Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bolo di kashupete (Aruban Christmas cake)

How did you enjoy Christmas day? I hope it was spent in the loving company of family and friends. As much as I enjoy the actual day of Christmas it's always such a blur of activity so that I look forward to the days after when I can laze about and relax with a fridge full of left overs so I don't have to cook. 

Here is a traditional Christmas cake from the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. I have been insanely curious about this recipe ever since I encountered it about two years ago. Essentially it's a pound cake soaked in rum with a fudge topping. The unusual frosting is what initially caught my interest. I stayed true to the recipe but decorated it a bit differently. 

I don't have that much of a sweet tooth so there was no way I could cover the entire cake with fudge. I think not doing that was a mistake because the cake was a bit dry and there wasn't much of a rum flavour. I am supposing that covering the entire cake in the frosting 'seals' it which would keep it nice and moist. In any event it was no hardship for me to correct my flaw by simply pouring a 'capful' of spiced rum over each slice before serving - problem solved.  

Traditionally, Aruban cashew cake is decorated with cashews and maraschino cherries. It is also sliced in half and covered and filled with the frosting. I did not have cherries so I substituted with dried cranberries which looked pretty. Also I ran out of cashews, so I used walnuts. The texture of the frosting is somewhat grainy (it's a fudge after all) and I found it a bit sweet for my tastes but no one else complained. Overall a very festive looking cake with lots of holiday flavour.

Bolo di Kashupete (Cashew Cake)


2 cups butter (unsalted)
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt

Cashew Frosting
3 cups finely ground cashews (unsalted)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 to 1/2 cup Rum *(I used a spiced rum but you could use Brandy)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method (Cake)
Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 10 inch springform cake pan with a hole in the centre. Dust pan with flour after greasing.

Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature  

Next sift together the dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder and salt). 

Beat: Using a stand mixture and a paddle attachment. Beat the softened butter at medium speed until it is light in colour. Add the sugar and continue to beat for about 4 mins longer. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and with the mixer on low speed add the eggs one at a time. Beat for about a minute before adding the next one. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Add dry to wet: Add about a third of the sifted dry ingredients and gently fold into the egg mixture on low speed. Add another third of the dry ingredients and fold in gently. Do this once more and mix on low until dry ingredients are gradually incorporated into the egg mixture.

Bake: Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake at 350 F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in tin for about 10 mins before removing it from the pan. Stick holes in the cake with a skewer and pour 1/4 cup or more of rum over the cake. Cool completely before frosting.

Method (Frosting)

In a medium saucepan add 1 cup water with 2 cups sugar. Cook until the mixture gets to the soft ball stage (240 F) Once it reaches 240 F add the condensed milk, vanilla extract and the ground cashew. Remove from the heat and keep stirring until it becomes a manageable thick cream. (Cashew cream dries fast so make this the day you intend to decorate the cake. It cannot be made before hand as it will harden. Keep a bowl of water nearby to dip your spatula while spreading the cream)


  1. Realmente hermoso es una delicia este pan ,te mando una lluvia de bendiciones para el año 2013,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  2. It looks wonderful, even if not totally covered in fudge. I hope you've had and are having a wonderful season. Very best wishes for the rest of the year and 2013. Lots of love X X X

  3. Beautiful cake! And I am crazy about cakes soaked in rum. I'm not a fan of drinking rum, but in desserts it's divine. Hope your Christmas was merry!

  4. Cake looks yum!!! I've never had a frosting that had cashews in it..I'm sure it was delicious!

  5. What an intriguing cake! I would have wanted to make it too! :D It sounds like you're having a delicious holiday season Wizzy! :D

  6. I love the ingredients in your cake and it looks delightful and fluffy.

  7. mouthwateringly....mmmmarvelous! Thankyou. i will definitely try this!..... might have to use sorrel for cranberries... Much love to you and yours for the New Year Wizzy x

    1. Zooms, sorrel would be a great substitute or you could opt for the more traditional maraschino cherries

  8. The cake looks so festive! I could totally relate to your feelings regarding the holiday and I am for one looking forward to the end of it!

  9. What a delightfully festive cake...I especially love the almond in this =) Happy Holidays, my friend!!!

  10. this is a really unique and appealing cake! i especially love the pretty cranberries and walnuts adorning the top. :)

  11. Cashews are so delicious, and so rarely appreciated in desserts- That frosting sounds amazing! I've seen quite a few Christmas cakes this year, but none quite like this. What a stunning grand finale. :)

  12. YUMMY!!!!! This recipe looks fantastic, I love Christmas cakes, especially those that are super rummy! I hope your Christmas was great! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!
    Much Love
    Chari T (deep fried stilettos)

  13. I love Aruba but it's been years since I was there and I never had this cake! I'm dying to try it. Maybe today :)

    Happy New Year!

  14. Wow..that cake looks beautiful...