Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries

Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries

Hate using royal icing? Looking for a different way to decorate your Christmas Cake? Look no further! Scroll down for my Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries.

Decorating a fruit cake without icing

If you’ve ever tried making your own Christmas Cake at home you will know the trials and tribulations of trying to decorate said cake with marzipan and royal icing. Every year I leave it until the last minute and more often than not I sit down to decorate the cake on Christmas Eve.Some years I’ve been pretty chilled out come Christmas Eve. Other year’s I’ve been so behind on wrapping and packing, running late for the annual Christmas Eve get together at a friends house that the moment I’ve taken the royal icing out of the packet it’s all started to go wrong.It’s easy enough to get the marzipan on. That usually goes OK. I’ll have a lovely smooth finish until the second I lay the rolled out royal icing on top.

One year I decided to cut out snowflakes from the icing. Another year I attempted to model Santa Claus stuck in a chimney. After painstakingly covering the edge of the cakes with tiny rectangular “bricks” I had to rush the big man. It was a fun, novelty cake but definitely didn’t look professional. Last year I was just too damn tired to even contemplate icing my cake. I left the marzipan and icing in the cupboard and instead decided a “naked” Christmas Cake was the way forward. If you’ve experienced this frustration then keep reading because I’ve got the solution for you!

This Naked Christmas Cake looks like a decoration with glazed fruit and nuts on top. Get the recipe at Supper in the Suburbs!

Simplicity is key

To decorate my “naked” Christmas fruitcake, I used some warm apricot jam to stick whole and halved nuts to the top of the cake along with a glace cherry or two. I then brushed it again with the warmed up jam to give a shiny glaze. It had much the same finish as a Dundee cake but with added festive flair! You can arrange the nuts and cherries in any order or pattern you want. I went for simple concentric circles with the cherries in the middle almost forming a red nose, just like Rudolph’s.

The decoration took all of 5 minutes. The hardest part was melting the jam without burning it (note to self don’t leave it in the microwave) and the most time-consuming part was picking out the best looking nuts to top my cake! We don’t want any old bashed up almonds and walnuts on our Christmas Cake now do we! Just because it’s a naked cake doesn’t mean it can’t be a show stopper!

At such a busy time of year I think it’s important to remember that actually, simplicity is key. So long as there’s a slice of Christmas Cake to great your guests I’m sure they won’t mind whether it’s been iced with a snowy mountain-scape, a rather strange-looking Santa Claus or a few pretty nuts and cherries. After all, they’re not visiting for the cake but to spend time with someone they love. That’s what Christmas is about after all!

This Naked Christmas Cake looks like a decoration with glazed fruit and nuts on top. Get the recipe at Supper in the Suburbs!

The recipe

This Naked Christmas Cake looks like a decoration with glazed fruit and nuts on top. Get the recipe at Supper in the Suburbs!

Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries

Emma Walton
Forget the worries of royal icing this Christmas and make this simple Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries.
4.41 from 10 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Decorating time 20 mins
Total Time 5 hrs 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 16 people
Calories 638.75 kcal


To decorate


To make the cake

  • A day or two before you intend to make the cake, put all of the fruit into a bowl and pour over the brandy.
  • Cover with Clingfilm and leave the fruit to rehydrate.
  • The day you wish to bake your cake, begin by beating the butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Slowly add the eggs to the mixture one at a time ensuring they are fully combined before adding the next one.
  • Next, fold in the flour, chopped almonds, cinnamon and then fruit (with any juices left in the bowl) and treacle.
  • Line a cake tin (roughly 9” x 3 ½”), pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 4hrs and 45 mins on Gas Mark 1.
  • Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
  • Over the next few days drizzle a tbsp of brandy over it each day.

To decorate

  • Melt 2 tbsp of apricot jam and brush over the cake.
  • Gently push the nuts and glace cherries on to the cake in any design you wish using the sticky jam as glue.
  • Leave the nuts and cherries to set on to the cake.
  • Finally, heat a little more jam and brush over the top of the nuts and cherries to give a shiny finish.


Calories: 638.75kcalCarbohydrates: 93.24gProtein: 8.34gFat: 20.75gSaturated Fat: 10.56gTrans Fat: 0.62gCholesterol: 110.06mgSodium: 184.18mgPotassium: 574.37mgFiber: 4.27gSugar: 59.2gVitamin A: 591.21IUVitamin C: 2.24mgCalcium: 96.13mgIron: 3.45mg
Keyword almonds, apricot jam, brandy, butter, caster sugar, cherries, cinnamon, currants, dark treacle, eggs, flour, mixed peel, pecan, raisins, sultanas, walnut
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Plan B

Of course if decorating the cake with glazed cherries and nuts goes wrong it’s probably time to make another big batch of mulled wine or to pour yourself a brandy! I won’t tell, I promise!

