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Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.

This blog is definitely for those with a sweet tooth! With no time to waste, let’s start with one of the show piece, destined to arrive on millions of Christmas tables coated with flaming brandy.

Christmas pudding

It’s just as well we only eat this quite scrumptious pudding once a year, otherwise my waist would be twice the size it is. Christmas Pudding with lashings of brandy butter is hard to beat. Personal infatuations aside, a couple of ideas on where to find the star of the show.

Meg Rivers

Meg Rivers describe themselves as the bakers of happiness. What a great place to start. This second generation family business is based in Shipston in Warwickshire on the very northern edge of the Cotswolds.

They do a hand-made 800g Christmas Pudding for £17.50. They use fine French brandy (rather than the more commonly used stout) for a lighter taste. They also use Bramley apples and whole, fresh oranges and lemons give extra juice and zest. They are baked slowly overnight for the perfect finish.

If you are indifferent to the taste of brandy, they also do a gin version for £18.00... not heard of that before!

In the absence of other local producers, I have cast the net further afield, but staying faithful to supporting artisan, small batch suppliers:


The business, based in Chelmsford in Essex, was started by Sandra McLaren and is now run by Duncan, Sandra’s son. Her recipe, after much happy experimentation I am sure, cuts out the suet and much of the flour. Instead, Sharon’s recipe uses butter, oranges, lemons, prunes and almonds, drenched in French brandy and Guinness…steamed for eight hours and then left to mature for 6 months. Mouth-watering! Their Christmas puddings won a Great Taste award in 2020, AND have described by the FT as possibly the best Christmas Puddings on the planet.

Christmas puddings are available in 3 sizes from 450g for £15 through to 1kg for £30, and they sell miniatures too (2 for £8), for those who want to extend the pleasure without the hassle of a second large pudding.. dangerous I know…but then Christmas only comes once a year..

Delivery is £3.95 for orders of less than £70.


Bettys, based in Yorkshire, was founded in 1919 by a Swiss baker than emigrated to England, married a local girl and set up his own shop. The story is a great one and is set out in full on the website. Today, Betty’s has 6 tea rooms and a successful online business selling cakes, biscuits and a range of other goodies.

Their Christmas puddings are £9 (150g) - £24 (800g). You can buy mince pies (£18 for a box of 12). Deliveries of up to £2kg cost £4.95. £6.95 if the order is above £2kg.

Christmas cake

A pimped-up fruit cake, its ideal for the season, usually covered in marzipan and white icing and all manner of snowman figures, reindeer, Christmas trees and so on. The especially good news is that the cake will last long into January, and can therefore be a regular teatime treat to get us through the darkest winter evenings before the 6 nations starts.

I have found options if you want a fully decorated cake delivered to your door. As a random option, I have also included a couple of fruit cake providers if you are up for finishing your cake off at home.

Meg Rivers

Mum remembers receiving delicious Meg Rivers cakes from happy customers, back in the day – so a great reason to give them a go.

Meg Rivers charge £45.50 for a 2kg Christmas cake (and it is worth mentioning, £26.00 for a 1.1kg fruit cake if you fancy the DIY decoration option). Delivery £5.50 for orders under £100 and there lots of other cakes, brownies and tray bakes to tempt you if you are minded to avoid the delivery charge.

At the easy end of the spectrum, they do a 4 inch 500g Christmas cake for £24.


Bettys get back in the act here with a great range of Christmas cakes. At the value end of the range you can buy a 500g iced Christmas cake with soft icing (in a tin) for £22, or upscaling considerably on the weight, £55 for a 1.5kg version.

They also do a range of cakes topped with royal icing – they look fantastic and vary in price from £33 for a 1kg cake to £80 for a 21cm diameter 2.4kg cake. Talk about lasting into January – this mother of all cakes will see us through to the spring!

Fruit Cakes

This is a great subject, Not only are we talking about Christmas cakes on a budget (simply add marzipan and icing and you are there), we are also talking the sort of cake that it is lovely to have in the larder throughout the year. In a good tin, they will last and last.

Moores Biscuits

I have to start with Moores Biscuits, even though they are Dorset based and therefore a little off patch. The reason? There is a bit of family history. For years my aunt, who has lived in Dorset all her life, would buy my father a tin of Moores Dorset Knobs for Christmas. It was one of the gifts that was therefore a staple for many Christmas snack suppers. Years later, I was looking for fruit cakes online and I eventually tracked down Moores and imagine my delight when I made the connection with a bit of family history.

And the cakes are delicious and extremely good value. They arrive in a tin and they are vacupacked inside. I may have slightly over-ordered last Christmas and one of their cakes has been sitting in the larder for the best part of a year. I finally got round to opening it last week and it is still and fresh and delicious as the others I brought at the time. Add a bit of creamy stilton for a guilty snack or put the kettle on. I am ready to go!

The basic fruit cakes with added brandy are just £12.95 for 1.2kg. Delivery is on the expensive side at £6.95 if the order value is under £50, and free thereafter. They do a rum version for £14.95, and there are plenty of yummy options – biscuits, granola and of course the infamous knobs – if you are looking to get up above £50.

Cake Art by Julia

Finally in the fruit cake options, I am back on local territory with Cake Art by Julia, based in Marlborough. Julia Bowes is an artist and cake maker. She combines her skills as an artist with her passion for cake baking to produce very impressive looking cakes – you only have to look at the amazing welsh dragon on her home page!

Julia will do anything to order, including Christmas cakes, but to give you an idea of her pricing, she charges £60 for a 6 inch rich fruit cake (16 slices), £70 for an 8 inch one (32 slices). Collection is by appointment, or she charges 50p per mile for delivery.


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