Day 363: Slow-roast Beef on a Bun and Light Coconut Christmas Cake

I was determined to make this cake before the holiday season was completely over, having asked for the recipe and bought coconut and pineapple and all, and this morning’s snow inspired me to – big, clumpy flakes that fell out of the sky until noon when they gave way to blowing sparkles that you could see but barely feel on our walk down to the river at Sandy (in this case, snowy) Beaches.

We had a dinner and games night planned at my Mom’s, so I had somewhere to bring the surplus. And I had been pondering the idea of fondue on New Year’s Eve (also technically this blog’s year-long wrap-up) and it occurred to me that this sturdy cake would be ideal for a chocolate fondue, for which I might otherwise make pound cake (anything firm and dense is easy to cut into cubes and won’t fall apart in the chocolate) and thin, small biscotti. In fact, a dense light fruitcake sliced thinly, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and baked until golden would make mighty fine, light and crispy biscotti-esque cookies.

So then I thought of caramel fondue, which is divine served with white cheese popcorn for dipping. No, wait – maple caramel fondue. Or sticky toffee fondue. Or both!

Obviously I don’t have a month to wrap and store it, but it was fantastic all the same. This is R’s recipe as she sent it, but I opted for other dried fruits in place of the candied cherries, which I just find a little blech. (Not to mention all that food colouring. And how do they get the cherries bright green anyway? Green plus red does not make green…) I’m not a huge fan of things flavoured with almond extract, but this worked. I’m thinking that maybe next time coconut extract would be just the thing with all that coconut. If you are a ginger fan, this would make a great vehicle for chunks of candied ginger.

You will need a very big bowl. There is barely enough batter to hold the fruit and nuts together (yum). Bake the batter in two 9″x5″ loaf pans. I’ll also add imperial measurements beside the weights, for those of you who don’t own a kitchen scale.

Light Coconut Christmas Cake


December 28, 2008

  • Makes: Makes 2 fruitcakes.


1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cups crushed pineapple (not drained)

2 lbs sultana raisins (about 7  cups)

1 lb shredded coconut (about 4 cups)

1/2 lb citron peel (I used a small container - 250 g - but you could use a larger one)

1/2 lb halved candied cherries (about 2 cups - I used some cherries, some cranberries, some chopped dried apricots, a few dates)

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup brandy or fruit juice (you could just use more of the juice from the pineapple)


1Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and flavorings. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour and baking powder. Combine the fruit and nuts with the remainder of the flour (1 cup). Add the pineapple and brandy alternately with the flour and baking powder. Stir in the fruit and nut mixture. Bake in 2 loaf pans at 275 degrees for about 3 hours with a pan of water in the oven. Wrap in brandy soaked cheesecloth for a month in a cool place.


Dinner itself was the slow-roast beef my mom likes to make for occasions such as these – start with an 8-12 pound boneless rolled roast of beef – eye of round is what she usually uses – and preheat the oven to 450F. Put your roast in the oven (in a pan, obviously) and immediately turn the oven down to its lowest setting and leave it for 8 hours. This works well overnight or all day – make sure you don’t open the oven door to take a peek. After 8 hours, turn the oven up to 350F for about 20 minutes to heat it through, then shred with two forks and season with barbecue sauce and serve on soft buns. (Alternatively, you could brown the beef in a frying pan and then cook it on low in your slow cooker all day.)


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11 comments on “Day 363: Slow-roast Beef on a Bun and Light Coconut Christmas Cake

  1. Heidi
    December 29, 2008 at 8:56 am

    regarding the cherries: I saw on one of those how-they-do-stuff shows that they first bleach the cherries until white, then dye them.
    All the best for the future Julie; will miss you dreadfully, luv ya’.

  2. Erica B.
    December 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Biscotti for dipping in fondue? I never would have come up with that! Thanks!! DH got an All Clad fondue pot from a client this Christmas so I was planning chocolate fondue for NYE.

    I really need to start cooking!

  3. michelle @ TNS
    December 29, 2008 at 10:14 am

    i got totally stuck on the sticky toffee fondue, which i will be figuring out how to make shortly. very shortly.

  4. Ann
    December 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Re: Heidi’s post: “Bleach the cherries until white, then dye them”

    Don’t think I’ll buy (or eat) green cherries ever again.

    Your Christmas cake looks and sounds great, Julie! Thanks.

  5. Kathy
    December 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Maybe if I make a caramel or chocolate fondue sauce I can dip my MIL’s dried out (and I mean dried out) fruitcake that she gave us for Christmas this year! Sauce, lots and lots of sauce, that’s the ticket!

    I think canned tuna is bleached too. No wonder it has that gawd-awful taste. Raincoast Trading Tuna doesn’t bleach, which is all I buy now even though it’s pricey [their can said “no bleaching” which made me think, hmm does that mean other companies bleach tuna?]

  6. JulieVR
    December 29, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Seriously, thinly slice and bake the fruitcake into crisps! You’ll have like sweet biscotti-like cookies like Raincoast Crisps. (At least I think you will.. I haven’t tried it yet!)

  7. Dana F
    December 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Hey there – I am SO excited for you to be so close to the magical 366 mark.

    I feel the slow roast beef as a perfect way to begin the new year.

    Been thinking of you lots…

    xo d

  8. Anonymous
    December 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I would love to learn more about fondue, another thing I’d love to try, we recived a fondue set for our wedding over 5 years ago and have never used it because I don’t really know what to do or where to start?
    I’ve truely loved this website and the part of my daily routein it’s become! Thanks for all the time you’ve put in Julie!

  9. Christina
    December 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    That last “Anonymous” post was me … oops! 🙂

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