peel

To decorate

  • 500 g ready-to-roll marzipan
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 500 g ready-to-roll icing

Tips and Suggestions

You can learn how to decorate this cake by looking at our How to make a modern Christmas cake gallery.


1. Grease and line a 23cm springform tin. Preheat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 4.

2. Beat the margarine until soft using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and cream the two together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs bit by bit, whisking and adding a little flour as you go to hold the mixture together. Do not overbeat whilst adding the eggs you just want to combine the ingredients.

4. Once all the egg has been added, add the rest of the flour and give the batter a good beating in your mixer.

5. Sprinkle the spices, ground almonds, lemon juice, and lemon and orange rind on top of the mixture and fold in until evenly distributed. Add a pinch of salt for luck.

6. You can toss all the dried fruit in a handful of flour before adding it to the mixture, as that helps prevent the fruit sinking. Fold the dried fruit into the mixture and then pour the mix into the lined tin.

7. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 2 hours. Depending on your oven, the fruit cake may take a little more or less time. Test the cake after 1.5 hours by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean, it's ready. Leave to cool in the tin.

8. To decorate: Knead the marzipan to soften and mould it into a square block. Using a rolling pin, press firmly down to flatten out the marzipan, keeping the pressure even. Turn the block 90 degrees and repeat.

9. Continue this process four or five times, then roll the marzipan out into a circle big enough to cover the entire cake. The marzipan should be the thickness of a pound coin.

10. Warm 3tbsp apricot jam in a microwave or saucepan. Do not bring to the boil. Pass warm jam through a sieve to remove clumps of fruit.

11. Brush the top and sides of your cake with jam. This will allow the marzipan to stick to it properly.

12. Dust your rolling pin with icing sugar and place it at the top end of the rolled-out marzipan. Gently roll it towards you, folding the marzipan over the rolling pin as you go.

13. Flop the marzipan over the cake, making sure it completely covers the sides. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut around the cake, leaving the leftover marzipan behind.

14. Gently brush water over the marzipan (including the sides) and repeat the exact same process as you did with the marzipan, but this time with a block of fondant icing. Reserve any loeftover icing for the decorative stars.

15. Trim the cake, again using a sharp knife, to complete.

16. To decorate, roll out some spare fondant icing and stamp out about 10 stars.

17. Following the shooting star pattern shown in the image above, secure each star on top of the cake using a little dab of warmed jam on the back.

18. For added elegance, mark the last star out with a border of silver balls and wrap a red bow around the cake.

Rate This Recipe