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!