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
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
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
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

    Sales Manager - Commercial Cable & Wire - UK

    £60,000 - £75,000: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the major Aer...

    ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain