From several gourmet variations on the traditional plum cake to newer flavours, these recipes are here to be the highlight of your Christmas table
Christmas is a time for cozy cuppas, tables laden with savoury meals of the highest order, beverages of all kinds for intoxicatingly good times, and more.
Adding the final flair to a day of revelry is always a good cake, of course. A favourite for all occasions, it occupies a special pedestal at this time of the year. Each restaurant and family clings dearly to their heirloom recipes, with unique variations and bold flavours.
Think Christmas, and you almost magnetically lean toward plum. And every good chef worth their salt has their own special recipe for it. That’s not to say that traditions haven’t evolved over the years, of course. There’s plenty of date and walnut, banana, and super festive cakes popping across gatherings.
When some of the best chefs from the leading hotels of India including Master Pâtissier Chef Surendra Negi, Chef Shipra Khanna, Chef Akshraj Jodha, and more give you their personal recipes though, you stop and take note. So if store-bought Christmas cakes just aren’t cutting it for your palate anymore, there’s no time like now to follow these simple recipes and create some truly gobsmacking cakes!
Classic Christmas Cake by Master Pâtissier Chef Surendra Negi, Taj Palace, New Delhi
- 200 gm unsalted butter
- 200 gm brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- 100 gm refined flour
- 10 gm cocoa powder
- 600 gm soaked dry fruit
- 5 gm spice mix
- 60 gm breadcrumbs
- 3 gm baking powder
- 30 gm pomegranate molasses
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Line an 8-inch cake tin with butter and flour or with butter paper.
- Cream the butter and flour together in a bowl until light and airy.
- In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, spices, cocoa powder, baking powder and breadcrumbs.
- To the creamed butter, beat in one egg at a time.
- Gently fold in the soaked dry fruit.Add the flour and spice mixture into the wet mixture and combine well.
- Pour in the batter into the prepared cake tin and even out the top with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees. Once baked, place on a wire rack and allow it to cool. Serve.
Dundee Cake by Master Pâtissier Chef Surendra Negi, Taj Palace, New Delhi
- 150 gm softened unsalted butter
- 150 gm brown sugar
- Orange zest from one large orange
- 225 gm all-purpose flour
- 10 gm baking powder
- 5 gm mixed spices
- 3 eggs
- 450 gm mixed dried fruit
- 20 ml of a malt spirit of choice
- 115 gm blanched whole almonds (to top)
For sugar syrup
- 50 gm sugar
- 50 ml water
- Preheat the oven to 180°c.
- Line an 8-inch cake tin, with butter and flour, or with butter paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar, and cream till the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is light and creamy.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, mixed spices, orange zest and baking powder.
- Beat one egg into the creamed butter, then add a third of the flour. Keep repeating till all the eggs and flour are incorporated. Gently fold in the dried fruits and the spirit.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and even it out with the back of a spoon.
- Neatly arrange the blanched almonds on top. Bake for 45 mins, or until the cake is golden brown. .
- To prepare the sugar syrup, bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the hot cake. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool. Serve.
Toucinho Do Céu by Doyle Hugh Alphonso, Chef De Partie, Taj Fort Aguada
- 250 ml water
- 300 gm sugar
- 25 gm fig leaves jam
- 1¾ cups (250g) ground almonds, skinless
- 20 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Bring the water, sugar and salt to a boil in a big saucepan. Add the ground almonds.
- Stir gently but constantly, over medium-low heat, until the almond mixture starts to thicken and you can expose the bottom of the pan by stirring, about 2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the yolks and eggs. Pour into the almond mixture and mix with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm in the center and the top is lightly golden brown, about 28 to 30 minutes.
Honey Almond Cake by Chef Shipra
- ½ cup maida
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp pure almond extract
- ½ cup organic honey
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake tin and set it aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the maida, almond flour, baking powder, and salt by sifting it all together through a sieve. Add the softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to the bowl and whisk with an electric beater.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Mix in the greek yoghurt and almond extract until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine and make sure the mixture is smooth.
- Transfer your batter to the cake tin and even it out from the top with a spatula.
- Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick if it’s baked fully. Let the cake cool down.
- Once the cake is cooled, mix the honey and water in a pan over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer and allow the honey to melt. Stir in the almonds. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Allow the mixture to cool down.
