Lebanese Christmas Cake

AuthorSylvieCategory, , DifficultyIntermediate

There is nothing like my delicious Christmas cake! It celebrates amazing Lebanese flavors; Carob Molasses, marmalade, Kamar El Dine, Lebanese single malt, lots of dried fruits, and the creamiest Ashta frosting. It smells, tastes, and looks like Christmas!

Yields10 Servings
Prep Time1 hr 15 minsCook Time1 hr 45 minsTotal Time3 hrs 45 mins
Christmas Cake
 340 g unsalted butter
 6 tbsp Carob Molasses
 ¼ cup marmalade or mixed peel
 280 g raisins
 160 g dried prunes, finely chopped
 100 g dried strawberries, finely chopped
 160 g Kamar El Dine or dried apricots, finely chopped
 1 tsp orange zest
 1 tsp lemon zest
 2 star anise
 6 eggs, at room temperature
 2 ½ tbsp Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum
 375 g whole wheat flour
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
 ½ tsp baking powder
 225 g ground almond
Ashta Frosting
 80 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
 ¾ cup powdered sugar
 Pinch of salt
 170 g Ashta can, at room temperature
 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1

In a medium sauce pan, place the butter, molasses, marmalade (or mixed peel), raisins, dried prunes, dried strawberries, Kamar El Dine, lemon zest, orange zest, and star anise. Turn on the heat to low medium. Slowly let the butter melt, while stirring occasionally. Once the butter melts completely, turn the heat off, and let the mixture cool for about 45 minutes. Remove the star anise before using.

2

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line 2 identical 19-20 cm round cake pans with parchment paper. Tie a double band of parchment or newspaper sheet around the outside. This acts as an insulator and helps prevent the cake from browning too fast. If you do not want to prepare a double layer cake, you can bake it in one pan, but it will definitely need more time in the oven.

3

Beat the eggs with the Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum until pale in color and foamy.

4

Transfer the soaked fruits mixture into a big bowl. Carefully fold in the beaten eggs without mixing too much. Now sift in the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Add the ground almond. Gently mix everything with your spatula, until you have a homogeneous batter. It should be thick.

5

Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated 150°C oven for 60 Minutes, then lower the heat to 120°C and continue baking. If the cakes begin browning too fast, cover them loosely with parchment paper. Check their doneness after 90-100 minutes. The cakes have to be brown in color, and firm to the touch. You can insert a toothpick into their centers; it should come out very dry and clean. If you are baking a single cake, it can take up to 2 1/2 hours to cook.

6

Remove the cakes from the oven, and let them completely cool in the pans. If desired, prick their tops with a toothpick, and slowly pour 2 tbsp of Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum to “feed the cakes” while they are still warm. You can make this cake ahead of time, store it in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in foil, and feed it once or twice per week to keep it moist. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.

7

To make the frosting, whip the butter (needs to be at room temperature), while slowly adding the powdered sugar. Add a pinch of salt, and continue whipping until creamy. Once you reach the desired consistency, add the Ashta, vanilla, and whip until combined. Cover and refrigerate the frosting for 10 minutes.

8

Assemble the cake: place the first cake on your cake stand or plate, add a big dollop of frosting, and spread it out evenly to the edges. Top with the other cake, and another generous dollop of frosting, then spread it out. Decorate the top with dried citrus, kumquats, berries or pomegranate, green leaves, cinnamon sticks,... Make it look like Christmas! Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar. Alternatively, if you’re not preparing the frosting, just dust your cake with powdered sugar and decorate it as you desire.

Ingredients

Christmas Cake
 340 g unsalted butter
 6 tbsp Carob Molasses
 ¼ cup marmalade or mixed peel
 280 g raisins
 160 g dried prunes, finely chopped
 100 g dried strawberries, finely chopped
 160 g Kamar El Dine or dried apricots, finely chopped
 1 tsp orange zest
 1 tsp lemon zest
 2 star anise
 6 eggs, at room temperature
 2 ½ tbsp Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum
 375 g whole wheat flour
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
 ½ tsp baking powder
 225 g ground almond
Ashta Frosting
 80 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
 ¾ cup powdered sugar
 Pinch of salt
 170 g Ashta can, at room temperature
 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1

In a medium sauce pan, place the butter, molasses, marmalade (or mixed peel), raisins, dried prunes, dried strawberries, Kamar El Dine, lemon zest, orange zest, and star anise. Turn on the heat to low medium. Slowly let the butter melt, while stirring occasionally. Once the butter melts completely, turn the heat off, and let the mixture cool for about 45 minutes. Remove the star anise before using.

2

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line 2 identical 19-20 cm round cake pans with parchment paper. Tie a double band of parchment or newspaper sheet around the outside. This acts as an insulator and helps prevent the cake from browning too fast. If you do not want to prepare a double layer cake, you can bake it in one pan, but it will definitely need more time in the oven.

3

Beat the eggs with the Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum until pale in color and foamy.

4

Transfer the soaked fruits mixture into a big bowl. Carefully fold in the beaten eggs without mixing too much. Now sift in the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Add the ground almond. Gently mix everything with your spatula, until you have a homogeneous batter. It should be thick.

5

Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated 150°C oven for 60 Minutes, then lower the heat to 120°C and continue baking. If the cakes begin browning too fast, cover them loosely with parchment paper. Check their doneness after 90-100 minutes. The cakes have to be brown in color, and firm to the touch. You can insert a toothpick into their centers; it should come out very dry and clean. If you are baking a single cake, it can take up to 2 1/2 hours to cook.

6

Remove the cakes from the oven, and let them completely cool in the pans. If desired, prick their tops with a toothpick, and slowly pour 2 tbsp of Single Malt, Brandy, or Rum to “feed the cakes” while they are still warm. You can make this cake ahead of time, store it in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in foil, and feed it once or twice per week to keep it moist. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.

7

To make the frosting, whip the butter (needs to be at room temperature), while slowly adding the powdered sugar. Add a pinch of salt, and continue whipping until creamy. Once you reach the desired consistency, add the Ashta, vanilla, and whip until combined. Cover and refrigerate the frosting for 10 minutes.

8

Assemble the cake: place the first cake on your cake stand or plate, add a big dollop of frosting, and spread it out evenly to the edges. Top with the other cake, and another generous dollop of frosting, then spread it out. Decorate the top with dried citrus, kumquats, berries or pomegranate, green leaves, cinnamon sticks,... Make it look like Christmas! Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar. Alternatively, if you’re not preparing the frosting, just dust your cake with powdered sugar and decorate it as you desire.

Lebanese Christmas Cake
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