|My mother's Christmas cake|
the earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast. Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter' or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes. . from Wikipedia.
I am guessing that the original Christmas fruit cakes were not highly decorated, but in more modern times, cakes are decorated with icing and have become works of art - traditional and contemporary designs.
This snippet of information does not flow, but it seems so ludicrous I need to add it here.... In Japan, when traditionally women married very young, unmarried Japanese girls over the age of 25 were called "Christmas cakes" - past their prime after the age of 25, as a Christmas cake would be after the 25th.( In Japan, a sponge cake with cream is the popular version of a Christmas cake.) With that bit of trivia and it being too late to bake a cake, there is nothing left to do but to enjoy a cuppa ( or something stronger) and some cake ....