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The Christmas Cake Off

The Christmas Cake Off

When it comes to serving Christmas sweets, the hardest part can be deciding on which one. Will you go for the classic kiwi pav, traditional fruitcake or impress guests with an international delight? We say Christmas only happens once a year, so eat them all! Read more about these utterly delicious Christmas cakes from around the world to help you make your decision.


It’s been an argument that has dated back for generations between New Zealand and Australia. At Farro, we hold our ground in believing that the Pavlova’s real home is right here with us. We even made it our feature cover for our Festive Feast Eating Guide! It’s not technically just a ‘Christmas Cake’ but we’ll take it as one, as it graces most Kiwi Christmas tables at this time of year. This deliciously baked meringue has a crisp crust and fluffy marshmallow-like centre, topped with fresh whipped cream and seasonal fruit – a classic crowd pleaser! 


Throughout the Middle Ages in Italy, common people could only afford brown bread while sweet bread was served in palaces to be eaten by royalty. Italian families would pinch pennies to enjoy this sweet treat once a year! Our favourites are Pandoro and Panettone. Pandoro is rich in butter, sugar and eggs. Bright yellow in colour and traditionally star-shaped, this cake is best served with a light dusting of icing sugar. You can add your own touch by cutting a hole in the top and filling with cream or gelato. Panettone, the fruit-filled sweet bread is baked in the shape of a tall dome. The process to make this sweet cake takes several days as the yeasty dough must rise and fall three times before being baked. In most Italian households it is a ritual to serve this cake at Christmas time after a meal with (you guessed it) – wine! Delizioso.

Exclusive to Farro, we import directly from Loison in Milan who offer a beautiful selection of panettone, pandoro and biscuits that are perfect for your Christmas table or as a gift. Shop in store now.  


Loved as much in its homeland as it is right here in New Zealand, tiramisu features on most Christmas tables nowadays with summery additions made to personalise it. We’ve seen everything from fruit layers and toppings, chocolate sprinkles and booze but whether it’s traditional or not the key is the use of the savoiardi biscuit as your base to soak up the coffee goodness. Created to celebrate the visit of the King of France to the Duchy of Savoy in the 15th century, it became the official court biscuit. Don’t forget to dip the non-sugared side in the coffee so it is absorbed into the biscuit.


Once you learn how to pronounce the name, you’ll find that Weihnachtsstollen (or Stollen as it is more commonly known as outside of its homeland) is a sweet yeasted bread made with candied or dried fruit, nuts and spices topped with copious amounts of icing sugar. You’ll also find a log of marzipan running through its centre. It hasn’t always been a sweet treat though, dating back to the 15th-century Stollen was originally made very plainly without the festive fruit. This year our delicious Stollen is made by our friends at Bread & Butter Bakery. The marzipan centre and sugar coating are exceptionally delicious, especially when lightly toasted with a little bit of butter.


The Yule Log, known in its home country as Buche de Noel, is a light chocolate sponge rolled with whipped chocolate buttercream in a cylindrical shape. Thought to be in celebration of the winter solstice, the cake is decorated to look like a tree trunk with bark like icing, pinecones and holly. A final dusting of icing sugar to resemble snow and you’ve got a beautiful winter snowland. A delectable change from the usual fruitcake!


This classic English cake made of dried fruits, spices and iced with marzipan was traditionally consumed on the twelfth day of Christmas (January 5th). However, in the 16th century the Lord Protector of England, Oliver Crowell, complained that there was too much Christmas excess and so feasting on this day was banned! Christmas Day remained a public holiday and some feasting was allowed, so people simply ate the cake on Christmas day and so the Christmas cake was born. (That’s what you get for banning a Christmas feast!)

Try our Pure Delish Festive Fruit Cake. Packed full of fruit and nuts and liberally laced with the finest NZ liqueurs. 


The Scots put their own twist on the Classic Christmas cake by adding (surprise, surprise) whisky! The Christmas cake is simply turned over and fed whisky through holes in the cake over a period of time. It has a very light texture and rich flavour, topped with glazed almonds or pecans in concentric circles. This is something you can try at home yourself for those that love a good boozy dessert.


The Kurisumasu Keki is typically around sponge topped with whipped cream, fresh fruit and chocolate Santas. The term and the style of decorations have evolved over time as Christmas has become more popular. In Japan, age counts, especially if you are a woman. If you’re not married by the time you are 25 then unfortunately you may be referred to as Christmas Cake – sweet and delicious, but no one really wants any after the 25th! Thankfully we don’t have such traditions in New Zealand and Christmas Cake can be enjoyed at any age, stage or variety!