Christmas Cake Tray Bake Recipe

(3196 ratings)

For a quick and easy alternative to Christmas cake, try out this Christmas Cake Tray Bake. It's packed with all the delicious fruit you'd expect and is so quick!

Christmas Cake Tray Bake
(Image credit: ©Charlie Richards/Future)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time50 mins approximately

If you love the flavours of traditional Christmas cake then you're going to adore this quick and easy cheat's version - a Christmas Cake Tray Bake that is perfect for when you don't have much time but still want to make something yourself to enjoy over the festivities. 

Like traditional Christmas cake decorating ideas, we've kept the classic icing of marzipan and fondant in this recipe to add taste and texture - as well as to help preserve the sponge's softness. You can drizzle the cake with a little brandy or rum to add extra flavour, or keep it booze-free for a family-friendly Christmas dessert.

You will need a 7x11 inch rectangular tray bake tin, lined with baking parchment, for this recipe.

Once made, your Christmas Cake Tray Bake will keep for between 2 and 3 weeks if stored in an airtight cake tin.



  • 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


  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. Then gradually beat in the eggs. 
  3. Fold in the flour, fruit and spice to give a soft dropping consistency.
  4. Bake for 45-50 mins until just firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Samuel Goldsmith

Samuel has a BSc in Food from the University of Birmingham and nearly 16 years after he began his professional food career, his work has featured in national and international publications including Waitrose Food, Australian Delicious, and the LAD Bible Group. 

He was also a nutritional consultant for BBC’s Eat Well for Less. Throughout his career he has specialised in recipe writing and has produced many recipes for woman&home. Samuel is also Co-Vice Chair of the Guild of Food Writers and a Trustee of 91 Ways CIC.