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Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes

Filled with brandy-soaked dried fruits and nuts, these dense and decadent, Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes are an adapted version of the Sri Lankan Christmas Cake of my youth.

Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes - RunninSrilankan

*These Boozy Christmas Cupcakes were first published on December 19th, 2016. This post has been updated and is being re-published today, Monday the 16th of December.

When I was a young ‘un in Sri Lanka, I knew Christmas was right around the corner when my parents began our Christmas Cake.

My dad and mom would cover almost every table in our home with chopping boards as they hand-chopped a variety of dried fruits, candied fruits, fruit preserves, and nuts. Then my dad would find the biggest bowl he could and sit on one chair with the bowl perched on another chair in front of him.

Using a large wooden spoon, he would mix all these fruits and nuts with carefully measured out portions of brandy, jam, rose water, spices, vanilla and almond extracts, honey and golden syrup, that my mom would add in. They would then let this mix sit for days in a covered container.

Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes - RunninSrilankan

When they finally got around to taking the lid off this container, the smell was intoxicatingly wonderfully heavenly (and those three words don’t quite do that joy-inducing aroma justice).

They then would mix those boozy fruits, nuts and spices with semolina, butter, sugar and what seemed like a gazillion eggs and bake this Christmas Cake for hours in a heavily lined baking tray or sometimes, trays.

To me, the resulting cake was (and is) an entity unto itself. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything quite like it.

My dad loved making and eating that Christmas Cake, so when he passed in the summer of 2014, that Christmas Cake was retired.

Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes - RunninSrilankan

But, this year, in honor of him and the passion he brought to making and eating that Christmas cake, I made these Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes.

While traditional Sri Lankan Christmas Cake relies heavily on exotic ingredients like Sri Lankan Chow Chow (not to be confused with savory Chow Chow that’s available on grocery store shelves here in the US), and hard to find ingredients like pumpkin preserve and golden syrup, I figure I would make these cupcakes with ingredients I could pick up at my local grocery store.

I employed the same principle of soaking raisins, candied ginger, dates, fruit and peel mix, pecans, cardamom, cinnamon cloves, and nutmeg in jam, brandy, vanilla extract, molasses, maple syrup and rose water – and letting them sit and stew for about 4 days in a covered container.

And, when the time came for me to take that lid off, the resulting aroma took me on a ride down memory lane!

I also used spelt flour instead of semolina and almonds along with butter, brown sugar and eggs before baking. As these were cupcakes, I cut the baking time down from hours to minutes.

Filled with brandy-soaked dried fruits and nuts, these dense and decadent, Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes are an adapted version of the Sri Lankan Christmas Cake of my youth.

The resulting cupcakes were not as darkly colored as the Sri Lankan Christmas Cake of my youth, but, the flavor was so darn close.

They do not need any sort of frosting, though some people enjoy Sri Lankan Christmas cake with a layer of marzipan on top.

These cupcakes are sinfully dense, rich, moist, and decadent – aaaaaannnndddd you still have time to pull these off by Christmas Eve!!!

If you are looking to add some nutritious sides to your Christmas Dinner or Lunch Table, then please do check out these Ginger Carrots, this Cauliflower and Fig recipe and this Asparagus Egg Salad (the latter inspired by David Lebovitz )

Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes - Sri Lankan Christmas Cake.

My friends, thank you so much for stopping by my little space and commenting, and for trusting my recipes and giving them a try. I hope and pray each and every one of y’all a Very, Merry Christmas!

Looking to add some healthyish cookies to your dessert table or cookie exchange? Then this list is, for you:

[mv_create key=”1115″ type=”list” title=”45 Healthy-ISH Cookies For Christmas” thumbnail=”” layout=”grid”]
Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes - RunninSrilankan

Boozy Christmas Cake Cupcakes

4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 14 Cupcakes
Author: Shashi
Rich, dense and simply decadent, these Boozy Christmas Cupcakes are made with brandy, rose water and molasses soaked fruits, nuts, and spices – and are an exquisite treat to add to your Christmas dessert table!


For the boozy fruit/nut mix:

  • 2/3 cup Strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup fruit and peel mix
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 12 medjool dates pitted leave whole
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons rose water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup brandy

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Spelt flour
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 3 eggs


For the boozy fruit/nut mix:

  • Add the Strawberry jam, fruit and peel mix, candied ginger, medjool dates, raisins, pecans, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, rose water, vanilla extract, molasses, maple syrup and brandy to a container, mix till well blended. Cover and keep in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.