How to scale up (or down) a cake recipe

If this cake is a little too big (or small) for your needs then do not worry! You can find out how to scale this recipe up or down here.

More festive fruit cakes

If you like this cake you might also like some of these other fruity cakes that are perfect for Christmas.

24 thoughts on “Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries”

  • I’m pretty much the only one who likes Christmas Cake in our house so I seldom make it as otherwise I’m still eating it in March! I fancied doing a less righ Cherry & Sultana Cake this year so this ould be the ideal way to decorate it.

    • Hi Janey

      You could absolutely top with the glazed nuts now and leave until Christmas (wrapped in greaseproof and cling film and stored in a cool dark place) but there are a couple of reasons I’d avoid doing this and decorate a day or two before I intend to serve:

      1. Because you need to wrap it in greaseproof and cling film before storing, you risk your design getting stuck to the greaseproof and it looking a bit messy.

      2. It stops you feeding the cake with extra booze! (Which may or may not be a concern to you).

      Hope that helps!

  • Being from Canada and having an electric stove I’m not sure of which temperature “Gas Mark 1″ refers. Would it be possible to give either Celsius or Fahrenheit temps? Also I’m I save to presume that your 9″ X 3” pan is a loaf pan???

    Thanks for the additional info. I am now going to set my fruits to soak….I’ve chosen Dark Rum..

    • Hi Dee. Thanks for your comment.

      Gas 1 is equivalent to 140C or 275F 🙂 I will update the main recipe when I get a chance.

      The tin is a round, 9 inch tin that is 3 inches deep (not a loaf pan!!!) Hope that clears up any confusion

      Also good choice on the dark rum! We’ve used rum a few times over the years and it works really well!

  • You left baking powder/soda out of the ingredients. Are they not needed in the recipe? I really want to try this recipe this Xmas.

    • Hi there, thanks for the comment. No baking soda or baking powder is needed in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it! Do send a picture when you’ve made it!

  • Hi there have just tried this today but the apricot is still sticky have I done something wrong

    • Hi Chris

      The apricot does stay a little sticky just like any glaze. Just keep it in an air tight tin until you want to serve and it will be fine.

  • I wanted to learn how to make sure the decorations are stable and do not fall over when on cut it. Any idea how to make them all glue tightly?

  • I used a wonderful recipe from an amazing CANADIAN cookbook called OUT OF OLD NOVA SCOTIA KITCHENS. It is a recipe which yielded 3, 9 x 5 loaf cakes and 2, 8 inches round beauties….My round cakes look very much like your cakes in this article. I am delighted because of the decorating treatment. It is perfect for my round cakes, and can easily be modified to complete the appeal of the loaf cakes. I really did not want to use Fondant or Marzipan to cover the cakes and agonized over a buttercream alternative. Then I happened upon your “SUPPER IN THE SUBURBS”…. EUREKA!!!

  • Hi. I want to make several smaller cakes using this recipe. If I do this is what would the cooking time be for this ie: this recipe divided into 2 smaller tins.
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Jane. How small are we talking?

      If you’re going as low as 6 inches I would check after 3 hours and go by eye / inserting a skewer.

      I am working on converting the recipe into different sizes but it very much depends on the size and even shape of your tin.

  • I was wondering how much brandy is “a glass” . Does this recipe call for 2 x 50 ml… or is it 100ml per glass?

  • Hi there. This looks great. How long will the fruit and glaze “keep” after applied? And can this cake be frozen? Thanks!

    • Hi Denis

      You can freeze the cake without the decoration no problem.

      The decoration doesn’t really go off as such because it’s just sugar and nuts but I’d recommend making sure it’s well covered as the sticky glaze will attract nasties and dust which could cause contamination. Id probably want to aim to eat the cake within 5-7 days.

      All the best


  • Can anybody advise of the correct baking time please? The introduction indicates 4.hrs 45 min yet the recipe says 6 hrs 20 min. I’m inclined to believe the 1st timing. Help please. Baking this cake for my husband’s birthday next week.lll

    • Hi Alexandra thanks for flagging. Youre correct its the shorter time. I hope he enjoys it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.