Sugar, spice and all things nice: A UAE-inspired Christmas cake

Sugar, spice and all things nice: A UAE-inspired Christmas cake

This rich, fruity cake uses dates, cocoa, cinnamon and ginger to spice up your festivities

Spiced Xmas cake
Spiced Xmas cake Image Credit: Shutterstock

The traditional, time-tested spiced Christmas cake is sugar, spice and all things nice. This recipe from Christopher Lester, Executive Chef of Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, uses dates for a UAE touch, and lets the fruits soak for two days to create a fragrantly delicious cake. There’s also cocoa powder for the chocolate lovers out there.

Chef Christopher Lester, Executive Chef at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai

Lots of cinnamon and ginger too - meaning your palate's going on a festive adventure with each slice. Dig right in.

Spiced Christmas Cake

Makes: 1 square cake

Prep time: 15 mins plus 48 hours for presoaking

Cook time: 1 hour

Christmas Spiced Cake
Christmas Spiced Cake Image Credit: Courtesy of Caesars Bluewaters Dubai


360gm butter

25gm apples, (de-cored)

280gm flour

15gm baking powder

2-spice mix (cinnamon and ginger), to taste

350gm brown sugar

2 egg yolks

200gm winter berries

40gm Valrhona cocoa powder

20gm grapeseed oil

7 whole eggs

50gm demerara sugar

For presoak

30gm mix peels

35gm chopped Medjool date (you can substitute this with any other type of date)

25gm chopped Bramley apple (or any cooking apple)

25gm sultana raisins

33gm orange peel

20gm dried cranberries

500ml orange juice

5 cinnamon sticks

½ root fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)

To serve

Marzipan (store bought and rolled out to about quarter inch thickness), vanilla light custard, hibiscus and rose jelly (or any fruit jelly) and crystallised redcurrants or cherries (dusted in icing sugar)

Marinate method:

Mix the ingredients for the presoak 48 hours before preparing the cake.


1. Pre-heat oven at 180C. Grease the base of a flat cake tin.

2. Cut the butter into cubes and roughly chop the apples. Add both to the presoaked mix, and blend until combined.

3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and 2-spice mix and add to the first mix, along with all the remaining ingredients except the whole eggs and demerara sugar. Gently fold in together.

4. At room temperature add the eggs one by one and combine until you get a smooth mixture. Then add demerara sugar and combine. Pour the mixture into the cake tin until ¾ full. Bake for 50/60 minutes.

5. Remove from oven, let it rest 10 minutes, remove cake from tin and let cool completely before last step.

6. Cover with rolled out marzipan. Cut into slices and serve with vanilla custard, jelly and redcurrants.

- Recipe courtesy: Christopher Lester, Executive Chef, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai

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