Whole Wheat Classic Christmas cake or Genoa Cake is a rich, dense and moist cake loaded with dried fruits, fed with brandy and a perfect Christmas treat or for any festive occasion.
It’s the season of baking and the air is filled with spicy aroma from cinnamon, nutmeg and the heavenly winter spices. Everyone is baking different types of cookies and cakes to enjoy as well as to gift. One such cake I am baking since last year is this Whole Wheat Classic Christmas cake. This cake is baked well ahead of time so that the dried fruits and nuts are soaked in alcohol or any non-alcoholic drink of your choice.
Earlier I was very apprehensive to make something 2-3 months in advance and eat it later. I was like how can one eat such an old cake. But last year I finally decided to say goodbye to my fear and I am glad I did. The cake turned out to be super delicious, rich, moist and the perfect Christmas cake one can make.
It turned out to be my husband’s favourite cake. Let me tell you he does not like sponge cakes or the ones with cream. He loves such cake with nuts and fruits. This year he was pestering me since October are you not baking the Christmas cake…are you not baking… phew…
I had even taken this to my office last year and my Irish colleagues loved it. Everyone complimented that it has turned out the best. What more do you need when you make something that is well appreciated by the pioneers.
Table of contents
- Genoa Cake
- Dried Fruits in Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
- Soaking of the cake – Alcohol or Alcohol free ?
- Time for which the dried fruits is soaked
- Storing the Christmas Cake
- Feeding of the Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
- Leavning agent free Christmas Cake
- Mixing and Time required for baking
- Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
- Icing the Christmas Cake
- Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake – A perfect edible gift
Genoa cake is a fruit cake consisting of raisins or black currants, sultanas (golden-coloured raisins), glazed cherries, almonds, candied orange peels and essence. It is then cooked in a batter of flour, eggs, butter and sugar. This cake is called Genoa cake mainly in the UK. However, its variant Pandolce Cake originated in Genoa as a Christmas Cake. Pandolce includes pine nuts as a major ingredient and uses yeast as its raising agent. So it is more like bread than a cake. (Source Wiki). I have adapted this recipe from here with my changes.
Dried Fruits in Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
I started this cake immediately after Diwali in the first week of November. The dried fruits were chopped and soaked in brandy. One can use any combination of dried fruit one likes. Though mainly raisins, currants, almonds, cherries and mixed peels are the heroes. I have also added apricots, figs and prunes. Yes, you might have not heard of prunes but what a better way to serve some healthy ingredients. The main thing is that you need to chop them up, that’s it.
Soaking of the cake – Alcohol or Alcohol free ?
Yes, I have soaked in brandy as I wanted to try alcohol in baking and also wanted to try a traditional recipe. One can soak it in brandy or whiskey for the alcoholic version. For those who want to stay away from alcohol, you can use orange juice or even tea.
Time for which the dried fruits is soaked
There are different ways of making this cake. Few soak the dried fruits only overnight. Few do not soak it and keep on feeding the cake and few soak it for a month and then bake. I soak my dried fruits for a week before baking.
Storing the Christmas Cake
Once the baking is done, the cake is let to cool completely. It is poked with a fine skewer and fed with alcohol. (1-2 tablespoons is enough). It is then wrapped nicely. It is advisable to use double wrapping so that the cake is sealed completely. Store it in a container and in a dark and cold place.
Feeding of the Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
Regularly feed it in intervals of 15-20 days. Regular feeding helps the cake get the flavour and adds moisture to the cake. The aroma of this cake is just so wow, that every time you will remove the cake for feeding you will be tempted to eat it. One can eat it immediately too but you would definitely be rewarded for your patience.
Leavning agent free Christmas Cake
The cake has no leavening agent. i.e it is free from baking soda or baking powder. If you are looking for another leaving agent-free cake try this Lemon Cake, which does not have any baking powder or baking soda.
Mixing and Time required for baking
It is being baked at a lower temperature. One of the crucial steps. It is baked for a longer duration and hence plan accordingly. The amount of ingredients given in the below recipe is huge. one can reduce it to half. But be sure to use a wide bowl to do the mixing or else you will have some dry flour or patches of dry flour in your batter.
Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
This Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake is rich and dense. One small piece of this is enough. You can enjoy it as is or with some fresh cream on the side.
Icing the Christmas Cake
A Christmas cake is generally covered with a layer of jam, a layer of Marzipan and then frosted with Royal Icing. Decorate the cake the way you want. We love it minus the icing and enjoy it as is.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake – A perfect edible gift
I wanted to share this recipe last year but was delayed. So last week when Mayuri from Mayuri Jikoni asked us to make Christmas Treats, I immediately decided to post my Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake. This cake is a perfect gift for your near or dear ones. And before I jump to the recipe, I would like to share that I want to try her, Chocolate Medallions and Passion Fruit Sauce for this Christmas.
