Pacific Christmas Cake

From issue #6.
Pacific Christmas Cake

Filled with dried tropical fruits, nuts and spices, this cake really does have all the flavours of the Pacific. If you wish to decorate the cake prior to serving, brush the top with warm apricot jam, thinned with a little water or lemon juice and sieved to remove any solids. Arrange extra dried fruits and toasted nuts to cover the surface and glaze again with more jam to give everything a shine.


140 grams each pistachio and macadamia nuts
150 grams butter, softened
200 grams grated palm sugar
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
1 ¼ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground coriander
100 grams each dried pineapple, pawpaw, apricots,
100 grams crystallised ginger
extra rum for pouring over cake


Preheat oven 200ºC.

Line a 13cm square wooden cake box or 20cm round cake tin, with a double thickness of baking paper.
Lightly toast the macadamias in the oven, remove and reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC. Rub any loose skins off the pistachios and roughly chop the macadamias, along with the dried fruits and ginger.

Beat the butter, sugar and citrus zests together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. This is easily done using an electric mixer. Combine all the dry ingredients with the fruit and nuts. Using a large metal spoon, fold this through the butter and egg mixture, adding the vanilla and rum.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for approximately 2 ½ hours, covering the top with foil if it gets too dark. Test with a skewer. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool completely. Douse the cake with 3 tablespoons of rum every week for 3-4 weeks. Keep
the cake wrapped in muslin or cheesecloth in an airtight container in a cool dark place.