- Pour the honey mixture over the cake and let the cake soak it all in, only then cut into slices and serve.
Banana Cake by Chef Ankit Saini, Pastry chef at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
- 160 gm refined flour
- 250 gm fresh banana puree
- 150 gm breakfast sugar
- 04 gm baking powder
- 04 gm baking soda
- 40 gm corn flour
- 200 gm corn oil
- 120 gm eggs
- 04 gm cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp banana essence or vanilla essence
- Make a puree of fresh bananas. Add breakfast sugar into the puree and mix well with a hand mixer.
- Add eggs and essence into the mixture and mix well with the hand mixer.
- Add flour, baking powder, corn flour, cinnamon powder into the mixture and mix well, make sure no lumps are remaining.
- Lastly, add oil and mix well. Transfer the mixture in lined baking mould and bake at 180*C for about 30 minutes.
Honey – Strawberry Festive Yule Log by Akshraj Jodha, Executive Chef, ITC Grand Bharat, Gurugram
For the Vanilla Honey Whipped Ganache
- 206 gm rich cream
- 0.5 gm vanilla pod
- 12 gm honey
- 12 gm liquid glucose
- 163 gm white chocolate
- 206 gm whipped cream
- Warm cream & vanilla pod in a saucepan. Allow the flavor to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Melt white chocolate in a bowl, and pour the warm cream into the chocolate to make a smooth ganache.
- Using an electric hand blender, mix in glucose & honey. Add in the cold cream and blend.
- Allow this mixture to rest overnight. Whip the mixture the next day to a mousse consistency.
For the Madeleine Cake
- 112 gm butter
- 135 gm flour
- 62 gm icing sugar
- 2 gm salt
- 6 gm baking powder
- 135 gm whole eggs
- 75 gm honey
- 30 gm milk
- 5 gm lemon zest
- In a microwave bowl, mix in flour, icing sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- In another bowl whisk whole eggs, honey, milk, lemon zest until light and foamy. Fold in the flour mixture & lastly add in melted butter.
- Rest overnight and bake the next day at 175 degrees for 12-18 minutes.
For the Strawberry Compote
- 510 gm fresh strawberry
- 225 gm strawberry juice
- 60 gm castor sugar
- 25 gm corn flour
- 20 gm water
- In a saucepan, add fresh strawberries (1 by 4) and strawberry juice. Add in the castor sugar – bring to a boil.
- In a separate bowl make a slurry of corn flour & water. Bring the strawberry & juice to a boil, add in the slurry. Cook until the mixture is thickened, this takes around 20 minutes on a medium flame.
- Line the strawberry compote in a flat rectangular mold and freeze.
- Cut the madeleine sponge after baking in a rectangular shape – you will need 3 for layering.
- Whip the honey mousse before lining the product.
- In the yule mold, start with lining the inner surface with the mousse. You will have to start by placing the mold upside down.
- Sandwich the madeleine layers alternatively with strawberry compote & insert into the mold.
- Use mousse to completely fill the sides and have no air bubbles.
- Place the madeleine sandwich in such a way that the last madeleine is in line with the rim of the mold.
- Allow to freeze for 12 hours. Dust the product with icing sugar.
- Garnish the product with chocolate round discs colored with green. Make red chocolate spheres using tempered white chocolate, sprayed with yellow or gold cocoa butter. Embellish with other festive garnishes such as fondant snowflakes etc.
Suggested read: Sweet are the Christmas tidings that begin with Stir-up Sunday
Christmas Fruit Cake by Vijay Thapliyal – Executive Chef, The Lodhi
- 225 gm unsalted butter
- 210 gm brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 260 gm all-purpose flour
- 75 gm almond powder
- 4 gm baking powder
- 2 gm salt
- 35 gm grand mariner
- 2 orange juice
- 1 lemon zest
- 200 gm nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts & hazelnuts), chopped
- 1000 gm assortment of dried fruits (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries & candied fruits all chopped into pieces)
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
- Take an 8” inch non-stick pan or a cake pan and grease it with butter, or vegetable spray.
- Line the bottom of the pan with butter paper. Also line the sides of the pan with a strip of butter paper that extends about 2 inches above the rim of the pan.
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, almonds powder, salt and baking powder.
