Tropical Christmas Cake with Coconut Icing

merry christmas alternative with a twist tropical fruit cake with rum and ginger coconut icing and flower decoration recipe and easy method

Today, a Christmas themed Derby Clandestine Cake Club – with a twist, of course. The baking websites and newsletters I’m subscribed to are awash with amazing ideas, from festive decorations to drunk cakes and everything in between. With such a sweet tooth I saw a tropical fruit cake recipe and was sold instantly – Rob came up with the idea of coconut icing which was a great snowy touch.

As with a traditional Christmas cake, you can really use any fruits you’d like. There are some great pre-mixes of tropical fruit out there that will save you buying them all separately, and the ginger can be omitted if you’re not a fan. I’ve not actually made a Christmas cake before and am surprised at the ratio of fruit over cake – this definitely counts as one of your five a day 🙂


Tropical Christmas Cake
600g mixed tropical dried fruit.
(I used a 200g mix of apricots, sultanas and apples, plus 400g mix of pineapple, papaya and mango)
50ml rum or other spirit (optional)
185g butter
185g golden caster or light brown sugar
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g chopped crystallised ginger
Spice blend as desired – I used 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg

Coconut Icing
75g butter
150g icing sugar
200g desiccated coconut

If you’ve time, soak the dried fruit overnight in the rum , in a covered bowl.
Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, spices, baking powder and sieved flour, and beat again until smooth.
Finally, add the dried fruit and ginger and mix well combined with an even distribution of fruit.
Pour into a greased, lined in – 7 inches round with high sides is perfect, but you could use a larger round, a square or even a novelty tin.
Bake at 150 degrees for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Timing will very much depend on your oven type, mine took around 2 1/2 hours in a fan oven. If the top is starting to brown then cover with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely – overnight is ideal as you don’t want the icing to melt off!

tropical fruit alternative christmas cake mango pineapple papaya recipe easy rum and ginger flavouring

For the icing, simply beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. If you have an electric stand mixer then leave it on for 4-5 minutes, the extra beating will lighten the mixture so that the tallow of the butter fades into a white.
Add the coconut and beat again until smooth, use a dash of milk if it’s a little too stiff.
Use immediately as it will set hard – applying generously all over the cake, and smoothing with a palette knife dipped in hot water.

coconut ice style icing spreading on tropical christmas fruit cake recipe and method

smooth coconut iced cake icing recipe easy finished with a palette knife tropical cake

I wanted a little decoration to finish – the coconut icing balled up beautifully and I had planned on making snowmen, but a last minute change of mind led to tropical flowers instead, alluding to the rich colours inside.

These were quite simply 2 flower shapes, one with rounded petals and the other more jagged, in orange and red, placed alternately and finished with a touch of red food colouring as paint, red mottled centre and festive touch of edible glitter! I mixed a little tylo powder into the fondant so it would set hard, and placed them in a wooden egg tray to get a curved effect.

tropical fondant flours orange and red alternate edible glitter setting with tylo powder in egg cup for form

I stuck the flowers onto the cake with a little ordinary white icing, and finished with a festive greeting!

tropical christmas cake coconut snow icing merry christmas with red and orange flowers edible glitter

The finished cake – Christmas plate essential, of course 🙂

coconut icing merry christmas tropical fruit cake recipe and simple instructions alternative and easy

easy alternative christmas cake recipe tropical fruit mango pineapple papaya with apricot rum and ginger red and orange flower fondant decoration coconut icing

It was a big hit at cake club and back at home as well – the icing set like a delicious coconut ice, I might be making a batch of this just as is! And the fruit colours inside came out great too.

slice of tropical christmas fruit cake with coconut icing recipe and how to contains mango pineapple papaya apricot sultanas flavoured with rum and ginger

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lindsay says:

    I like the idea of coconut icing. LOVE coconut.


    1. bakearama says:

      I cannot tell you how good it was. Like coconut ice, with cake in the middle. I ate a lot more of that than can be good for me!


  2. neetukushi says:



  3. kerrycooks says:

    It looks very moist and tasty – glad the Derby cake club is going well!


    1. bakearama says:

      The speed it went down is always a good test! You should try coming along to the Nottingham one – I’m hoping to organise another for mid-Jan x


  4. Andrew says:

    I thought I’d help out at Christmas and got into trouble with this recipe…. firstly the ingredients list has “3 eggs” twice and secondly it would appear that the golden caster sugar is never actually used. You may imagine my wife’s comments after I had mixed everything and I asked “Why have I still got a bowl of sugar on the work top?”


    1. bakearama says:

      Oh no I’m so sorry, thanks for the heads up! Everything is now updated and I hope it worked out for you in the end – the good thing with fruit cake is that you don’t have to be too methodical in the mixing! Merry christmas 🙂


      1. Stephenie says:

        150 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit?


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