This winter, we will be publishing a collection of recipes for holiday desserts. These recipes are all homemade and shared with us by members of the CRP community. Each week we will be posting a recipe from a different country, so by the end, you will have a selection of delicious multinational sweet treats, perfect for the holidays!

This delicious occasion cake from Iraq is bursting with flavor and rich ingredients. Although not limited to Christmas, it is full of warming spices and fruits that make it perfect for baking during the holidays! This recipe was shared with us by an Iraqi member of our community.

Photo credit: Iraqi Om Laith’s Kitchen YouTube Channel



3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. vanilla powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cardamom powder
½ tsp. cinnamon powder
1 cup oil
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup orange juice
Orange peel
1 cup milk
½ cup date syrup
15oz canned dark sweet red cherry
¾ cup walnuts

Remaining (¼) cherry juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tbsp. date syrup
Orange peel

To make the sauce:
– Add ¼ cup cherry juice to a pan on a low heat
– Add 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. cardamom powder, 1 tbsp. date syrup and some shredded orange peel, and mix together (TIP: if you prefer the sauce to be stronger, you can add wine at this stage)
– Allow sauce to boil


1. Sift the flour, cornstarch, cardamom, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla powder, and chocolate powder through a sieve into a large bowl, and mix together
2. In a separate bowl, use a blender to blend together 4 eggs and ¾ cup sugar
3. After well-mixed, add some shredded orange peel and 1 cup cooking oil, and blend again
4. After well-blended, slowly add ⅓ cup orange juice and ¼ cup milk still blending, and then add ½ cup of date syrup and continue to mix until bubbles start to form
5. Add the juice from canned cherries to fill ¼ cup and the rest to the remaining (¾) milk
6. Put blender on slow-blending mode and slowly add the sieved mix and the rest of the milk until well-mixed (TIP: do not mix for too long as you do not want the air to escape from the mixture)
7. Add all the canned cherries and manually mix them in
8. Slowly pour the mixture halfway in to a baking tray that has been oiled and sprinkled with a light layer of flour (TIP: this recipe traditionally uses a Bundt pan to give it the distinctive shape)
9. At halfway, add the walnuts to cover the face of the mixture and then continue to add the rest of the mixture (TIP: to ensure there are no air bubbles, lightly drop the baking tray from a 1-inch height)
10. Cook in a 180OC oven for 50 minutes
11. When finished baking, poke holes in the top with a toothpick for adding the sauce
12. Pour the sauce over the cake and allow to cool for 30 minutes, then flip cake over and allow to fully cool
13. Enjoy and sahtein!

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