We tasted 8 Christmas cakes looking for rich, dense cakes that were packed with fruit and flavour.

Our search included cakes from supermarkets and also from purveyors of premium cakes. What did our taste panel find?

Another slice please!

Ruth Pretty Christmas Cake

Ruth Pretty Christmas Cake 1.2kg

  • Price: $56
  • If you like red glacé cherries you’ll love this cake. It was full of them ... along with loads of sultanas, currants, raisins, pineapple and apricots. Our tasters enjoyed this cake’s moist texture, with one commenting that it had “a good balance between crumbly and sticky”. Presented in a ribbon-tied gift box, this cake was the most beautifully presented of the cakes in our tasting.
  • Buy it from: Moore Wilson, Ballantynes, Kirkcaldie and Stains, or online at www.ruthpretty.co.nz.


Adams Bruce Full Fruit Christmas Cake

Adams Bruce Full Fruit Christmas Cake 1kg

  • Price: $12.38
  • With only 25 percent fruit, the Adams Bruce cake was more “cakey” than “fruity”. If you see this as a good thing, as some of our tasters did, you’ll like this cake. It was a tricky one to slice – use a hot sharp knife for best results. It’s nothing fancy but is a good “everyday” cake to have with a cup of tea.
  • Buy it from: Supermarkets nationwide.


Thornalley's Classic Fruit Cake

Thornalley's Classic Fruit Cake 1.2kg

  • Price: $47.95
  • This traditional dark and un-iced cake was studded with almonds for decoration. The Thornalley’s cake contained a pleasing range of fruits and nuts: the usual raisins, currants and sultanas plus a little ginger, pineapple and papaya. You could also see and taste the nuts. It had a good, firm texture that was easy to slice and held together well. Being presented in a tin makes it a good gift option.
  • Buy it from: Specialty food stores.


Pandoro Christmas Log

Pandoro Christmas Log 580g (approx)

  • Price: $33.60
  • Cellophane wrapped and tied with a ribbon, this cake from upmarket bakery Pandoro was a pricey $33.60 for a slender 580g log. Some tasters thought this cake would benefit from a little more spice and others remarked favourably on the generous fruit content – lots of raisins and cherries. One taster also commented that its layer of fondant icing was “just right, not too thick”.
  • Buy it from: Pandoro bakeries in Auckland and Wellington.


No thanks!

Pam's Iced Christmas Cake

Pam’s Iced Christmas Cake 1kg

  • Price: $11.26
  • Our tasters weren’t taken with this commercial offering from Pam’s. Light on flavour and fruit, and even lighter on nuts, there was little to give this cake the dense fruity texture you’re after in a Christmas cake. Some tasters commented favourably on its icing. It had a good even layer of nice and soft white stuff, with almond icing underneath. Perhaps pick off the icing and leave the cake behind?
  • Buy it from: New World or Pak'n Save supermarkets nationwide.


Aunt Betty's Christmas Iced Fruit Cake

Aunt Betty's Christmas Iced Fruit Cake 1kg

  • Price: $12.49
  • Although this cake contained plenty of dried fruit, it was mostly the boring kind: raisins and sultanas. It was a moist but crumbly textured cake that fell apart when sliced. The icing on the Aunt Betty’s cake was the firmest of all the cakes we tasted with some tasters noting it as being “tacky” and “chewy”. Not a favourite with our tasters.
  • Buy it from: The Warehouse stores and supermarkets nationwide.


Ernest Adams Double Iced Rich Fruit Christmas Cake

Ernest Adams Double Iced Rich Fruit Christmas Cake 1kg

  • Price: $13.92
  • This Kiwi classic has been appearing at Christmas time since ... forever. We weren’t expecting a luxurious cake at $13.92 but did hope for more from this popular supermarket brand. Our tasters remarked on its dry texture and the limited range of dried fruit it contained: sultanas and currants could be detected, though the ingredient list claimed the presence of glacé ginger and cherries.
  • Buy it from: Supermarkets nationwide.


Note: prices for all cakes are what we paid in November 2011. 

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