Baking | Christmas Fruit Cake with Garam Masala …. Joyeux Noel 2012

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas CakeChristmas Fruit Cake with Garam Masala ... anticipated, enjoyed, relished. December is never complete without this quintessential favourite, yet it nearly didn’t ‘happen’ this year. Yet for some reason the joy of the season, the light headed feeling, the warmth is missing. The heart feels heavy with the mindless violence that seems to raise its ugly head right across the world … be it New Delhi or New England.

Christmas CakeThe restlessness was getting overwhelming. Yesterday I needed to get into the kitchen, grab a dose of baking therapy. I have not baked for the past week. The insensitivity of the grotesque attack on the 23 year old girl in New Delhi has completely shattered us. The heart breaks that someone should have been subject to such animal behaviour.

Christmas WreathYet the strength of the human spirit of the victim is unbelievable. She has returned from near dead to prove just how strong a woman can be, still fighting death every passing minute. The tale of this strong young lady will go down in the history of India.

Christmas Wreath Yesterday I baked with her in my mind. I also gave the teen some ferns and tangerines from the garden to make me a wreath. With a little help from her brother, and none from the dog, she made me a pretty one! She managed to get Coco to wear a Santa hat too …

Coco SantaIt’s a simple fruit cake, one which shows up across the globe around this time. Often referred to as Christmas Cake, there are millions of recipes for fruit cake, in some regions every family hanging on to their own traditional recipe. Mine is a twist to our family recipe.

Candied peel

My Christmas Fruit Cake with Garam Masala has evolved from a traditional recipe handed down from my mother. Hers was the Garam Masala Christmas Cake. The one I baked this year follows the same basics of garam masala and orange juice to soak the fruit {overnight or for a few days/weeks}, some brandy thrown in if you like. I also continue to use a caramel coffee syrup to lend colour and deep flavour to the cake.

Coffee Caramel SauceEverything was done in a hurry as usual. No planning other than soaking a bunch of dry fruits and nuts the night before. I had plenty of bright oranges on hand, so decided to make candied orange peel. A recipe on Use Real Butter has stayed in my head forever.

Candied peelThe effect of the colour itself was therapeutic, mood uplifting and before I knew it I was soaking fruit in the orange juice. I threw in 3 tbsps of garam masala. Don’t worry, it doesn’t end up too strong. Nor does it make your cake smell like curry! It is beautiful. If you do have time, make your own.

Christmas CakeIt adds deep flavours of cinnamon, spice and all things nice; reminds me of gently mulled wine. Ties the season in nicely, warm and comforting in a deeply pacifying sort of a way.

Christmas Cake The daughter hates nuts, and the son hates raisins and fruit. Their taste buds always unite for Christmas Cake … right down to the last crumb. She says its all ‘mine‘, while he bitterly complains to me, naive enough to believe her… and life goes on!

Christmas Cake

Joy, Peace, Warmth, safety this holiday season dear readers.

Thank you for stopping by.


Recipe: Christmas Fruit Cake with Garam Masala your picture

Summary: Rich, fruity, nutty and deeply flavoured fruit cake for Christmas. The flavours of garam masala lift it to new heights. 

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes {plus soaking the fruit}

  • 1000g dried fruit and nuts {250g tutti frutti, 100g cashewnuts, 200g walnuts, 100g almonds, 3050g raisins, 50g currants}
  • 100g candied orange peel {recipe here}
  • 240ml orange juice
  • 150ml brandy {or orange juice}
  • 3 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coffee
  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Fruit & nut mix
  2. Chop the walnuts, cashews, almonds and candied peel. Mix with the rest of the fruit.
  3. Pour the juice and brandy into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the garam masala, followed by the fruits and nuts. Mix well. Cover tightly and leave to soak overnight or for longer. Stir the next morning, and a couple of times more.
  4. Coffee Caramel Sauce
  5. Heat the granulated sugar in a saucepan and cook until it caramelises. Once it turns a golden brown, gently add almost all the water {be careful it will splutter} and continue to mix until it all comes together. If it is still thick, add some more water. ake off heat and stir in the coffee. Cool. {Once cool, the consistency should be like flowing honey. If not, add some more water and heat gently again}.
  6. Cake
  7. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  8. Line a 22cm square tin and 2 mini loaf tins with four layers of baking paper.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the plain flour until all fruit well coated.
  10. In a LARGE mixing bowl, beat the butter with brown sugar for a minute or so.
  11. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the vanilla essence, and then the coffee caramel.
  12. Now add the dry mix and stir well to combine.
  13. Ladle batter into prepared tins. Drop from a height of 15cms to get rid of any air bubbles.
  14. Bake at 150C for 2 hours {for the small ones} and 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the large one.
  15. Cool completely in tin. Either slice once cool, or wrap in clingwrap until required.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  • 3 years ago

    There does seem to be a heaviness on the holidays this year but as people we are resilient and hopefully will continue to fight for things to change worldwide. As for the cake I am intrigued by the garam masala. I also wish you and your family a very special Christmas season Deeba.