For the Boozy Cupcakes:

  • Then, on the 4th day –
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Then place the boozy fruit/nut/spice mix in a food processer (this way you don’t have to hand chop everything before) and pulse a few times.
  • Then add in the light brown sugar, Spelt flour, butter and eggs into the food processor and pulse till well blended.
  • Spoon mix into lined cupcake tray and bake for 45-50 minutes – check with a toothpick to make sure cupcakes are not sticking to it and are done.
  • Let cool completely and enjoy.
  • *The longer these sit, the better they seem to taste.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 78mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 41g
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @SavorySpin or tag #savoryspin so we can share your ceation.

These Boozy Christmas Cupcakes were also featured in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times ~ You can read the article here.

I’d love to know if you happen to make this recipe (or any other on here) so pretty please tag me @SavorySpin and #SavorySpin on InstagramTwitter &/or Facebook. And, if you haven’t yet, then please make sure to subscribe to my email list to have all sorts of eats, treats and delightful ramblings delivered right to your inbox! 

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Recipe Rating

  1. […] Slices of Sri Lankan Christmas Cake were so incredibly treasured. And, to me, one of the reasons I enjoyed visiting numerous relatives and friends while we lived in Sri Lanka. A few years ago, I missed that Sri Lankan Christmas cake so much, I made these Christmas Cake Cupcakes. […]

  2. […] well as split a Sri Lankan Christmas Cake Cupcake between […]

  3. […] these Ginger Carrots, and this Brussels Sprouts Kale Sauté along with desserts like these Boozy Christmas Cupcakes and these refined sugar-free Orange Cardamom […]

  4. […] Salad, Easy Meatless Veggie Balls, and this Easy Christmas Salad so I can enjoy treats like these Christmas Cake Cupcakes, these custard pies, pies made with this mincemeat, and these […]

  5. […] cake, like Christmas Cake, is said to get better with age. If you seal it in an airtight […]

  6. […] sister and I were younger, Christmas meant midnight mass, a sparkly Christmas tree, my mom’s Sri Lankan Christmas Cake, and Mincemeat Pies. Since those latter treats only made an appearance during Christmas, they were […]

  7. Regina says:

    Didn’t think fruit cake could be so good!

  8. Ohh. I love you story about your father. I have a lot of menories of mine around the kitchen. And, reading through your post, those memories came back putting a smile on my face. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful story. He will be very proud of you with this cupcake.
    They look so moist and rich!

  9. puja says:

    Gorgeous cupcakes Shashi and it was lovely reading about your memories of the holidays. How was your Christmas celebration Shashi, hope you enjoyed a lotttt. BTW Happy new year to you and your family in advance. 🙂

  10. These look absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try them MNIAM !!! You’re the real baking star!

  11. Catherine says:

    Dear Shashi, these cupcakes sound wonderful and what a beautiful memory behind them. Keeping tradition is so important and the best way to honor those who are no longer with us. The holidays are always the hardest without my mom and dad here…may this Christmas season be filled with joy and peace dear. Wishing you a blessed New Year too in case we’re both still on break by then! xoxo, Catherine

  12. What a sweet memory, Shashi! These cupcakes seem like the perfect tribute! I love all these flavors 🙂 Wishing you a happy holiday!

  13. Ala says:

    I love so much that you brought back an old Christmas tradition <3 these look seriously amazing and completely boozy! Just what I need this week, I think. Happiest of holidays! xo

  14. Elsie says:

    The cakes look great.I’ll try making some for my boyz

  15. Hey Shashi – Thanks for taking us down memory lane with you. I can almost see your mom and dad busily working on this Christmas cake , and you in wonder drinking in all these wonderful steps, not knowing that years later you’d be sharing all these wonderful tips on your blog. Christmas is a great time for reminiscing and baking. I love all the delicious things you soaked the fruits and nuts in. And the result is rich and decadent. I’d love to try these cupcakes. I’ve not baked with rosewater before and I’m so curious. Wishing you and all your family and extended family a beautiful Christmas. Glad you are taking the time off, I am too…and looking forward to it. Last night we watched Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire and that has to be one of my all-time fave movies. Merry Christmas! XO

  16. Your description of your mum and dad getting the fruit together for the traditional Christmas cake was lovely Shashi.

