Gillian's Larder

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from the Cornish cooking shop.
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Continental Christmas cake

This scrummy cake is perfect for people who find the usual dark, soggy Christmas cake too heavy. Its moist, light in colour and texture, and oozes festive feeling. The recipe was given to me by Rita Howe, an old friend, who called it her Continental Christmas Cake. Delicious!

  • 285g/10oz plain flour—or half-and-half flour (gluten-free is fine) and ground almonds
  • 225g/8oz butter (or margarine)
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 225g/8oz mixed peel
  • 225g/8oz glac cherries
  • 115g/4oz chopped walnuts or brazil nuts
  • 115g/4oz flaked or chopped blanched almonds
  • 115g/4oz chopped tinned pineapple
  • The grated rind of a lemon
  • A level teaspoon baking powder
  • Half a (level) teaspoonful salt
  • Half a teaspoonful almond essence
  • Half a teaspoonful vanilla essence

Turn on the oven: 150C/300F. Butter your cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper. I like to chop some of the cherries in half, and some smaller, so that the cake is full of flashes of colour, with a nice surprise or two in every slice. Cream the butter and sugar; beat the eggs; grate the rind off your lemon; chop the pineapple and nuts; mix everything together, stirring in the lumpy ingredients last.

Fill the cake tin and bake for 2-2 hours (in a fan-assisted oven; longer with no fan) at 150C/300F.

Add marzipan, icing, toy snowmen as you wish!

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I'd love to hear how you get on! You can email me at: gillian@

Good luck!