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2013 and earlier

Pan de Pascua - Chilean Easter Fruit Cake


By Sarah Bradley

A holiday tradition in Chile, the word Pascua refers to both Easter and Christmas in Spanish. The cake is thought to have evolved from two other holiday breads, German stollen and Italian panettone.

  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Recipe serves: 8-10


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup brandy, pisco, or rum
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons anise flavor liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup nuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degress
  2. Cream butter with the sugars until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well blended.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir the fruit zests into the dry ingredients.
  5. Whisk the coffee, brandy or rum, evaporated milk, anise flavoring, vanilla, and vinegar together.
  6. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture, blending well.
  7. Fold in the nuts and the dried fruit.
  8. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a circle of wax paper.
  9. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
  10. Bake cake for an 45 minutes. Without removing the cake from the oven, carefully sprinkle some sifted powdered sugar over the top of the cake, then bake cake for 15 minutes more.
  11. Check cake for doneness: a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. If the cake is not yet done, return it to the oven and check it again every 5 or 10 minutes until done.
  12. Let cake cool 15 minutes in the pan on a rack.
  13. While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Sift 1 cup confectioner's sugar into bowl. Add melted butter, pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 - 2 tablespoons milk, or more to reach desired consistency.
  14. Remove cake from pan, and drizzle top with icing.
  15. Cake keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic.


Variation: Serve pan de pascua with the spiced alcoholic coffee concoction called cola de mono (tail of a monkey), another Chilean holiday tradition.

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