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The best (still boozy) alternatives to Christmas pudding

by Malou Herkes

published on 26 November 2018

Not everyone is a fan of the classic Christmas pudding so why force it? Stick with the boozy element but try something a little new with our pick of the best boozy cakes and puddings to enjoy this festive season. These recipes are a wonderful celebration of Christmas flavours and ingredients. Nigella shares her five-spice and ginger bundt cake, Ottolenghi has a brandy, prune and walnut number and we’re drooling over The Ethicurean’s Milk Stout and Chocolate Steamed Pudding. Or for something a little different, Jamie’s limoncello twist on the classic tiramisu is so worth the effort. Whatever it is, we’ve got you covered.

Prune Cake with Armagnac and Walnuts

Prune Cake with Armagnac and Walnuts

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Goh
from Sweet

Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Prune Cake recipe from Sweet combines brandy and walnuts in a decadent festive dessert. 

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Goh

Brandied Plum Cake

Brandied Plum Cake

by Nadine Levy-Redzepi

Nadine Levy-Redzepi’s brandied plum cake from her cookbook, Downtime is a cross between a cake, crumble and pudding. As Nadine says, “It’s the kind of thing I serve when I know we will be sitting around the table for some time after the main course, talking, drinking wine, maybe having a little cheese.” Sounds like classic Christmas Day territory to us.

Downtime: Deliciousness at Home
Find this recipe in


Six-Minute Sloe Gin Jellies

Six-Minute Sloe Gin Jellies

by Sarah Rainey

These festive ruby-coloured desserts are “seeeriously alcoholic” says author Sarah Rainey. Studded with blackberries, the sloe gin and cranberry-based jellies will certainly warm the spirits. 

Six-Minute Baileys Cheesecake

Six-Minute Baileys Cheesecake

by Sarah Rainey

Turn the quintessential festive booze into a crowd-pleasing cheesecake with Sarah Rainey’s fast and simple recipe. Prefect for getting ahead on your dessert for the big day, it’ll keep for up to two months in the freezer.

Boozy Caribbean Pear Cake

Boozy Caribbean Pear Cake

by Roxy Pope & Ben Pook

Pear and dark rum take pride of place in this spin on a classic ginger cake. Packed with warming cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, this is a great vegan Christmas pudding alternative.

Quince, Brandy and Walnut Trifle: A Twist on a Charlotta

Quince, Brandy and Walnut Trifle: A Twist on a Charlotta

by Georgina Hayden
from Taverna

This Cypriot-inspired trifle is layered with a brandy and syrup-soaked sponge, poached fruit in jelly, chopped spoon sweets, custard, and whipped cream studded with gold leaf-decorated walnuts.

Walnut Cake with Brandy (tarta de nuez con brandy)

Walnut Cake with Brandy (tarta de nuez con brandy)

by Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden’s Asturian walnut cake spiked with brandy syrup, making for a nutty, boozy and moist dessert.

Cheat’s Christmas Apricot Trifle

Cheat’s Christmas Apricot Trifle

Mary Berry’s cheat’s Christmas apricot trifle is an easy, make-ahead dessert from Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites.

plum pudding bombe

Plum Pudding Bombe from Perfect Host by Felicity Cloake

Plum Pudding Bombe from Felicity Cloake’s Perfect Host is the perfect alternative to Christmas pudding. This delicious, chocolate dessert recipe is perfect for entertaining a crowd and can be made a few weeks in advance and kept in the freezer.

Buy a copy of Perfect Host here. 

milk stout chocolate pudding

Milk Stout and Chocolate Steamed Pudding from The Ethicurean Cookbook by The Ethicurean

From The Ethicurean Cookbook, this Milk Stout and Chocolate Steamed Pudding recipe packs a huge punch of flavour. Dark cocoa enhanced with a deep beer flavour, combined in a pudding and served with lashings of double cream? We think it should be a new British classic.

Get The Ethicurean Cookbook here.

steamed marmalade sponge

Steamed Marmalade Sponge from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly

For a tasty (but nevertheless boozy) alternative to traditional Christmas pudding, try this moist, light, rich and warming Steamed Marmalade Sponge from Justin Gellatly’s Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding.

Buy Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding here.

nigella cider bundt

Cider & Five-Spice Bundt Cake from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson

This beautiful Cider & Five-Spice Bundt Cake from Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella is deceptively simple to make and looks super impressive. Perfect for Christmas.

Buy your copy of Simply Nigella here


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