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.

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 roayl 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.

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

Past decorating disasters and triumphs

One year I decided to cut out snowflakes from the icing. I did this before transferring to the cake and ended up with strange warped cut outs that didn’t resemble snowflakes in the slightest. Another year I decided 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. To dress it up a little 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!

Simplicity is key

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!

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.

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 mountainscape, 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!
4.5 from 4 votes

Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries

Forget the worries of royal icing this Christmas and make this simple Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries.

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword almonds, apricot jam, brandy, butter, caster sugar, cherries, cinnamon, currants, dark treacle, eggs, flour, mixed peel, pecan, raisins, sultanas, walnut
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Decorating time 20 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16 people
Author Emma Walton


  • 300 grams dark brown sugar
  • 300 grams butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 400 grams plain flour
  • 400 grams sultanas
  • 300 grams currants
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 150 grams mixed peel
  • 100 grams glace cherries
  • 100 grams chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp dark treacle
  • 2 glasses brandy plus extra for feeding

To decorate

  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • walnut halves
  • whole almonds
  • pecan halves
  • glace cherries


To make the cake

  1. A day or two before you intend to make the cake, put all of the fruit into a bowl and pour over the brandy.
  2. Cover with Clingfilm and leave the fruit to rehydrate.
  3. The day you wish to bake your cake, begin by beating the butter and sugar until creamy.
  4. Slowly add the eggs to the mixture one at a time ensuring they are fully combined before adding the next one.
  5. Next, fold in the flour, chopped almonds, cinnamon and then fruit (with any juices left in the bowl) and treacle.
  6. Line a cake tin (roughly 9” x 3 ½”), pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 6hrs and 20 mins on Gas Mark 1.
  7. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
  8. Over the next few days drizzle a tbsp of brandy over it each day.

To decorate

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

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!

Pin it for later

Christmas is just a month away! Don’t get caught short. Whilst this recipe can be made the week before, it’s better if you make it as soon as possible and top it up with a little booze. In the meantime, make sure you’ve got this pinned for the moment you need it.

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

15 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?

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