This modern take on the traditional Fruitcake is made with macerated fruits and nuts, and layered with a browned butter frosting. It’s a must have dessert during the holidays!
This Fruit Cake – or Torta de Navidad – is considered a very popular and traditional dessert in Venezuela, only baked during the holidays (hence it’s name). Its great flavor comes from the macerated fruits and spices that are soaked overnight.
This cake, even though it’s not originally from Venezuela, was adapted to the ingredients found locally and, nowadays, you can find it in every single bakery around the country. It also makes for a great holiday gift for friends and co-workers (if you’re the baking kind), just wrap it in cellophane and put it in a cake tin, super cute!
I wasn’t a huge fan of fruit cakes growing up. But there was one cake that was always gifted to us, that was so, so good, I had to try to come up with a similar recipe.
How to make Fruit Cake/Torta de Navidad
The most important tip, is that you must macerate the fruits and nuts for over 12 hours in a mixture of rum and spices. This makes all the difference! To do this properly, place them in an air tight container and refrigerate overnight. Allow it to come to room temperature for 3 hours before baking the cake.
I also like to drain the mixture before adding it to the batter, and replace the liquid needed with applesauce. It gives it a less rum-y flavor and adds all the moisture.
You can choose your favorite fruits and nuts to use. The traditional version includes raisins, prunes, candied fruits, walnuts and figs. This time I chose raisins, golden raisins, orange infused cranberries, candied ginger, almonds and walnuts.
Another great tip is to weigh the batter and split it evenly between two 8-inch round pans. This is the only way to get even cakes.
How to make Browned Butter Frosting
Now, this frosting is not part of the traditional recipe. But, after testing it a few times, I found that it made it so much better. You can skip it for sure, but my recipe testers loved the combination of flavors.
Browned butter is super easy to make. All you have to do is melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it starts turning light brown and smells a bit nutty. That’s it! The process takes a few minutes but it’s so worth it.
Then, add the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until desired consistency.
Last, but not least, decorate! I added gooseberries, which are native of Peru and chopped walnuts.
I wanted to make this Torta de Navidad to share a little bit of my home with you and I’m hoping this modern take on this not-so-popular cake becomes a staple holiday recipe for you, too!
I’d love to know if you make it, so share your creations with me using #yogaofcooking or @yogaofcooking on Instagram.Print
For the batter
- 1/2 cup 8tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp all spice
- 1/3 tsp nutmeg
For the fruit mixture
- 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup orange flavored cranberries (or regular cranberries)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup 30 grs candied ginger
- 1 cup rum
For the browned butter frosting
- 1/3 cup butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
- 5–8 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the batter
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 8-inch round pans.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, on medium-high speed, cream butter and salt.
- Add sugar and brown sugar, one cup at a time.
- Mix in eggs, one at a time. Continue beating.
- Reduce speed to low, add in sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice.
- Strain fruit mixture and fold into batter. Discard rum.
- Fold in applesauce.
- Divide mixture into two prepared pans.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until light brown. Sift in powdered sugar and whisk. Add vanilla extract and milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency (I used about 8 tbsp).
- Fill and frost cake layers with the brown butter frosting.
- Decorate with fresh fruits (I used gooseberries) and chopped walnuts (or preferred nuts).
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Hispanic, latin, Spanish