- In another large bowl place the candied fruits along with the chopped nuts. Take 75gm of the flour and add it to the fruits and nuts mixture to coat all the fruits and nuts.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed.
- Add the alcohol, orange juice zest and lemon zest. Fold in the nuts and all the candied fruits in the above beaten mixture.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees celsius and continue to bake the cake for about 10-15 minutes or until a long skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- ·With a skewer, poke holes in the top surface of the cake and liberally brush with alcohol (brandy, grand marnier, rum or whiskey). Wrap the cake thoroughly in plastic wrap once it’s cold and place in a cake tin. Store in a cool dry place (best to store in the refrigerator). Brush the cake periodically (once or twice a week for about two to three weeks) with alcohol.
- Cover the cake with royal icing or gum paste and decorate with Christmas items. Serves about 12 to 15 people.
Plum Cake Central
Be warned. From the point forward, your senses will be assaulted by a myriad of delicious plum cake recipes with decidedly decadent results. Like most Christmas desserts, plum cakes are of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties.
What makes them so appealing is their versatality yet universal comforting taste. When just a bite reminds you of a memorable time of the year, you know it’s good cake.
Christmas Plum Cake by Chef Karthick, Executive Sous Chef, Renaissance Bengaluru Race Course Hotel
- 750 gm mixed dry fruits (raisins, black currants, cranberries, sultana, prunes, figs)
- 200 ml rum
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 orange zest
- 1/4 tsp clove powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 50 gm tooti fruity
- 250 gm butter
- 200 gm brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 100 gm almond powder
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 4 eggs
- Icing sugar (for decoration)
- Put all the dry fruits in a pan. Now add the rum and let it boil. Cover the pan and keep aside overnight to let it cool and the fruits to soak in brandy.
- Next morning, preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Now sift maida, baking powder and almond powder in a bowl. Add in all the spice powders and sift again.
- In a pan, beat eggs well. In another deep bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together. Add lemon and orange zest.
- Add in the beaten eggs and mix everything thoroughly. Pour vanilla essence and mix again.
- Now add the sieved powder mix and whisk thoroughly. Add tooti fruity and whisk more, followed by the soaked dry fruits
- Pour some orange juice and whisk well. Now transfer the stuff in a greased pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. When the cake is cooled, drizzle icing sugar on top. Decorate it with Christmas decorations and serve.
Christmas Special Plum Cake by Chef Rahul Bhale, Novotel Chennai SIPCOT
- 200 gm all purpose flour
- 15 gm baking powder
- 100 gm unsalted butter
- 100 gm powdered white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 100 gm assorted dry fruits
- 200 ml spirit mixture (to soak dry fruit)
- 2-3 ml vanilla extract
- 10 gm orange zest
- 20 gm fine cinnamon powder
- Soak assorted dry fruits of your choice in a mixture of spirits of your choice. For the best taste, soak for over 25 days and a minimum of 7 days.
- Separate the yolk from the eggs and beat it till soft peaks.
- Beat, egg yolk, butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla essence. Add all purpose flour to the mixture. Gently fold in egg whites – ensure that the egg white does not lose a lot of volume.
- Grease a baking tray and preheat the oven at 180 degree centigrade.
- Chop slabs of dark chocolate into small pieces and add it to the mixture just before adding it to the baking tray.
- Bake the mixture for 20 mins.
- Once warm, demould it and sprinkle a mixture of icing sugar and cinnamon and serve warm.
Plum Cake by Chef Neeraj Rawoot, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
- 450 gm butter
- 500 gm brown sugar
- 12 eggs
- 40 gm baking powder
- 1500 gm rum soaked fruits
- 25 gm mixed spices
- 350 gm refined flour (maida)
- 50 gm cocoa powder
- 50 ml refined oil
- Take the butter, sugar and mix it together by hand.
- To the above mixture, add the eggs and mix well.
- Now fold the flour in and mix it with the remaining dry ingredients of cocoa powder, baking powder and mixed spices to make a dough.
- To the above mixture, add the rum soaked fruits and then the refined oil.
- Align this mixture into a desired mould and put it in the oven to bake for about 20-30 minutes at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius.
- Now your plum cake is ready to serve with your desired garnish such as icing sugar or crème anglaise.