Italian panforte cake

Brownie Christmas Trees


This beautiful, sticky Italian fruit cake is rich with honey, mixed fruit, cocoa, nuts and spices. Try serving this delicious cake this Christmas instead of instead of the traditional heavy Christmas cake


  • 140g hazelnuts toasted and skins rubbed off
  • 140g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 150g raisins
  • 150g mixed peel
  • 75g crystallised pineapple chopped
  • 110g flour
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup liquid honey
  • 150g caster sugar


Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine all ingredients except honey and sugar in a large bowl.

Place honey and sugar in a heavy pan and stir on low heat without boiling until sugar dissolves about 10-15 minutes. Raise heat until bubbling and cook just until a drop of mixture forms a soft ball in cold water.

Add at once to the bowl and mix quickly until no flour is visible. Mixture will be very sticky.

Smooth into greased lined 24cm cake tin. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Cool in tin then wrap well and it should keep for about a month.

Dust thin wedges with icing sugar to serve.


  • This sweet cake is lovely with coffee, or after dinner.
  • The addition of black pepper and coriander give it a little bit of contrasting spice.
  • This recipe was created by Melissa Hughes for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best recipe finder.

Serving Suggestions


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