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

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
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

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?