Christmas Cake

If you follow me on Instagram (@Pastry_Tales) you saw that I posted a picture of a Christmas cake , I know, I’m not a fruit cake person either, I really don’t like those dense, wet, with tons of candied cherries cakes, and no, this cake is not like that at all. This is a lighter version of a fruit cake. It’s packed with good quality nuts, dried fruit, rum, honey, cocoa powder and other goodies. This magical dessert is perfect for your Christmas table because it’s easy to make and looks really pretty!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. If you don’t have all the dried fruit, don’t worry, use the ones you have at home or the ones you like the most! There is not a specific rule for that! Also, you don’t need a mixer!

Let’s start with the recipe.


For the cake

1 3/4 cups dried fruit mix ( I used cranberries, black raisins and cherries)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger chips. Here is the one I always use.

5 oz dark rum (you can add more to your taste)

1 cup walnuts or pecans (you can use mixed nuts too)

2 oranges, zest and juice

7 tablespoons honey

13 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

For the frosting

4 oz cream cheese, cold

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp orange extract

orange zest from one orange

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


For the cake

1.- In a large pan on medium heat, add the dried fruit, rum, butter, honey, dark brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, all the spices and cocoa powder. Stir good and let it boil making sure the butter melts. Then, take it off the heat and let it cool for about 1 hour.

2.- Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 8 or 8 1/2 inch round pan (it’s better to use a spring-form pan), line the bottom with parchment paper, you can line the sides too.

3.-  In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. This mix is going to be our dry ingredients.

4.- When the dried fruit mixture is cooled, add the eggs, dry ingredients and stir with a spatula, mix it all good making sure no flour lumps are left. Also, add the crystallized ginger and walnuts.

5.- Pour your batter on the cake pan. Bake it for about 1  hour and a half, BUT sometimes ovens are different, so I would recommend that after 1 hour you check the cake and see how is cooking. If the top is getting too dark and the inside needs more time to cook, grab a piece of foil paper and place it on the top and keep baking until is cooked. When the cake is done the top will look shiny and when you insert a toothpick moist crumbs should come out.

6.- Put the cake on a rack and let it cool for an hour or hour and a half, then take the cake out of the pan and let it cool completely.

Time to make the frosting.

For the frosting

1.- In a bowl beat the cream cheese (cold) for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, orange extract and orange zest, beat for 30 seconds. Then, add the powdered sugar in small amounts until smooth and creamy. For me, this amount of sugar gave me the thick consistency that I wanted, but if you think it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.

2.- Spread a THICK layer of this frosting on the cake. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts on the top. You can decorate with sprinkles or frosted cranberries

This cake can last many days(without the frosting), just wrap it good!



  1. Charmaine Underwood-Graham says:

    This looks terrific! You may want to edit frosting ingredients as first ingredient states cream cheese frosting, instead of just cream cheese. Will be trying this for sure! Thanks so much.

    • SandraWidick says:

      Hi! I have never replaced eggs for this recipe but you can use FLAX EGGS. Replace each egg with 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 2 and 1/2 tablespoons water. Let it rest for 5 minutes until it thickens and then use it in my recipe. I hope this helps.

  2. SandraWidick says:

    Thank you! Happy New Year for you too. Maybe you can use Carob Powder? The cocoa is mostly to give a darker color. Let me know if that works for you.

    • SandraWidick says:

      Hi Alely! You have to add the sugar with the honey and butter. Will fix the recipe now. Thanks for noticing.

        • SandraWidick says:

          Hi! I just fixed the recipe. Brown sugar is added with the honey and walnuts are added with the crystallized ginger. If you have any other questions, let me know!

      • AlelyBernardo says:

        Happy New Year! This Christmas cake was a hit! I wish to bake again but I need to tweak it however as my Mom can’t eat chocolate. Can you pls suggest what to substitute the cocoa with?

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