It’s December!! Yay! I love Decembers. It’s the best month of the year for me. The weather in UAE is amazing, the children , by mid Dec. are off from school for winter break (don’t know if that’s always a good thing…but yes it’s a blessing too), the tree is out waiting to be dressed up like a bride on her wedding day, and everyone is so happy. Don’t you think? I am. I am always happy in December….more happy rather. it’s like it’s the month where nothing can go wrong, and all the worries of the world and mine will be just lifted up and surely the world and my life will be a better place to be in or live . Makes sense?? No? well then just understand December is a good month. Period.
But honestly speaking, how did the entire year go by so soon? Wasn’t it just a couple of months back that we welcomed 2013?? So now that it’s already Christmas season, I’m sure most of you wld have got your trees up and decorated. And how’s the cake preparations coming along? Have you soaked your fruits?? I have. I did it last year itself for this year. Need help with soaking fruits….its not too late. Click here and soak it immediately. You still get a good 10 days of soaking in all the goodness :-).
Enough of yakkity yak…let me get straight to the Christmas recipe which I promised to blog about last year…but didn’t happen. Believe you me when I tell you that this cake is just heaven. Amazing. You won’t believe, I had soaked only about 1 kg of fruits for this year. That’s because we’d just moved last year to this new apartment, 3-4 months before Christmas, and had only made so many friends for whom this quantity was sufficient to bake cakes for and distribute. But in one year’s time, not only the number of friends increased, but the word spread that the X’mas cake I baked last year was so good, that this year all these new friends also want their share. So last week, I went and got another kilo of fruits and soaked them. Now, I just pray that I’m able to do justice to this recipe, just like I did last year. Thinking about how many cakes I need to bake this time, is already giving me nervous breakdowns… plus I even need to do one eggless fruit cake and one plain cake…maybe chocolate flavor,…I dunno. it’s for this boy who doesn’t like fruits or nuts in his cake.
Anyway, spoke too much. Below is the recipe which I’ve very mildly adapted from Maria’s menu here.
KERALA CHRISTMAS/FRUIT/PLUM CAKE
- Mixed fruits – 3 cups – 1/2 kg
- Rum/Brandy – 1.5 cups (I used brandy)
- Sugar – ½ cup
- Water – 1 tablespoon
- Warm water – ¼ cup
- All purpose flour (maida) – 2 cups
- Baking powder – 1¼ teaspoon
- Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
- Sugar – 1 cup+ 2 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter – 250 grams (1 cup + 2 tbsp, approx) @ room temp
- Eggs – 4 @ room temp
- Vanilla essence – 2 teaspoon
- Jam – 1 tablespoon (I used mixed fruit)
For Spice Powder:
- Cloves – 2
- Cardamom – 2
- Cinnamon – a small piece
- Nutmeg – a small piece
- Soak the Fruits – I used a combination of black raisins (sultanas), cashew nuts, currants, orange and lemon candied peel, watermelon and orange fruit cubes, and dried plums. For a better idea on what brand I used, please check my post on soak your dried fruits. The amount I’ve soaked or mentioned in that post is double than what’s needed for this recipe. That’s because I had made 2 cakes from that. Please soak the fruits for a minimum of 2 weeks for best taste.
- Caramel Preparation – Combine ½ cup sugar & 1 tbsp water in a sauce pan. Heat it & let the sugar melt. When the color of the melted sugar becomes dark brown, remove the pan from fire & add ¼ cup warm water to this. You need to be very very careful at this stage since the water tends to splash & can cause burns (not can in my case, I got badly burnt, so be careful). Bring it back to the heat & boil for a few more mins, 3-4 mins. Remove from fire & let it cool completely. You can prepare the caramel in advance & refrigerate it.
- Spice Powder Preparation – Grind all the spices with a pinch of sugar, to a fine powder & keep aside.
- Cake Preparation –
- Preheat the oven @ 180 C for 10-15 mins, before baking.
- Drain the soaked fruits & keep aside. Retain 4 tablespoon from the drained liquor. Toss the drained fruits in 1-2 tablespoon of flour. (This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake).
- Sift the plain flour with baking powder & baking soda.
- Powder the sugar & keep aside.
- Separate the yolks & white of the eggs. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Keep aside.
- Beat the egg yolks & add the softened butter to it. Beat it till it forms a smooth paste.
- Add powdered sugar to this, gradually. Beat after each addition.
- When it becomes smooth add vanilla essence & cooled caramel & spice powder & beat again.
- Add the sifted flour in 2 batches. Beat after each addition.
- Add jam & combine.
- Fold in the beaten egg whites in 2 parts & combine till no white streaks are visible.
- Fold in the soaked fruits & 4 tablespoon of retained liquor.
- Grease the baking dish (refer notes) & line with baking paper. Pour the batter into the prepared tins.
- Bake in the pre heated oven for 40-45 mins or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. The baking time can vary depending on the oven & also the size of the tin used.
- For alcohol free version – Soak 3 cups of fruits in 1.5 cups of fresh orange juice or grape juice overnight @ room temp. The rest of the recipe is same.
- The quantity mentioned in this recipe is enough to bake a 9 inch round cake.
- It’s best to bake the cake atleast a day in advance, so as to give it enough time to rest and for the flavors of the spices and alcohol to be absorbed by the entire cake.
- If you’re making it way ahead, say more than a week before then once a day just brush it with little alcohol – use the same drained one. But remember your cake will now have a strong alcohol flavor and taste because of the soaked fruits plus the 4 tablespoon that you added while baking and then from the brushing of alcohol too. In such a case, where you don’t want it to be so strong, add only 1 tbsp. of alcohol to the batter and then brush a little daily for it to stay fresh. As for me n my friends, we love the extra kick…we say bring it on!
Do try this cake and I’m sure you’ll not be disappointed.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!!!