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Recipe: If You’re Serving Christmas Cake in December, You Need to Make it in October

December is a time for feasting and festivities. But we’re here to say let them eat (Christmas) cake

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By Architectural Digest India | October 24, 2023 | Recipes

There is always room for dessert, and the Japanese actually have a word for it: Betsubara. And this season, it'll probably be wise to learn it by heart. Because no matter how elaborate Christmas dinner is, there will always, always be room for Christmas cake.

We speak to Anthea Miranda, a Mumbai-based home-baker who gives us—almost all—her secrets about producing the perfect Christmas cake. A recipe her grandfather passed on to her mother who passed it on to her, Anthea's specialization are moist, fruity cakes which she started baking about 8 years ago. And by word of mouth (no pun intended), the recipes began selling like…well, hot cakes. That's how three years ago, Jeanette's Cake Studio was born. And the world—well, the city of Mumbai at least—became a happier place.

AD: Tell us a little about the process of baking a perfect Christmas cake?

Anthea Miranda: The process starts a couple of months before Christmas. I usually mix candied fruit (such as candied peel, tutti-frutti, and dates), and then soak them in liquor (preferably rum), and some spices. Always better to soak this mixture in alcohol for a longer duration (couple of months) so that the fruits sufficiently absorb the alcohol, giving the cake its delicious liquor taste. Christmas cakes are the best part about Christmas.

For the best Christmas fruit cake, choose good-quality dried or candied fruits and soak them well, and for long. Image via Unsplash.

AD: What are the common mistakes one makes when it comes to Christmas cakes?

AM: Here's a secret: you can never really go wrong with a Christmas cake! Unlike sponge (genoise) cakes, which are light because of aeration from eggs, Christmas cakes are usually dense and reasonably moist (thanks to the alcohol). Perfect for cold winters!

AD: One basic rule to follow with all Christmas cakes

AM: Choose good-quality dried or candied fruits and soak them well, and for long.

AD: Best Christmas cake you have had in your life?

AM: Definitely my mother's fruit cake.

Christmas cakes are decorated by covering them with a layer of marzipan and an outer layer of fondant. Image via Unsplash.

AD: Do you decorate your Christmas cakes. If yes, how?

AM: Christmas cakes are decorated by covering them with a layer of marzipan and an outer layer of fondant. You can further adorn it with some fondant/gumpaste decorations (using cutters or plungers). However, if you do not have a sweet tooth, you can do without the sugary marzipan and fondant layers.

Around the world, no matter how elaborate Christmas dinner is, there will always, always be room for Christmas cake. Image via Unsplash.

Christmas Cake Recipe


All-purpose flour, sifted 2 1/2 cups

Brown sugar 1 1/2 cups (powdered)

Baking powder 2 teaspoons

Mixed spices powder 1 teaspoon (1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp Nutmeg)

Salt 3/4 teaspoon

Butter 200 grams

Eggs 5 large

Dry fruits mix (soaked) 600 grams

Caramel Syrup 2 tablespoons

Milk or Sour cream ½ to 3/4 cup

Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon

Pineapple essence 1 teaspoon

Orange zest and juice 1 large orange

Brandy (or rum, or both) 1 cup


In a large mixing bowl, add the liquor. To this add all the finely chopped dried fruits and peels and give a good mix with a wooden spoon.

Store it in an air tight glass jar in a dark, cool cabinet.

Give in a thorough mix every alternate day, till the day of baking. (I use to feed more liquor, if the mix was found dry!)

Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature. It is better to keep the butter and eggs needed for the recipe outside the refrigerator for an hour before you begin mixing.

Sieve together flour, baking powder, salt, the spice powder and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C.

Prepare two 8 x 2 round cake pans or two 9 X 5 loaf pans by greasing and flouring /adding parchment to bottom of the pan.

In a mixing bowl, add the measured softened butter and powdered sugar. Start creaming the butter and sugar mixture with a mixer or a spatula. Continue creaming it until it is soft and fluffy.

Start adding the eggs, one at a time, and continue with the creaming process.

Continue until all the eggs have been added. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl in between until all the eggs are totally incorporated and the mixture is very soft and fluffy.

Add the orange zest, juice, vanilla and pineapple essence and mix well.

Start adding the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, little at a time (roughly in 4 turns).

Gently fold the mixture until the flour is fully incorporated with the butter, sugar and eggs. Do not over mix. Instead keep folding gently.

Finally add the soaked fruits mix and gently fold in to get a uniform mix.

In case you find the batter is too thick, add 1 tablespoon extra milk at a time and fold the mixture; (you need a thick non-runny batter here). Scrape the bowl one last time to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended in.

Divide batter into pans and bake at 160 C for 60 to 75 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and dry. Cover the top with baking paper, after 45 minutes baking.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Gently tap the bottom of the baking tin. If required, run a knife along the outer edges.

Unmould the cake from the baking tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

You can brush coat the cake with the liquor before serving. Slice the cake with a serrated bread knife and enjoy.

Tip: You can wrap the cake with baking paper and seal it in cling foil and store at room temperature for a week. It can also be refrigerated in an air tight container.

This recipe originally appears in Architectural Digest India