The holiday season is almost here to embrace me, but I am not a tad bit ready yet. There is just so much to do before I stash away my work laptop and enjoy the much deserved break for the year. And I am so much looking forward to meet family back in India. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t baked yet. 🙂
My house smells of Christmas and ohh!! How awesome it is!! Yes, all those drunken dry fruits have been beautifully baked into a Rich Christmas Cake. This is one post I have been looking forward to write since I started blogging. Conjuring up this rich Christmas cake has become more of a tradition every year off late. And family back home in India eagerly waits for these goodies. I love baking this cake. It brings back so many childhood memories of enjoying this dark and rich cake. As kids we would watch in awe, day after day, as the dry fruits drink up all that goodness and fluff up ready to make a cake batter rich and moist.
The Christmas Fruit Cake is a fairly simple cake to make. The only additional step is to prepare the dry fruits in advance. Some soak these up 3 -4 months in advance. If you are pressed for time, 1 month or even 2 weeks should do the trick. It has worked well for me before. Mine rested for 2 weeks. I made a large batch this time, for giveaways to family. I am so happy with, how this turned out 🙂
Bursting with the flavour, this christmas cake is worth the effort. Every delicious bite makes it worth your while.
The proportions I have stated below will yield you 1, 10 inch cake.
500 g or 4.5cups all purpose flour
500 g or 1 & 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
500 g or 2.5 cups dark muscovado sugar (brown sugar)
500g or 10 large eggs, at room temperature (total eggs should weigh 500 g)
500 g or 3 cups of mixed fruit (I used a mix of raisins, dates, dry figs, dried apricots, walnuts, almonds, and cashews soaked in 300 ml of rum)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp clove powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange
60 g or 1/2 cup all purpose flour for coating the soaked and drained fruit
Soaking the dry fruits: ( Can be done 3-4 months in advance)
- Chop all dry fruits into small pieces.
- Mix all the dry fruits and transfer it to a glass jar or container. Use a large jar here as the dry fruits will increase in size when it is all soaked up.
- Pour rum /brandy over it to soak the dry fruits. Seal well and store at room temperature, in a cool and dry place. Do not store this in the refrigerator.
- Keep checking alternate days and give the jar a shake. You may add more rum if everything has been soaked up.
- If you want to avoid alcohol, you can soak all the dry fruits in orange juice or grape juice overnight.
For the cake:
- Preparing the cake tin is a crucial step that should not be missed. The cake, bakes for a long time in the oven and hence important to grease and line the pan well, with baking or parchment paper.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together except sugar and set aside.
- Strain the soaked dry fruits and save the rum. Now add the remaining flour and add it to the dry fruits. Mix well and set aside. This will help the dry fruits evenly distribute in the cake and not sink while baking.
- Now pre-heat the oven at 150C.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand beater, whisk the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides down of the bowl.
- Add the muscovado sugar and beat until it is creamy. Scrape the sides down again. By using dark brown sugar, I have eliminated the step of making caramel syrup.
- Now add the eggs one at a time. The mixture might look curdled but do not worry. Scrape the sides down again so all is well incorporated.
- Add ¼ cup of the strained rum to this mixture and mix well.
- Add the flour and spice mixture and mix on a low speed. Do not overmix .
- Now fold in the flour-coated fruit and zest of orange, with a spatula until all the fruit is evenly distributed.
- Transfer to the greased pan and fill almost to the top. Flatten the top with the spatula. Bang on the counter top to remove the air bubbles.
- Fold the baking paper in half and wrap the cake tin. The paper should come up twice as higher than the sides of the tin and tie it in place with kitchen twine.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 2 hours at 150C.
- At the end of 1 hour cover the fruit cake with foil to prevent browning.
- The top of the cake should be firm and have a shiny look. A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. A good sign to tell that the cake is ready is when you see the cake release from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.
- Once cooled remove from the pan and brush with little leftover rum.
- You can feed the cake with more alcohol alternate day upto the day of Christmas. Or you can totally skip this step.
To store the cake:
- Once completely cooled, wrap in cling film and then in aluminium foil or brown paper.
- Store it in a dark cool place. The cake has a long shelf life – upto 3 months in refrigerator.
Do give this a try. If you happen to try this, let me know how it turned out for you. 🙂 Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance to all my lovely readers.
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Love & Hugs,