Walnut, Orange and Cardamom Christmas Cakes

December 23, 2021

These light and elegant cakes are the ultimate festive puds!


  • 250 grams candied orange peel strips 250 grams fresh dates, pitted
  • 125 grams pitted prunes
  • 180 grams toasted walnut halves
  • 90 grams ground almonds
  • 1⁄2 cup orange-flavoured liqueur 250 grams butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 220 grams firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 90 grams honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 grams cake flour
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1⁄4 cup orange-flavoured liqueur,extra
  • 1 kg ready-made white fondant
  • Cornflour, for dusting
  • 115 grams marmalade, warmed, sieved
  • 110 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 100 grams toasted walnuts


PREHEAT the oven to 170°C. Grease 8 (9x6cm) round cake tins and line with baking paper that extends over the sides of the tins.

CHOP orange peel, dates and prunes into 1cm pieces and mix with walnuts, almonds and liqueur.

BEAT butter and zest together until smooth. Mix in the sugar and honey until combined. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Add in the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift in flour, cardamom and bicarb and mix to form a batter.

SPOON mixture into prepared pans. BAKE cakes for 1 hr 15 min or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Brush hot cakes with extra liqueur and cover tightly with foil. Turn cakes onto a board lined with baking paper, leaving the pans on the cakes. Coverwith a thick towel and stand for 12 hours. Remove cakes from tins.

KNEAD the fondant on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour until it loses its stickiness. Divide into eight portions, tightly wrapping each in cling film. Roll each portion of icing into a 23cm round. Brush the top and side of one cake with warmed marmalade. Place icing on the cake and, with cornflour hands, mould the icing over the cake, trimming away any excess. Repeat to make 8 cakes. Stand cakes uncovered at room temperature to dry overnight.

CANDIED WALNUTS Line an oven tray with baking paper.

PLACE sugar and water in a pot and gently stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, until golden. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Pour mixture onto the prepared tray and allow to set.

TOP cakes with candied walnuts before serving.

HANDS-ON TIME 40 min | TOTAL TIME 2 hr 5 min + standing & cooling | SERVES 8


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