No December holiday is complete without a cookie jar chock full of delicious homemade rusks. These Christmas-cake rusks make the perfect gift for a loved one this festive season.

Christmas-cake rusks

 Serves: Makes 50
 Total Time: 1 hr + 6 hrs/overnight to dry


  • 300g salted butter
  • 185g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 580ml buttermilk
  • 60ml (¼ cup) spiced rum (optional)
  • 500g cake flour
  • 40g baking powder
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 500g wholewheat flour
  • 100g pecan nuts, roasted
  • 100g almond flakes, roasted
  • 290g fruit cake mix
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 120g marzipan, grated
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 200g glacé cherries




Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 40 x 30cm rectangular baking tin with baking paper. Set aside until needed.


Melt the butter and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.


Once cool, whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, and rum. Set aside.


Sift the cake flour, baking powder and spices together in a large bowl. Add the orange zest, wholewheat flour, toasted nuts, fruit cake mix, mixed peel, grated marzipan, cranberries and cherries. Mix until well combined.


Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined.


Transfer the dough to the prepared baking tin and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the slab comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in the tin.


Remove the slab from the tin and, using a serrated bread knife, cut the slab into 2,5cm-wide strips and then cut each strip into 8cm-long pieces. Arrange the rusks on baking trays and place them in the oven. Keeping the oven door ajar, set the temperature to 80˚C and leave the rusks to dry out for about 6 hours or overnight.


Store for 2 – 3 months in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe, styling, and photograph by Katelyn Allegra