The 12 best Christmas cakes

Whichever way you slice it, you need a first-class cake at Christmas. Caroline Stacey and her little helpers put 12 contenders through a blind tasting


Carluccio's Panettone Tradizionale

Beautiful crackled, crusted top on a "blindingly good" panettone; fluffy, full of flavour, "fabulous". Comes in a stunning silver box. £13.95 (1kg) from branches of Carluccio's and www.carluccios.com

Tesco Finest Panettone

High-domed, sweet and aromatic, this is a fine, elegant and gorgeous panettone. It looks less rustic than the Harvey Nicks version, but there's not much to choose between them in taste. Hide the box and nobody need know where you bought it. £5.99 (750g) from Tesco

Nigella Lawson's Living Kitchen

A crime against Christmas cakes: "weird", "scary", "bitter", "grotesque". This dark-chocolate and fruit Christmas cake is all wrong. £25 (1kg) from department stores and independent food shops, www.nigella.com

Fiona Cairns Cinnamon and Orange Christmas Cake

A class act - this is the kind of cake that gives Christmas excess a good name. It's spicy, fruity and perfect in taste and texture. Even the icing isn't sickly. £24.99 (approximately 1.25kg) from most branches of Waitrose

The Village Bakery Organic Stollen

The marzipan filling is nicely spiced, but overall, this is "a bit puritanical for Christmas". Maybe we're not quite European enough to appreciate the subtleties of this stollen. £4.75 (400g), from www.village-bakery.com and independent stores

Harvey Nichols Panettone

This is an excellent panettone, with a fragrant citric kick. And it comes in a beautiful box.

£11.95 (1kg ) from Harvey Nichols in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Dublin

Columbine Cakes Luxury Christmas Cake

Pale and insignificant; a drier, crumbly cake.

£12,99 from House of Fraser World of Food, Birmingham and Croydon. 0870 1607270, www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Bettys Mincemeat Streusel Cake

Looks unassuming, but if granny likes Mr Kipling's, she'll love Bettys all the more. It's continentally spicy, light and crumbly - "don't eat it in bed".

£5.50 (480g) from Bettys Café Tea Rooms in Yorkshire or mail order, 0845 3453636, www.bettysbypost.com (delivery £7)

Asda Extra Special

Despite a slightly heavy hand with the booze, this is a respectable, good, traditional fruity cake with pleasing icing and subtle marzipan. £7.98

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Three Wise Men

A "journeyman cake" that leaves plenty of room for improvement. More spice and flavour are needed, and the icing is glycerine soft and tooth-achingly sweet. £18.99 (2kg) from Sainsbury's

Marks & Spencer Luxury Stollen

Gaudy - all that's missing are flashing lights and it could stand in as an anaemic tree. Underneath all the nuts and cherries there's some indifferent spiced bread and marzipan. £6.99 (685g) from Marks & Spencer

Duchy Originals Glacé Fruit Cake

Crumbly, "more than enough nuts for granny to choke on", and so restrained with the sugar there must be a worthy underlying message. Top better than bottom. £14.95 (800g) from Waitrose and Sainsbury's

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn