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Traditional Christmas Cake of Sri-Lanka

Updated on October 24, 2011

Traditional Christmas Cake of Sri-Lanka is supposed to be the richest and the most delicious of all Christmas cakes. We start making it around mid November and by Christmas it will be more delicious. You can try this out with small quantities first. Just try it once and you will never regret.


250 g seedless dark-raisins

350 g seedless golden raisins

250 g mixed glace fruit

250 g preserved ginger, drained

500 g (1 jar) chow chow preserves or melon and ginger jam, drained*

125 g mixed citrus peel (no pith)

250 g glaced cherries

250 g raw cashews or blanched almonds

1 cup brandy

3/4 cup butter

2 cups (granulated) sugar

12 egg yolks

6 egg whites

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons vanilla essence

1 tablespoon almond essence

2 teaspoons rose essence

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups semolina flour (lightly roasted with a little butter)

The day before :

  • Chop raisins, mixed glace fruit, preserved ginger, chow chow preserves and citrus peel into small pieces.
  • Cut glace cherries in halves.
  • Chop nuts very finely.
  • Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 of the brandy, cover and set aside for 24 hours to allow fruit to absorb more of the brandy.

  1. After 24 hours (or more), grease a 10-inch cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add grated lemon rind, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, almond, rose essence and honey and mix well.
  5. Add the semolina and mix until well combined.
  6. Add the brandied chopped fruit and nuts, stirring until fruit and nuts are dispersed evenly throughout the batter.
  7. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  8. Gently fold the beaten egg whites throughout the cake batter.
  9. Turn into prepared cake pan.
  10. Bake in a 275*F (130*C) oven for 2 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. (You may cover the cake pan with foil after 30 minutes to prevent over-browning.)
  11. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove cake from pan.
  12. Sprinkle with remaining brandy & allow cake to cool completely, preferably overnight.
  13. Wrap cooled cake tightly in foil.
  14. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy over the cake every week to keep it moist.
  15. You can keep this cake for a year or longer in an airtight container.

Serves 24 - 30

You may cover it with almond icing if desired.


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    • profile image

      Geraldine 4 years ago

      this is the first time in my life um gonna. Make a christmas cake on my own, so ur receipe seems the same as the way my mum use to make, so um now in the process of making it, wish me luck n merry christmas!

    • profile image

      TC2315 4 years ago

      I made this cake a few days ago... only issue was it got a bit dry.. i have to try again and next time cover it after 30min or so.

      Also should I crumble the cake and mix with strawberry jam???? if so how much jam should i use?

    • profile image

      nirmani 4 years ago

      thank you for your great recipe.i am also from srilanka currantly stay in maldives.please tell me what is the baking pan size you have used for this many cake pieces you can cut ?because i need to wrap it and use in my sisters wedding.thank you so much

    • profile image

      Susan 4 years ago

      Enjoyed your page but could not find a receipe I am looking for




    • ceylon4ever profile image

      ceylon4ever 5 years ago from Toronto

      How many calories/grams of fat in one piece of wrapped wedding cake?

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 6 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Brandy is the best.. but you may try other options. However, the taste of the cake shouldn't be spoiled.

    • profile image

      harshani 6 years ago

      can i use wine instead of brandy??? will it change the taste my cake??? that wine is king coconut wine

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 6 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Dear Homecook1234,

      Its so nice to know that my recipe helped someone from somewhere else in the globe.

      I hope more people will try out this recipe this Christmas season.


    • profile image

      homecook1234 6 years ago

      I used this recipe to make my wedding cakes, it turned out wonderful.thank you for posting the recipe cool chick . I

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 6 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Hi guys, So sorry about the long delay to answer your queries.

      A replacement for semolina?? I'm sorry I cant think of anything other than self raising flour, but you wont get the same texture & wont be able to keep the cake for months.

      Sweet Sherry.. might make the cake more sweet.

      I'm not sure but I've heard that the same recipe is used for the wedding cakes.

      For me, the best Christmas cake in Colombo (other than what I make) is what you can buy from 'Hilton'/'Cinnamon Grand' Pastry Shops or from 'Fab'.

      No Flour & no Baking powder at all.

      Mixed Citrus peel is available in Super markets. Its a mix of candied Orange & Lemon peel.

      Happy Baking !

    • profile image

      chuti 6 years ago

      what is mixed citrus peel..

    • profile image

      Manju 6 years ago

      No need of baking powder?

    • profile image

      Monica Minewiser 6 years ago

      I am here for a few months, and renting. there is no oven. I would like to know where I could buy the BEST Christmas cake according to your recipe?

      Thank you,


    • profile image

      niru 7 years ago

      is this the same recipe for wedding cake.

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 7 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Dear Indunil, This is the first time I heard that dry fish is used for the Christmas cake. Someone probably cracked a joke.

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 7 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Semolina is a coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, and also used for breakfast cereals and puddings.

      Yes we normally crumble the cake & sprinkle a couple of glassfulls of Brandy & keep in an airtight container (stainless steel or glass) for a week or two and then add a little Bees Honey/Jam and press down with a rolling pin and cut in to pieces. For this we use a cake cutter. And then we wrap each piece in oil paper and then in glass paper & serve to guests, during the Christmas season.

    • aunty rose profile image

      aunty rose 7 years ago


      I migrated to India from Sri Lanka way back in 1972. I learnt cake making and baking in Colombo. After coming to India, every year for Christmas, I bake the Christmas cake which we used to make in Colombo, with rawa instead of maida. Everyone who eats the cake simply adores it. I am working in a public sector Bank as Asst General Manager. It is a great favorite in my office and amoung relatives. The cake keeps for 6 months to one year.

      In Chennai, instead of chow chow preserve, u can add tutti fruiti for the same weight. (I am also staying in Chennai).

    • profile image

      nicola thuring 7 years ago

      is good tried all rady

    • profile image

      Din 7 years ago

      It sounds great am gonna try it. Even i like to know about the adding of strawberry jam. could you please tell how to add it.

    • profile image

      Lyn 7 years ago

      Sounds delicious! I'm going to try baking this tomorrow.

      Can I substitute sweet sherry in place of the brandy? Will that change the taste?

    • profile image

      indunil 8 years ago

      hey.. someone told me that they use dry fish and maldivian fish to make the cake more tastier. is it true????

    • profile image

      Kanchana 8 years ago


      What's semolina? From where can I get these coz Im in New Zealand. What can I use as a replacement for this if I cant find.

    • profile image

      Cham 8 years ago

      Yeah, I'm gonna try this......My Aunt told me that we have to crumble the cake and Mix with strawberry Jab & roll it with rolling pin. Is that true? Could you please tell us about that step? Thanks!

    • profile image

      Gloria 8 years ago

      Let me know where u get the chow chow preserves in mumbai

    • profile image

      kusal 8 years ago

      yep yep i made it..........

    • profile image

      kusal 8 years ago

      yep yep i made it..........

    • profile image

      Roshi 8 years ago

      What is semolina????

    • profile image

      Jenna 8 years ago

      for any recipe, to increase or to decrease the amount, you just have to multiply or divide the amount. To double the amount, you have to double every ingredient.

    • profile image

      Ish 8 years ago

      Hi if I'm to double the fruit ammount, how much egg yolks and whites should i increase? don't wanna put over and ruin it.

    • profile image

      j dextor 8 years ago

      i have tried this cake so many times but i am anable to get

      some items from india i am an sri lanken now iam an indian chow chow is not avalable in india .do u have any idea from where i can get from chennai(india)

    • profile image

      Pauline 8 years ago

      I like to order wedding cake(fruit)cake - any ideas - Please email.



    • profile image

      mira 9 years ago

      i made the cake and i just loved it i am happy that i got the sri lankan way of making the chrismass thank you sooooooo much

    • profile image

      Jeanne 9 years ago

      what's up with zhengo?

      i tasted some cake from friend at work so now i've bought all the ingredients- as much as i could get and my niece is currently attempting to make it. Fingers crossed.

    • profile image

      JEEV 9 years ago

      Dear Mira.. Yes, its absolutely yummy. First try it with a small quantity.. like 1/2 or 1/4 of each qty.

      Happy baking.


    • profile image

      mira hussain 9 years ago

      i love chrismas cake but never made it your recipe seems yummy i hope to make it soon

    • Vondre profile image

      Vondre 9 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Please accept this heart felt note of thanks for the stunningly lovely cake recipe for sharing it.. It taste so good..

      Well, I too have a cake related hub page as well. Just click on my picture to check it out when you have time

      Happy Baking!

    • profile image

      Linda  10 years ago

      Once I tasted this kind of Christmas cake at a Sri-Lankan friends place, it was awesome. But you know, she has wrapped it up like you wrap wedding cake and it was so moist and tasty. She told me that you guys crumble the cake and roll it with rolling pin. Is that true? Could you please tell us about that step? Thanks!

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 10 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      hi Julie .. If theres Sri-Lankan grocerys around, you can find Candied Peel & Chow Chow there. Otherwise, Candied Peel can be replaced by Marmalade, without syrup. Chow Chow can be replaced by Melon Jam, drained.

    • profile image

      julie 10 years ago

      where can i get the candied peel and chow chow preserves? I'm in the US.

    • profile image

      Kelly  10 years ago

      Hey, I tried this recipe ! It was awsome !!!!!!!

      I don't know if I can keep this till christmas coz everyone wants to taste it.

      Thank U so much for the recipe, Cool Chick.

    • cool chick profile image

      cool chick 10 years ago from Sri-Lanka

      Yes .. we don't use flour for our christmas cake. We can keep this for months. Normally we cover the top with almond icing, cut into pieces, and wrap it nicely.

    • profile image

      cookie-monster 10 years ago

      sounds tasty. gonna try this christmas.

    • profile image

      monalisa 10 years ago

      No Flour ? :O

    • profile image

      angel 10 years ago

      ;) looks yummy .. should try this.

    • profile image

      Sally 10 years ago

      Yeah. I too have heard about their traditional christmas cake, but didn't have the recipe. I'll try this one. If I come across any problem with it, I'll be counting on you. TY.