Thursday, 20 December 2018

Recipe 54: Traditional Christmas Cake

Christmas is such a lovely festival.


I especially love the history behind it and the message it spreads for all ages.


Totally apt - Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!


Coming to the food, Christmas brings with it a gamut of baked goodies in the form of cakes, cookies and puddings.


I am not a Christian and yet I celebrate in a small manner each year.


And, a thing I do make it a point to serve is a homemade Christmas Cake the traditional kind with tons of dry fruits, nuts and rum.


I will, however, point out that I do not go all the way traditional and bake months before, keep rum soaking the cake, stick to the ingredient list that is century old and dress the cake with Marzipan and royal icing.


It is precisely because I have felt that a lot of times a recipe is lost or forgotten due to its non adaptability. I mean, non-availability of ingredients and time taken from start to finish makes people choose to not cook that recipe. Marzipan and some variety of dry fruits and alcohol are not commonly available where I live. So, I choose to skip them or replace. And, the months spent in soaking the dry fruits in alcohol is also reduced.


Yet, my recipe is close to being traditional and can easily be made in any household. I cannot tell that it tastes like one baked in a Christian kitchen but mine surely rings the bell and will give you an idea on what goes into baking a Traditional Christmas Cake.
Coming to explaining what to expect from a Traditional Christmas Cake, then I shall warn you that this cake is no where near spongy, light and airy. It will not really dome and double in size.


It is very dense and sometimes fudgy like. All because of the loads of rum marinated sticky dry fruits and nuts that has gone into it.


The taste is boozy and sweet with spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.


The cake is quite crumbly and you cannot yield clean cuts from this cake. All because of the chunky fruits and nuts that inhibit slicing the cake neatly. My advise will be to chill it and then attempt slicing. That way the cake will firm up, the butter will harden and cake will be less crumbly.
If wanting to feed kids, then rum can be replaced with orange or grape juice. But in that case, the taste will definitely vary. And if you want an egg-free version, then replace 3 eggs with 2 tbsp. of Flaxseed Powder mixed with 4 tbsp. of warm water.


The ingredients used are plenty in this recipe. Feel free to skip a few. But I must say that Christmas cake is heavy on its dry fruits and nuts. I once heard that a Christmas Cake is like a bunch of dry fruits held together with some cake batter! So, the proportion of dry fruits to flour is going to be higher.


Now, lets begin with some Christmas baking!

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1.5 cups sugar powder
  3. 1 cup vegetable oil or 1.5 cups of unsalted butter
  4. 3/4 cup brandy or rum + 3 tbsp. extra
  5. 1/4 cup golden raisins
  6. 1/4 cup dried cranberries (click to buy Raw Essentials Whole Cranberries)
  7. 1/4 cup dried blueberries (click to buy Regency Dried Blueberries)
  8. 1/4 cup tutti fruity (click to buy Leeve Tutti Frutti)
  9. 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  10. 2 tbsp. chopped dried apricots (click to buy Berries & Nuts Seedless Apricots)
  11. 2 tbsp. chopped seedless dates (click to buy Rostaa Gourmet Dates)
  12. 2 tbsp. baking powder
  13. 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  14. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Ossoro French Vanilla)
  15. 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  16. 1 tsp. allspice (click to buy Looms & Weaves Allspice Powder)
  17. 1 tsp. nutmeg powder
  18. 1 tsp. fine salt
  19. 3 eggs

Method:

In an air-tight container, soak all the dry fruits and nuts in rum.
Keep it in room temperature overnight.
Sieve flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt together.
Keep aside.
Now in a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla essence till light and frothy.
Add the marinated dry fruits as well as the rum.
Mix well.
Add the dry flour mixture and gently mix till the flour is well combined.
In a greased and floured cake pan, pour in all the cake batter.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45-60 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
After baking let the cake rest in the switched off oven for 5-10 minutes.
Take the cake out and while it is still hot, pour about 2-3 tablespoon of rum and cover the cake immediately with a cling wrap or an aluminum foil.
After 1-2 hours of rest, uncover and cut thick slices.
Serve as it is with a cup of tea or coffee or with Crème Anglaise (thin vanilla custard) and fresh fruits.














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