American light Christmas cake


  • 350g glacé cherries
  • 1 x 200g can pineapple pieces in natural juice
  • 350g no-soak dried apricots 
  • 100g whole blanched almonds, chopped
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 350g sultanas
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 5 large eggs


  • whole blanched almonds
  • glacé cherries, halved


  • 100g icing sugar, sifted

American light Christmas cake


If you find a classic Christmas cake is a little heavy, this should suit you better. It is very, very important to drain and dry the pineapple well; if it is wet, the cake may become mouldy. If you would like to decorate the cake with almond paste and royal icing, do not decorate with almonds and cherries before baking


MAKES 1 x 23cm CAKE

Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Grease a 23cm deep round cake tin, and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper.

  1. Cut each cherry into quarters, rinse and drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry both the cherries and pineapple very thoroughly on absorbent kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into raisin-sized pieces.

  2. Place the prepared fruits and nuts in a large mixing bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well for 1 minute until smooth. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched whole almonds and halved glacé cherries.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 2¼ hours until golden brown. Insert a skewer to test – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. It may be necessary after 1 hour to cover it loosely in foil to prevent it getting too brown.

  4. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.

  5. You can glaze the cake, if liked. Mix the sifted icing sugar with enough water to give a thin icing and drizzle over the top of the cake.

PREPARING AHEAD - This cake can be made now and kept in the larder, covered with foil. This freezes well for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature for 12 hours.

IN THE AGA - Stand a grill rack in its lowest position in the roasting tin and place the cake on top. Slide the roasting tin on to the lowest set of runners in the roasting oven, with the cold plain shelf above on the second set of runners. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes until a pale golden brown – the colour of a perfect victoria sandwich. Watch very carefully. Then transfer the roasting tin and cake to the simmering oven and cook for a further 2½ hours until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.


This recipe is taken from: Christmas Collection (Headline)