Bolo de Natal (Christmas Fruit Cake)


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and being with loved ones.  I’m spending Christmas this year here in New York with my boyfriend and some friends.  Although it’s not traditional and I’m away from family, it’s been such a wonderful Christmas so far.  We had some friends over for brunch on Christmas Eve, and will be spending this evening with some more friends.  Living here in the city, you discover that friends become family, and I’m very grateful for it.

For the Christmas Eve brunch yesterday, I made my Grandmother Teodora’s Christmas Cake, or otherwise known as as fruit cake.  Fruit case has become a sort of joke among cakes.  When you tell people you actually like fruit cake or that you’re baking it, someone will most surely give you a raised eyebrow or ask, “Why?!”  Is it that fruit cake has just become synonymous with something disgusting or does it really taste that bad?

Well I’m here to tell you that whatever your preconceived notions are of fruit cake or if you really do hate it, this might be the fruit cake to change all that.  Instead of using the crystallized candied fruit, I used dried fruits that I like such as dried mangoes and apricots.  I also didn’t use that much fruit, so that the cake itself could shine.  Maybe it won’t be this year, but next time you want to surprise people, make this fruit cake, and hopefully they end up thanking you for having changed their minds on this classic Christmas cake.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

Yields: 10-12 slices


2 cups figs, chopped small
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange marmalade
4 eggs, separated
1 cup dried fruits (dried apricots, dried mangoes, raisins, dried pineapple, and golden raisins), chopped small
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (or your preferred nut)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda



1) Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a Bundt cake pan with cooking spray or butter.

2) In a large bowl, mix together figs and butter.  Add sugar and marmalade and mix really well. Separately, beat egg yolks and add to bowl along with all of the remaining ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated into one another.


3) In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, and gently fold into the cake batter.  Pour batter evenly into cake pan and after baking for 15 minutes, lower temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.