The Perfect Christmas Cake
Alright, this is it. This is THE cake for this year's christmas: spiced, infused with orange juice and orange zest, a generous amount of walnuts and orange-cream cheese frosting... Merry Christmas, friends!! I know you've been good.
Oranges and Spices
I wanted to make something wintery, filling, but not too heavy and most importantly - full of aromatic spices, like cardamom, cloves, ginger & cinnamon. It turned out really well and I am more than excited to share this recipe with you. Take a look, gather all ingredients and get to work if you have a big family celebration waiting ahead (which you have, of course?).
Serves 10 | 1 cup - 250ml | 1 tablespoon - 15ml | 1 teaspoon - 5ml | Hands on time: 35 mins | Total time: 2h 30 mins
For the cake:
- 4 eggs
- 140 g of soft unsalted butter
- 180 g of unrefined brown sugar
- 250 g of plain wheat flour or 150 g of my GF flour mix*
- 210 g of walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- juice of 3/4 orange (80g)
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves mixed with ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- juice of 1/2 lemon (to drizzle)
For the frosting:
- 450 g of cream cheese
- 110 g of orange juice (from 1 & 1/3 of orange)
- 40 g (3 tablespoons) of unrefined brown sugar
*equal parts of coconut flour/rice flour/corn flour
Bake the Cake
Preheat oven to 160°C (fan) or 180°C (no fan). Prepare the dough: beat sugar and softened butter until pale and fluffy, then add eggs one by one, beating to incorporate after each egg. Mix in honey, spices, orange juice and orange zest. Finally, add flour mixed with baking powder and stir to incorporate. Mix in finely chopped walnuts.
Line the bottom of a non-stick 19-20cm in diameter cake tin with baking paper and pour in 2/3 of dough. Bake for approximately 45 mins or until golden brown. Check doneness with a toothpick before removing from the oven. Remove and place on a cooling rack.
Add a fresh piece of baking paper on the bottom of the baking tin, pour in the remaining 1/3 of dough and bake for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a cooling rack before frosting.
NOTE: if you're using a larger cake tin (e.g. 24cm in diameter - divide dough in two equal parts and bake. You will end up with two layers of cake though, instead of three. Which is not a problem at all, unless you want a taller cake shape.
Mix orange juice with brown sugar, pour into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced & syrupy, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix 2/3 of the orange syrup with cream cheese, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Reserve remaining orange syrup.
Cut off any uneven surface from both dough batches. Cut the bigger cake piece in half, so you have three cake layers. Place one cake layer on a serving plate, generously spread some of the frosting, top with the second piece of cake, drizzle with remaining orange syrup, lemon juice, spread some more frosting and finally add the last piece of cake and top it generously with frosting. Frost the sides of the cake and decorate however you see fit. I added some bee pollen, clementine and pine branches for a cozy Christmas look. Leave in the fridge to set for a few hours and then serve.
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