This post is very proudly written as it has seen months worth of hard work and dedication for this special cake!I would love to say here that this lovely cake holds a special place in my heart as I would remember the teachers and friends from my childhood whose homes I would go on Christmas to have delicious goodies and come back with equally wonderful gifts!At that time I never imagined owning a blog,baking my own cake and presenting it to the world on this beautiful peace loving festival.I definitely have an emotional angle to explore especially when it comes to winters,Christmas and cake and of course cake as in this ethereal traditional fruit cake.I also remember Charles Dickens and his love for Christmas as is expressed in his works namely A Christmas Carol and especially where a small child with special needs called Tiny Tim expresses his wishes thus
“God Bless Us Everyone”!
I apologise to the “no booze only veg” promisers that what they term as “booze” is the only ingredient responsible for the great flavour of this cake.You will never go tipsy,never fall or feel dizzy after having a slice of this heaven!You will revel in the flavours and wonder that leave aside technology and scientific inventions,how far has mankind evolved to bring out treats as delicious as this and how long and painstaking might the inventors have waited to finally write the final and the all accepted recipe of Christmas fruitcake!However there is no compulsion and please leave out the liquor if you want and use anything from sugar syrup to Orange juice to soak the fruits and if you get Rum/Brandy essence where you live,you are more than welcome to include that,however the taste remains unbeatable for the liquor soaked fruit cake!
There are other important things to be noted here:
- The earlier the fruits are soaked the better tasting the cake.Here let me tell you that people soak their fruits in liquor for months and even years.There was a family which I came across who soaked their fruits in various kinds of liquor for approximately 3 years before they went into their fruitcakes and Christmas puddings.Its your wish for this.I soak them 3 months before Christmas which is September.
- It also depends on the type of liquor you use.I soak them in fine Rum(Old Monk is very good) and sometimes a dash of Grand Marnier(an Orange liquor) does wonders for the cake.Other choices can be Pedro Ximenez,Sherry,Brandy or Red Wine.You can use any liquor preferred but Rum gives the best results and gives a lovely “Christmassy” colour to the cake.
My version of liquor – rum
- Non alcoholic versions are always there and you can use Orange juice,Sugar syrup(not too thick) or even Apple Juice.This cake has a shorter shelf life than the “Alcohol cake” which can keep months if stored properly.
- Follow all the instructions properly for a beautifully baked cake which is great tasting and perfect for Christmas!
- Always use a glass casserole/jar or vessel to steep the fruits.Never use metal as the Alcohol will react with it.Wood is fine but Glass is the best!
Glass Casserole I used..
Soaking the fruits to make this size cake:
Mixed peel(Orange,Lemon,Grapefruit,Kinos) – 150 gms
Glace´Cherries – 150 gms(halved)
Raisins – 100 gms
Sultanas – 100 gms
Maraschino Cherries – 100 gms(halved)
Other assorted dried fruits – 100 gms(chopped)
You can use any kind of dried fruits available in plenty these days like Pineapple,Kiwi,Papaya,Strawberry,Cranberry,Cherries,Dates or Apricots!The list is endless and sky is the limit!
So the total weight of fruit – 700 gms
Mix the fruits in the Glass Casserole and pour the liquor/juice over the fruits and mix very well.
Soaking the fruits in a Glass Casserole
If using plain Apple/Orange juice,use a glass container and keep it refrigerated in countries like India where the heat would turn the juice sour and the fruit would start rotting.However its fine with Alcohol as its a natural preservative.
Preparing the pan for baking:
The following are step by step pictures to prepare the cake pan for baking this cake.You will need the following ingredients:
1.A 23 cm round/20 cm square pan
2.Baking spray/Oil/Butter for greasing
3.Parchment/brown paper for lining and covering the pan
4.Silicon brush for easy greasing of the pan.
5.Plastic metal ruler for marking and cutting the paper.
6.Black felt pen for marking the outlines.
7.Scissors for cutting out the sheets
8.Staples or tape to secure the outer level of parchment.
All the paraphernalia…
Remove the base of the springform pan(if you are using one)..
Trace the outline on the parchment paper using the felt pen and cut out 2 identical circles.
Measure the circumference of the pan and measure a little more than that on the paper.With the help of a ruler draw a line marking the length.Cut out 2 sheets of similar length.
And now the paperwork is finished and we assemble the the cake pan!
Reassemble the springform pan and spray over the base of the pan.You can also manually apply soft butter or vegetable oil making sure that the Oil is odourless.
Spread the Oil or butter over the base with a silicon brush.
“Stick” one of the paper circles over the prepared base.
Now with the brush grease over the paper circle to fit the 1st rectangular sheet.
Fit the rectangular sheet into the pan using the snipped side as a “base”.
Then fix the second circle over the “base”.
Enclose the second rectangle on the outside of the pan and either tape it or staple it.I tape it as I do not want any unwanted pins in the cake!
Fold the Base and secure with tape!Check if the height of the paper is ok with the dimensions of the oven else mark it where it meets the oven top and snip away 1 inch below that.There is your pan prepared for baking.
So finally we now see the ingredients and how the cake is made!
Preparation Time : 3 hours
Makes : A 23cm round/20 cm square cake
Total soaked fruit – 700 gms
75 gms Walnuts – chopped
Rum/Brandy/Bourbon/Orange/Apple Juice – – 400 ml(optional)
300 gms butter(unsalted)
200 gms brown sugar – Muscovado/Golden/Raw sugar
4 eggs(preferably large)g well after each addition
2 tbsp Molasses/jaggery syrup(optional)
1 tsp Vanilla essence
300 gms plain flour(maida)
150 gms Almond Powder(optional)
1 tsp Clove Powder
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 cup packed Icing Sugar
Water as required
2 tbsp Rum/Sugar Syrup(optional)
1 tsp Vanilla essence(if using sugar syrup)
Gold pearls to decorate
Preheat oven to 150°C and prepare the cake pan.
Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix 80% of the soaked fruit into them.Keep the rest of the fruit for the top.
Sifting the dry ingredients..
Mixing 80% of the soaked fruit into the dry ingredients..
Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs beating well after each addition then beat in the Molasses(if using) and the Vanilla essence.
Now fold in the prepared dry ingredients 2 tbsp at a time.Add 2 tbsp of the flour mix and fold well(in an up and down motion) and repeat till all the mix has been used up.Add the chopped Walnuts and mix well.
Folding in the dry ingredients into the creamed butter,sugar and condiments..
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 2 1/2 hours till a skewer or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
The cake batter in the pan before baking…
The cake after baking 2 1/2 hours
After the cake is done immediately wrap it in foil with the pan so that the cake stays moist and does not dry.
Wrapping the cake in foil…
The cake after 24 hours ready for storage…
After the cake comes to room temperature store it in a well fitting cake box or glass casserole.Remember to spoon some Rum/Brandy/Bourbon/Sugar Syrup/Orange or Apple Juice to keep the cake moist.
Frosting the cake:
Mix all the ingredients and add water carefully so that the mixture coats the back of a spoon.Pour the frosting on the cake and leave to set.Sprinkle the edible gold pearls on top to decorate.
Preparing the frosting…
Poured on top of the cake and decorated with Golden Pearls!Merry Christmas everyone..:)