Christmas cake is a type of fruitcake served at Christmas time in the UK, Ireland, Japan, Philippines and many Commonwealth countries.
A Christmas cake may be light or dark, crumbly-moist to sticky-wet, spongy to heavy, leavened or unleavened, shaped round, square or oblong as whole cakes, fairy cakes, or petit fours, with marzipan, icing, glazing, dusting with icing sugar, or plain, etc.
A particular favourite of many is the traditional Scottish Christmas cake, the Whisky Dundee. As the name implies, the cake originated in Dundee and is made with Scotch whisky. It is a light and crumbly cake, and light on fruit and candied peelüonly currants, raisins, sultanas and cherries. This Christmas cake is particularly good for people who don't like very rich and moist cakes. As with all fruitcakes, the almonds (or other nuts) can be omitted by people who don't like them or those with severe nut allergies.
At the other end of the Christmas cake continuum, the apple creme Christmas cake is a rich mix of finely sliced apples, raisins and other fruit, with eggs, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream.
In the middle of the spectrum is the mincemeat Christmas cake, which is simply any traditional or vegetarian mincemeat mixed with flour, eggs, etc., to transform it into a cake batter; or it can also be steamed as a Christmas pudding.
Coins were also occasionally added to Christmas Cakes as well as Christmas Puddings as good luck Touch Pieces. The usual choices were silver 3d piece, or sixpences, sometimes wrapped in grease proof paper packages.
In Northern England, Christmas cake, as with other types of fruit cake, is often eaten with cheese, such as Wensleydale.
In Japan, Christmas cake, traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve, is simply a sponge cake, frosted with whipped cream, often decorated with strawberries, and usually topped with Christmas chocolates or other seasonal fruit. In the Philippines, Christmas cakes are bright rich yellow pound cakes with macerated nuts or fruitcakes of the British fashion. Both are soaked in copious amounts of brandy or rum mixed with a simple syrup of palm sugar and water. Traditionally, civet musk or ambergris flavoring is added, but rosewater or orange flower water is more common now, as civet musk and ambergris have become very expensive. These liquor-laden cakes can usually stay fresh for many months provided they are handled properly.