  • 3 years ago

    Fabulous! Happy Holidays.



  • 3 years ago

    This is my first time visiting your blog. It’s beautiful and your photos are wonderful something I still have not mastered.

    Your fruitcake sounds so good. I love all the ingredients you’ve added to yours. I’ve never made one before but I may have to try yours. It’s sounds moist and delicious.

    By the way what kind of dog do you have? It’s adorable!

    Happy Holidays!

    • 3 years ago

      Thanks for all the good words Vicki. She {the dog} is an American Cocker Spaniel, and is 1 1/2 years old.
      Happy Holidays to you too!

  • 3 years ago

    The 23 year old has been names aptly I think by Times of India as Nirbhaya, feerless. I salute her will power and her friend for their strength for they must be under tremendous pressure in every way. I wish something +ve comes out of this. for the movement has spread to small towns as well.
    Merry Christmas to you . Take care.

  • 3 years ago

    Happy Holidays Deeba,
    I would like to make this, I know you can probably use other dried fruit, but what is “tutti Frutti”?
    I don’t want to miss an important ingredient.

    Looks fantastic!

    • 3 years ago

      Hi there Stacey. Happy Holidays to you too dear girl. Tutti Fruiti is a mix of candied fruit {Italian origins}. Heres a link to Tutti Frutti
      It is available quite widely in winter in India.

  • Suzanne
    3 years ago

    Joy, Peace and Warmth to you too Deeba. Suzanne.

    • 3 years ago

      Suzanne … much love. How was your daughters birthday? Happy belated birthday to her. xo

  • Merry Christmas to you and family, Deeba! Love the garam masala addition, and the candied peel is my fav too. Btw I have announced you as one of the judges in my post-just wonder if you received my email?

    • 3 years ago

      Yes did Jehanne. Sorry I am lagging behind in answering emails as have had plenty of overseas guests. Happy Holidays! xo

  • Suzanne
    3 years ago

    Hi Deeba,
    Thank you for your good wishes.

    Maddie enjoyed her day with her girlfriends, which is the best way to enjoy a birthday when you are young!
    As a birthday cake I made your Lavender Chiffon Cake with whipped Lemon Cream, but substituted Vanilla bean for the lavender.

    Everyone who tasted it thought it was amazing, the only problem was the Lace Collar, the melted chocolate ran out of the nozzle so fast I had no control over it.!! LOL.

    Even so I enjoyed the whole process.


    • 3 years ago

      SWEET! Yes it’s only friends that matter at this stage. I think it must be quite warm Down Under, hence the rush of the chocolate. I am craving chiffon cake as I write to you. Thank you for baking from here Suzanne. xo

  • 3 years ago

    Dear Deeba Happy belated Christmas to you!! xxxxxx

  • 3 years ago

    I must say that after filling up with rum cake the past few days. I’m most definitely in need of a little down time from all that cake. However, this is probably a good change of pace. I had a craving for left over Christmas cookies though!! Low fat this time of year is not a luxury for me it’s a must !!!! :)

  • 3 years ago

    Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year !
    Love the cake & even more the adorable Santa!

  • 3 years ago

    I admire you for being able to take something so horrendous as the outrageous, unspeakable attack on a young woman and channel it into something good… her strength as well as the united voice of people around the world are amazing and inspiring.

    Happy Holidays, my love. Your cake is stupendous and even though I don’t really like candied fruit either, this I know I would thoroughly enjoy. And the candied orange peel looks amazing! Beautiful and inspiring as always, my dear Sistah. Wishing you and your wonderful family the most Joyous of Holiday seasons filled with wonder, magic and peace. xoxo

  • There is a heaviness this holiday season. We should all raise our voices against any brutality.
    Those pics of your dog are so cute! And the cake is so interesting. I love fruitcakes and this seems a great twist on the traditional ones.

  • Barb
    3 years ago

    Do you saturate it with rum or brandy?

    • 3 years ago

      The fruit Barb? I think you can do it with either, but I used orange juice and brandy. Last year I used rum.

  • 3 years ago

    I love how the dog has a Santa hat on him or her. That is too cute.

  • 3 years ago

    Wow, garam masala in a cake. . . I am so intrigued by this recipe. Bookmarking it right away!

  • Reena Mukherjee
    3 years ago

    Hi. The recepie seems to be interesting. But when to add the Coffee & Caramel Sauce. I think the step is missing. The sugar coated orange peel looks awsome. Please provide the recepie . 1st Feb is my son’s birthday, I shall bake the cake. Waiting to hear from u.

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