Winter spiced bake

Full of Christmassy flavours, this is much lighter than a traditional fruit cake. As you mix in the ingredients you can feel the smells and flavours of Christmas fill your kitchen. So prepare for magic early this winter with this superb little treat.

Young girl reaching for some delicious cake on a table
  • Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 30-37 minutes (cooking time)
  • Serves Cuts into 10 slices


  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 4 tbsp boiling water
  • 15g/4oz sultanas
  • 55g/2oz glacé cherries, roughly chopped

Sponge base

  • 140g/5oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4oz soft light muscovado sugar
  • 115g/4oz soft margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Crumble topping

  • 50g/1¾ oz plain flour
  • 15g/½ oz porridge oats
  • 15g/½ oz light muscovado sugar
  • 25g/1oz soft margarine
  • 55g/2oz marzipan, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds



  1. Add the teabag to a bowl and spoon over the boiling water. Mix in the sultanas and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm/8in shallow square tin with a large square of non-stick baking paper, snipping the paper diagonally into the corners of the tin and pressing the paper down so that the base and sides of the tin are lined.
  3. To make the sponge base, add the flour, sugar, margarine, eggs, ground spice and almond extract to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Drain the sultanas and mix any remaining tea into the sponge mix. Spoon into the lined tin and spread level.
  4. Scatter the drained sultanas and cherries over the sponge.
  5. To make the crumble topping add the flour, oats, sugar and margarine to a bowl and rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Scatter over the fruit then bake for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with the marizpan and almonds and cook for 5-7 minutes more until lightly browned on top.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin then lift the cake out, peel away the paper and cut into ten bars. Finally, sit down with a steaming mug of tea, coffee or even hot chocolate, and enjoy.