The term Christmas cake first appears in England in the nineteenth century. Before then, recipes for this type of cake in cookery books were simply titled “a good cake,” “a good cake for Christmas,” or just fruitcake or plum cake. These early cakes were never iced.
The first iced Christmas cake appears on the twelfth day of Christmas under the name Twelfth cake. Popular from the mideighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, it was more bread-like than cake-like, was not as ric