8 Iconic Christmas Cakes and the Historic Bakeries to Find Them

Synonymous with Christmas cheer around the world, the mighty fruitcake was a Roman invention that originated as an energy booster for ancient warriors. Made with dried fruits and nuts and mixed with barley mash, honey and wine, it was the cake’s longevity that made it an ideal sustenance choice for soldiers heading off to war.

Rome has since fallen, but the fruitcake has held on, true to its long lifespan.

In India, the advent of the East India Company introduced the subcontinent to this delicacy, and the country today joins the rest of the world in serving up a serving each Christmas season.

As Christmas approaches, this is the best time to secure your cake orders, or perhaps venture to a bakery before they run out of stock.

Here are eight places serving iconic fruitcakes that you need to get your hands on:

1. Mattancherry Spiced Ripe Plum Cake – Kochi

A short 10km drive from the heart of Kochi will take you to the quaint town of Mattancherry, whose streets are steeped in history. A popular spice trading center from the 20th century, most of the city’s stories are intertwined with food.

Mattancherry has a strong Jewish population, so the Christmas celebrations are massive every year. And along with the occasion comes tasty food, including a multitude of cakes.

A favorite among them is the Mattancherry Spiced Ripe Plum Cake, which has been an inseparable part of the festive season for the past four decades.

Authentic spice cake is best served at Pandhal Cake Shop. “Infused with honey-soaked fruit and left to mature for months, the iconic spice cake is baked until deep brown in color and then sealed to lock in moisture, flavor and fragrance,” its website says.

The ingredients for the cake come from everywhere at the beginning of the year. Pandhal Cafe has mastered the art of cake baking for the last three decades.

Buy the cake here.

2. Walnut Cake – Kolkata

There is a long list of bakeries serving fruit cakes in Kolkata, but among them the walnut cake is a must try.

These are incredibly moist, fluffy, chocolate flavored cakes that are not readily available at every bakery. Covered in a remarkably decadent fudge glaze, its exemplary flavor and texture are well received around the world.

Started by Ubelina Saldanha and her husband Ignatius in 1930, Saldanha Bakery regularly sends packages throughout the city. Their best sellers are pecan pie and coconut macaroons, and their menu also includes British teatime cake, iced Christmas log with almonds, lemon drops and blueberry muffins.

“Saldanha is the only Goan-run bakery in the city,” said Alisha, who is the fourth generation of Ubelina and now runs the bakery, to indian telegraph.

3. Rich plum cake – Kannur

The Mambaly family from Kannur, Kerala is known for baking the first Christmas cake in India.

In 1882, a British man named Murdoch Brown approached Mambally Bapu, the owner of the Royal Biscuit Factory, with a request to bake a cake similar to the one he had brought from England.

Kannur's historic Mambaly bakery.
Kannur’s historic Mambaly bakery.

Bapu, who went to Burma to learn how to make cookies, took the request as a challenge. Instead of French brandy, Bapu used a local concoction and made a few other changes, which Brown thoroughly enjoyed.

Mambally Bakery has branches all over Kerala under different names. Almost all members of the later generations are involved in cooking these delicacies.

4. Honey Cake – Bangalore

Naidu & Sons Bakery is an iconic restaurant in Bangalore that has been in business since 1888.

Although the old bakery, which serves delicious honey cakes and masala cookies, closed in 1985, Naidu’s great-grandson reopened it in 2018 under a new name: Bangalore Connection 1888.

It was Naidu’s wife who learned to make bread in a British home where she worked and taught her husband the art. She started selling bread near Cantonment Station after work. She also began learning new recipes and saving to make her own bakery.

His specialties were western-style wedding cakes, jasmine cake, samosas with mutton kheema, Japanese cake, pound cakes ‘varachi’ and cookies

The honey cake, which comes in layers brimming with rich, natural honey, remains their signature item and gets many orders, especially during the festive season.

5. Vivikam Cake – Puducherry

Prepared with toasted semolina and pure ghee, vivikam the cake is also known as Pondicherry Christmas cake. The specialty of this cake is that, like fine wine, it improves with time and can be stored for weeks without refrigeration.

Sharing a piece of this with family and friends on Christmas Eve is indeed a city tradition. The recipe is of Creole import and is baked by adding cashew nuts soaked in rum or brandy, raisins, candied fruits and citrus peels.

vivikam pondicherry cake
Sharing a piece of this with family and friends on Christmas Eve is indeed a Pondicherry tradition.

Auroville Bakery, near the village of Kuilapalayam, is a popular destination serving this splendid cake. Unlike other pastry places, this bakery opens at 6:30am every day and closes at 5:30pm, by which time most of their items have sold out.

6. Allahabadi Cake – Allahabad

Have you ever seen a cinder pumpkin candy on your cake? No, it’s not gross, but it actually goes well in the Allahabadi cake, which is a rich and spicy item not to be missed.

Prepared using petha (pumpkin caramel), locally produced jam, pure ghee and a long list of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, mace and ginger, the dessert will give you an instant festive touch.

Said to have originated in the Anglo-Indian kitchens of the Allahabad railway colony, this interpretation of a traditional Christmas cake is truly Indian now.

allahabadi cake iconic cakes of india
“We bake about three to four thousand or more in the month of December.”
Photo credits: Instagram/Foodie Bawarchi

Bushy’s Bakery is one of the busiest bakeries in Allahabad serving this unique item all year round. They started baking these cakes in 1963 with a peculiar process in which customers brought their own ingredients and baked in front of them.

“We bake around three to four thousand or more in the month of December and to meet the demand, the bhattis I have to run 24/7,” says Tariq, the current owner. ZeeZest.

7. Bebinca Cake – Goa

Goa has a 500-year baking tradition and celebrates the fusion of local flavors and European cooking techniques.

The legendary bebinca is one of the most well known confectioneries in Goa. It is a multi-layered cake baked one layer at a time on low heat and uses coconut milk, ghee, and jaggery. This mode of cooking originated at a time when there were no European-style ovens. The chefs used a clay oven for baking and coconut shell and dried leaves for the fire.

bebinca cake iconic christmas cakes of india
The multi-layered bebinca cake.
Photo credits: Facebook/Parvender Rawat

This queen of Goan desserts can be savored at Mr Cafe, which has been in business since 1922. The seven-layer cake is served at his Panaji outlet year-round from 8:30am to 7:30pm.

8. Karmacha – Calcutta

This cake derives its name from the basic ingredient karmacha (Calcutta Cherries) which looks like red cherries, but is actually a sour kumquat dipped in red syrup.

is done using karmacha, black raisins and mixed fruit peels, which are left to dry in the sun for a week. Other ingredients include cashews, almonds, walnuts, petha and ginger. A pinch of garam masala is sprinkled into the mixture for just the right spice.

karmacha cake iconic christmas cakes of india
Rich in karmacha fruit from Kolkata.

Nahoum and Sons Private Limited Confectioners, located in Taltala, is a famous place to try the original and authentic cake. Founded by Nahoum Israel Mordecai in 1902, the place remains unique with its ancient atmosphere. But their menu is updated from time to time, with iconic fruitcakes, tarts, macaroons, and other classic recipes.

Edited by Divya Sethu


A Brief History of the Christmas Fruitcake and Why It’s MisunderstoodPublished by Deccan Herald on December 26, 2021.

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