    It reminded me of my gran who would do the same chopping and marinating process. Leaving the mixture soaking for several months before baking the cake. And the smells in the house? Oh just amazing!

    Have a fantastic Christmas yourself Shashi. 🙂

  17. I love that you’re honoring your father with this recipe! I just love family recipes and food memories so much — they definitely do something for the senses! My dad was a wonderful baker, so I try to make a few of his recipes, especially this time of year! This treat sounds divine! Wonderful!

  18. Love, love, love this, Shashi!! You just rolled so many of my favorite things into this one recipe… it MUST be Christmas! Hehe. Btw, before I totally forget, I LOVED the pin too! It’s so festive and cute that I had to pin it twice. 😉 Onto your heartwarming post: thank you so much for opening up and sharing this meaningful recipe in honor of your amazing dad. <3 This is a wonderful way to honor his Christmas Cake and the memories you all made together. Just looking at these photos reminds me of the true meaning of the holidays: spending quality time with your loved ones and sharing good food. <3 Happy holidays to you, my friend. I'm so happy to have spent the year getting to know you. Here's to many more years of amazing recipes and friendship. xoxo

  19. Ashley says:

    Such a great memory from growing up! And I love that you recreated your own version with these cupcakes! They sound fantastic! Have a wonderful holiday Shashi!!

  20. Tammy says:

    Aww Shashi, you did your mom and dad proud with these little gems. Christmas is always bittersweet but what beautiful memories you have 🙂 I would love to try your Christmas cupcakes. Merry Christmas 🙂

  21. Shumaila` says:

    What a wonderful way to honor your dad. These look perfect Shashi 🙂

  22. Booze in a cupcake? Where do I sign up to eat them all?!!!! I’d make these even it it wasn’t Christmas and bet they are fantastic with some homemade eggnog too. Yummmmmmy!! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your time off 🙂

  23. So sweet! Funny how recipes and certain foods can remind you of certain people and hold memories of special times. I used to make a Christmas cake with pineapple, cherries, chocolate and brandy which was so good! Haven’t made it this year, now I’m thinking I should have! I’m sure your dad would love these cupcakes! I know I do! They look so rich and I just love the warm spices and candied ginger in there! Would be lovely with a big cup of coffee right now 🙂 Pinned! Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  24. Love reading about your memories of the holidays while growing up! You had me at the name of these delicious beauties, Shashi. These cupcakes look like a morning boozy bowl of goodness in form of a yummy cupcake. All the flavors work so well together here. Just gorgeous! Pinning!

  25. I love candied ginger! These mini holiday cakes look so inviting! Didn’t realize that Sri Lanka celebrates X’mas at all..
    Have a wonderful holiday season, Shashi.

  26. Marye says:

    Can’t go wrong with boozy cupcakes! These sound amazing!

  27. Ohh I love hearing your memories of the holidays growing up! And that Christmas cake your parents made sounds absolutely fabulous! So I am LOVING that these cupcakes are a nod to that cake!!! You definitely had my attention at ‘boozy’. hahaha. For some reason, I don’t think that will surprise you though. Love all the brandy-soaked dried fruits and nuts in here! I could eat a dangerous amount of these babies!!! I hope you have a wonderful week, my dear friend! Happy holidays! xoxoxo

  28. What a fun recipe, Shashi! I love the idea of soaking the dried fruits in brandy. I’m not a huge fan of drinking brandy, but I love using it in baking recipes! And the idea of covering this mix up and letting it “marinate” for days is pretty darned cool. It just makes the final project that much more fun! 🙂 I’m loving these muffins, and I’m sure your Dad would be proud of your slight tweaks and adjustments. Enjoy the time off this week…and don’t go spend it all painting, ok? Haha! Cheers, my friend!

  29. A taste of Christmas in a cup cake size is perfect; the mix of ingredients sound like a delicious combination.

  30. Christie says:

    These would make fabulous homemade gifts. I just found a local store that makes dried fruit. Now I know what to do with it

  31. O I love that you’ve brought it back! That’s fantastic my friend and so cute as cupcakes!

  32. Kristen says:

    Shashi–these were so not what I was execting, but everything about this is making me drool. I must try! Merry Christmas my friend!

  33. Tara says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your Christmas memories. They sound lovely and these cupcakes sound incredible! Love the combination off all those flavors and that texture

  34. SarahSarah says:

    These sound so great! Loving the candied ginger and dates…two of my favorite flavors this time of the year!