Brazilian Christmas Cake

 I wanted to try something a bit different from the usual rich dark fruit cake this year, so if you fancy a change, try this boozy version of a carrot cake, inspired by my trip to Brazil. Many people find a traditional christmas cake a bit too much on top of all the seasonal excess anyway. Not that you could describe this cake as abstemious or frugal in any way, but a nice change of flavour.

If you don't have any Cachaca (and why would you really?) you can use rum instead.

For an 8" round cake tin you will need -
4 oz raisins
4oz sultanas
2oz chopped ready to eat prunes
4 oz natural colour glace cherries
2oz mixed peel

soaked in -
2 fl oz brandy
2fl oz sherry or port
2 fl oz Cachaca (or rum)
1 teasp Angostura bitters
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest and juice of 3 limes and 1 lemon

either in the fridge for a few days, or overnight in the kitchen for the flavours to be absorbed.

When you're ready to make the cake, measure out -
12 oz plain flour
2 teasp ground cinnamon
1 teasp freshly grated nutmeg
2 teasp bicarbonate of soda
into a bowl and set aside.

In your Kitchenaid/Kenwood or with your very strong arm, beat together -
half a pint of sunflower oil
6 oz caster sugar
6oz soft brown sugar
4 eggs
until smooth and creamy

Sieve your flour mix in gently.
Then add
12 oz peeled and finely grated carrot
4 oz dessicated coconut
4 oz chopped walnuts or pecans
all the contents of the pre soaking bowl
It's a bit of a squash in my mixer but mix on a slow speed to incorporate everything.

Then turn into a lined 8" tin and bake in a slow oven about gas 2 until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Should be around the hour and a half mark. It's a bit less in my Aga, maybe more in some ovens. If it looks to be browning too much cover it with a piece of foil towards the end.

While it's baking make up a syrup by warming gently together until melted -
4 oz chopped Rapadura Caipira (this is a Brazilian sweet basically just a solid block of cane sugar but you could easily substitute light brown sugar)

zest and juice of 4 limes
zest and juice of 2 oranges

Cool and stir in
2 or 3 fl oz Cachaca (or rum)

When the cake is cooked, stab it with a skewer and pour the syrup over while the cake is still hot.

Leave it in the tin to cool and absorb the syrup.

I would normally store a christmas cake in the larder, but I think I will keep this one in the freezer until I'm ready to decorate it just before Christmas, just to be on the safe side. It will easily keep for a couple of weeks though, in an airtight tin if you want to make it anytime before Christmas. I will give it a coat of good quality marzipan and fondant icing in the week before Christmas.


  1. The ultimate compliment John, thank you very much! And yes we did enjoy La Traviata, the Hippodrome in Bristol is a lovely old theatre and the WNO performance was excellent. Thanks for posting


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