Ho Ho Ho! It’s that time of the year again. There is a nip in the air. Festivities have begun and people have started to anticipate what 2017 has in store. But let’s not forget, it’s almost Christmas and no Christmas celebration is complete without a large, yummy rum fruit and nut cake. We have put together a recipe for a traditional Christmas cake.
To soak: Assorted dry fruits: Raisin, cranberry, blueberry, black currants, chopped figs- 10 gm, tutti fruttis (red, green, yellow and orange)- 50 gm.
Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios- 1 cup (100 grams)
Baking powder- 1 teaspoon (4 grams)
The most important and foremost step is to soak the dry fruits in rum for two weeks. If that is too long, try to soak them for at least a week so that you get a cake rich with flavour. If that too is not possible, 24 hours soaking is a must.
The dry fruits should really marinate in the alcohol. The alcohol acts like a preservative. Keep this stored and if it’s hot, then keep this in the refrigerator.
For the cake batter, mix all your wet ingredients. Take butter and sugar in a bowl. Either use a hand mixer or whisk beat them until you get a creamy mixture. Scrape the sides as well.
Now, add the three eggs into the batter, one egg at a time. Beat till everything gets mixed up well.
Next put the soaked dry fruits along with the liquid- just a 3/4 th of the soaked dry fruits. Now, put the orange and lemon juice and the zest and beat all of this.
At this point the batter will curdle because of the citrus juices in it. But it will get better once you add the flour.
Use some of the dry fruits and keep the rest for garnishing the cake.
Next put the dry ingredients straight in the mixing bowl on wet ingredients.
Put refined flour, almond powder, baking powder and nutmeg powder. The combination gives the perfect flavor to the cake. Now sift through the siever. If you get any chunks of the almond, just remove.
Now fold gently. Make sure that you don’t use a blender or an electric beater because if you do, the air bubbles will vanish and your cake will not be fluffy and moist.
Preheat the oven to 160 c.
Now line a baking tin. It is recommended that you use an 8 inch springform baking pan with a removable bottom.
Fold the baking paper in double and keep 1 inch extra towards the top because the cake should be baked slowly in the oven for 70 - 80 minutes. Besides, the cake batter is very dense. So extra baking paper will help the cake to bake evenly from all the sides and center by preventing the burning.
Now put the batter in the prepared cake tin.
Now garnish with cashew nuts, cherries or assorted chopped nuts. As the nuts are mixed with flour, they won't settle at the bottom.
Now, put the tray inside the oven and leave it there for 80-90 minutes.
After done, let it cool down in the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes and take out. Then, let it sit outside till it reaches room temperature.
Check the cake by inserting a fork in the center. It should come out with little moist crumbs. The cake is completely ready.
Traditionally in western countries the cake is served with alcohol. The Westerners also store the cake by wrapping with baking paper and place them in the cake tin or plastic bag and brush the cake periodically with alcohol. This way the cake stays fresh for a longer period of time.