Christmas Cake Tray Bake


For a quick and easy alternative to Christmas cake, try out this delicious tray bake

  • Rating
    (744 ratings)
    Rate this recipe
  • Serves 12

  • Prep time 20 mins

  • Cooking time 50 mins



  • 125g (4 1/2 oz) butter, softened
  • 125g (4 1/2oz ) golden caster sugar
  • 3 small eggs
  • 150g (5 oz) plain flour
  • 500g (11b 2oz) mixed dried fruits
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
to decorate
  • 1 tbsp warmed, sieved apricot jam
  • 300g (10oz) marzipan
  • 200g (7oz) royal icing sugar
  • silver sugar balls or cake decorations
you will need
  • a 7x11 inch rectangular tray bake tin, lined with baking parchment


If you love the flavours of traditional Christmas cake then you're going to adore this quick and easy cheat's version - perfect for when you don't have much time but still want to make something yourself to enjoy over the festivities. We've kept the classic icing of marzipan and fondant to add taste and texture - as well as to help preserve the sponge's softness. We like ours served up with a cup of tea around 4pm, you should give it a go and no doubt you'll agree, it's a rather nice way to spend an afternoon!


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C, 150C fan, gas 5.

  2. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until really light and creamy, gradually beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour, fruit and spice to give a soft dropping consistency.

  3. Bake for 45-50 mins until just firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely.

  4. Brush with apricot jam then roll out the marzipan on a lightly dusted work surface. Spread the top of the cake thinly with jam then press the marzipan on top.

  5. Make up the royal icing sugar as directed on the pack, then place in a small piping bag, snip the end and drizzle over the cake. Decorate with sprinkles then cut into slices.

This will keep for 2-3 weeks in a cake tin.

If liked, drizzle the united cake with a little brandy or rum to give extra flavour.

Find more Christmas cake recipes