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So here goes the recipe for Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake
Whole Wheat Classic Christmas Cake (Genoa Cake)
- 1.5 Cup ~ 225 grams Raisins
- 1.5 Cups ~ 225 grams Currants
- ½ Cup – 150 grams Figs
- 1.5 Cups ~ 225 grams glazed dried cherries
- 1 Cup – 150 grams Apricots
- ½ Cup – 125 grams Mixed Peel
- 1 Cup ~ 110 grams Prunes
- 4 tablespoon brandy (plus extra for feeding the cake)
- 275 grams Whole Wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Powered cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried Ginger
- 400 gram softened butter
- 400 gram dark brown sugar/Muscovado Sugar
- 5 Medium eggs
- 70 grams ~ ½ Cup chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon Black Treacle
- Grated Zest of 1 Organic Lemon
- Grated Zest of 1 Organic Orange
- 10-12 Few Almonds
- Few Cherries
Soaking of the Dried Fruits
- In a large bowl put the currants, raisins, dried and quartered cherries, mixed peels, chopped apricots, Figs and prunes.1.5 Cup ~ 225 grams Raisins, 1.5 Cups ~ 225 grams Currants, ½ Cup – 150 grams Figs, 1.5 Cups ~ 225 grams glazed dried cherries, 1 Cup – 150 grams Apricots, ½ Cup – 125 grams Mixed Peel, 1 Cup ~ 110 grams Prunes
- Add 4 tablespoon of brandy and stir it in.4 tablespoon brandy
- Cover and leave it in a cool place overnight or up to 1 week.
- If leaving for up to a week give it a stir in between.
Baking the Cake
- Lightly grease a 9 inches deep round cake tin, or 9 and 8 inches round cake tin with butter.
- Dust some flour on the tin (If not using parchment paper)
- If using parchment paper, put a circle of non-stick baking parchment paper in to the base of the tin and along the edges.
- If using just 1 tin, make sure your parchment paper is almost 2.5 times in height along the edges as the batter is huge in quantity.
- Preheat the oven to 140 Deg C.
- Sieve in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger in a bowl and keep it aside.275 grams Whole Wheat flour, ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon Powered cinnamon, ½ teaspoon dried Ginger
- In a seperate bowl take in 1 tablespoon of flour mixture
- Mix it with chopped almonds. This helps the almonds not getting sunk at the bottom. Keep it aside.
- Add in 3-4 tablespoon of flour mixture to the soaked dryfruits.
- Coat the dry fruits with the flour mixture. This helps in the nuts not getting sinked at the bottom.
- In your stand mixer or your bowl, add in the softened butter.400 gram softened butter
- Beat it until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes)
- Add in the sugar. Make sure it is lump free.400 gram dark brown sugar/Muscovado Sugar
- Beat it until well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs one by one and beat the mixture until all the eggs are mixed thoroughly.5 Medium eggs
- Add in Treacle, orange and lemon zest, chopped almonds flour mixture and give it a nice mix.1 tablespoon Black Treacle, Grated Zest of 1 Organic Lemon, Grated Zest of 1 Organic Orange, 70 grams ~ ½ Cup chopped almonds
- Add in the sifted flour mixture and mix again.
- Fold in the soaked fruits.
- Be sure to reach out the bottom of the bowl at times flour remains below.
- Spoon the mixture into prepared cake tin.
- Spread out evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Decorate the top with whole almonds and glazed cherries.10-12 Few Almonds, Few Cherries
- Cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper and bake in preheated oven for 4-4.5 hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely in the tin.
- Once cooled, pierce the cake with a fine skewer or toothpick. Feed it with a tablespoon of brandy or orange juice.
- Wrap the cake with a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil. Store it in a cool and dry place for up to 3 months, feeding at regular intervals.
- 1 teaspoon = 5 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 Cup=235 ml
- I have used cinnamon and ginger instead of allspice. One can replace it with allspice powder.
- Feel free to change the ratio of dried fruits.
- One can use all-purpose flour too instead of whole wheat flour.
- Brandy can be replaced with Orange Juice.
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Monday 8th of November 2021
I've made this delicious cake twice, and have two questions: 1) when do you add the sugar-it's not included in the baking directions; 2) why are figs listed twice in the ingredients, once by themselves and once along with the prunes? Thank you for a wonderful recipe!
Renu Agrawal Dongre
Tuesday 9th of November 2021
Thank you, Elizabeth for pointing out this. At times we overlook even after reading 3-4 times. I have updated the recipe, added a few pics. I am baking this weekend and hopefully will upload a video too with more step by step pics. Can I ask you if you can please rate the recipe as well, as it helps my viewers as well as my blog? Thank You for your feedback.
Monday 6th of January 2020
Wow. Amazing christmas fruit cake. so rich, moist and soft and looks absolutely scrumptious. Such a foolproof recipe. Would love to try it sometime
Monday 6th of January 2020
Thursday 26th of December 2019
Delicious gift Renu. Love the beautiful texture of the cake loaded with fruits and nuts. Use of mixed peels sounds interesting.Never baked an alcohol cake. Would love to try sometime.
Thursday 26th of December 2019
Wednesday 25th of December 2019
my entire family (and sometimes the kids too) loves the non-cream or non-frosted cakes. this fruit cake with wholewheat flour is so festive, yet healthy and nutrition packed, Renu ..
Wednesday 25th of December 2019
Monday 23rd of December 2019
Fruit cake looks so soft moist and super yummy. I can imagine the burst of flavour and taste. Its a perfect Christmas cake. Saving the recipe to try next time. Wonderful share.
Wednesday 25th of December 2019