Alternative Christmas cake

If you don’t want a traditional Christmas cake, or you left it too late to make one, here are two alternatives

I am really fond of making Christmas cakes and look forward to making them each year. There is something immensely comforting about the aroma of warm spices in the kitchen while the cake is baking. I have lovely childhood memories of helping my mum decorate the Christmas cake.

Steeped in such yuletide nostalgia, I recently asked my eldest son (14) if he had any special memories of Christmas baking and food, involving me, needless to say. He thought for a while and replied “Nah.”

I am hoping his response says more about the modern teenager than my merit as a mother. Could it be that I have over-exposed my children to the whole ritual and rarity of preparing seasonal food, causing their memories of that warm fuzziness to blank? And when is it too late to start manufacturing memories for one’s children?

Personally, I love traditional Christmas cake, but not everybody feels the same about it. My children favour chocolate cake – even though they don’t seem to remember making or decorating it. The orange and almond cake makes a lovely alternative Christmas cake, made all the more luscious by the layer of marzipan at the centre.


How you decide to decorate your Christmas cake makes all the difference between something ordinary and a festive, show-stopping spectacle. I recently saw a cake which had battery-operated LED lights embedded in the icing – the mind boggles.

FOOD STYLING: Leona Humphreys,