Honey saffron Christmas cake

Has all the flavours of Christmas without being too heavy and can be made at the last minute too

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:2 hrs 30 mins
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 613
  • fat 28g
  • saturates 11g
  • carbs 82g
  • sugars 67g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 9g
  • salt 0.6g


  • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • pinch saffron (about 1?4tsp strands)
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300g raisins
  • 300g sultanas
  • 100g natural-coloured glacé cherries, halved
  • 85g mixed peel
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 50g whole blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 50g walnuts pieces
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp honey


Jane says...
If you like a lighter cake at Christmas, then my honey saffron cake is for you. It’s still full of fruit and nuts but rather than being heavy with treacle and spice, there’s golden sugar and delicate saffron, which shine through in the amber colour and scented flavour. Honey and saffron are natural partners so I’ve drenched it in a boozy honey syrup, too! You can repeat the soaking part of the recipe twice more if you want a more intense flavour.


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a round, deep 20cm cake tin with two layers of baking parchment (see Knowhow, below). Tie a few sheets of newspaper around the outside of the tin, level with the top of the baking parchment.

  2. Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few mins. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.

  3. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and make a slight dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs, then cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then, while it’s still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.

  4. Mix the brandy and honey together and spoon over the cake. Wrap up well in foil and keep in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often.

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