Not a fruit cake fan? Try these Christmas cake recipes instead

Le Gâteau Marbré au Café. Picture: Supplied.

Le Gâteau Marbré au Café. Picture: Supplied.

Published Nov 21, 2023


Fruit cake might be a Christmas-time favourite for some but for others, it just doesn’t hit the spot. So to tantalise your taste buds this festive season, we have put together some of our favourite sweet treats to enjoy these holidays.

Khashifah Ismail’s decadent chocolate cake


250g soft margarine

1½ cups castor sugar

4 eggs

4 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cocoa powder

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla essence

400g dark chocolate, chopped

400ml whipping cream

2 tbsp butter

Khashifah Ismail’s decadent chocolate cake. Picture: Supplied.


Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a rack in the centre. Line two 20cm x 20cm square pans with baking paper.

Place the margarine and sugar in a bowl, and using a hand-held beater with a paddle attachment, beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat between each egg. Add the vanilla essence and mix until all ingredients are well combined.

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing in slowly until well combined and lump-free.

Pour half the batter into each cake tin (It is recommended to always weigh the batter to get the exact amount into each pan) and bake for 35 minutes. Insert a cake skewer into the middle, and if it comes out clean, the cakes are done.

Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from their tins.

Next, make sugar syrup by heating half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water until the sugar dissolves. When cool, use a pastry brush to apply the syrup to both cakes, as this will keep them moist and allow the chocolate ganache to stick to the cake more effectively.

For the chocolate ganache, heat the cream until just before it starts to boil, then remove from the heat and pour it over the broken-up chocolate, stirring all the while, so the chocolate melts.

Add the butter and mix well, so the ganache is shiny. Leave to cool overnight.

To assemble: Cut the cakes in half, so you have four layers. Whip the ganache to a piping consistency, place it into a piping bag, and apply it until it covers the entire cake. Set in the fridge until firm, then slice, serve, and eat!

Jaen-Mari Breytenbach’s carrot cake. Picture: Supplied.

Jaen-Mari Breytenbach’s carrot cake


400g cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

295ml vegetable oil

200g sugar

200g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 eggs

300g carrots, peeled and grated (save the peels for garnish)

125g pecan nuts, chopped

65g raisins

65g pineapple, grated

65g zucchini, grated

Zest of 2 lemons

130g dried cranberries

Cream cheese icing

113g salted butter, softened

226g cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon salt

500g powdered sugar

½ cup lemon zest


Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 23cm round cake pans and line the bottom with baking paper, then grease the top of the paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, both sugars and vanilla essence. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the dry ingredients in three parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts and raisins.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake until the tops of the cake layers are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (35 to 45 minutes).

Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely.

Cream cheese icing

Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use an electric hand mixer) and beat until creamy, well-combined, and lump-free. Add vanilla essence and salt and stir well to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. Use ice to completely cool the cake.

Le Gâteau Marbré au Café


10g ground coffee

1 tbsp cocoa powder

100g almond powder

250g flour

200g butter

180g sugar

100ml milk

10ml vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder


Preheat the oven to 175°C. Using a hand mixer, whisk the sugar and eggs together for 5 minutes, then add the vanilla extract and mix in until light and fluffy. Melt the butter and add it gradually to the mixer until well incorporated.

Sift the flour, add the almond powder and baking powder and gently fold the dry ingredients into the mixture until all are combined. Remove a small amount of the mixture and mix in the cocoa powder.

Fold the cocoa mixture gently back into the other batter to create a marble effect. Gently pour into a prepared 20cm x 10cm loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, you know it’s done. Let the cake cool in the pan before removing it and placing it onto a wire rack to cool completely.