COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS BEGINS…
Baking the traditional Christmas Cake using my friend Shilpa’s fabulous tried and tested recipe! Making this cake is a labor of love and involves a three step process of soaking the fruit n nuts in liquor, baking the cake and then maturing the cake! So come join me and watch the process unfold….:-)
Step 1 Soaking the Fruit n Nuts!
I used chopped apricots, almonds, raisins, cranberries, cashew nuts, walnuts, candied ginger, candied orange peel (optional), candied lemon peel (optional)….about 500gms total! Soaked them in a mix of rum & brandy (you can use your own heady mix) and covered them with plastic wrap. Will bake the cake in 2 weeks!
PS: Try soak the fruit n nuts in rum for least 3-4 days, though you can soak up-to a month before the actual baking.
Alternately soak in Orange and Apple juice a day prior to baking.
Step 2: Baking the Cake….
200g butter, softened to room temperature
200g dark brown sugar
200g plain flour
4 eggs, beaten
50g ground almonds
Substitute this with Orange juice for non alcoholic version
Grated ginger 2 tsp
Finely grated zest of Orange
finely grated zest 1 lemon
1½ tsp mixed spice (nutmeg , cloves , cinnamon and very little star anise)
1½ tsp almond extract (optional)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
Few drops angostura bitters (optional)
500 gm mixed soaked nuts and fruits
Orange Marmalade for brushing over the cake
Heat oven to 180 deg C or 350 F. Prep a 20 cm round, 7.5 cm deep cake tin or you can use smaller cake tins of multiple size to make several cakes. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer for 1-2 mins until very creamy and pale in color. Add a spoonful of the flour. Then with the beater running, add the beaten egg and the rest of the flour alternately, a quarter at a time. Finally add in the ground almonds.
Follow with the Rum…the mix might start curdling so add the rum in a slow drizzle with the beater running. Then add the peel, nuts, Lemon and Orange zest, spice, grated ginger, almond extract , angostura bitters and vanilla. Beat together to mix, then stir in the baking powder.
Spoon mixture into the tin and smooth the top, making a slight dip in the centre. Bake for 30 mins, then cover the tin with a foil and bake at a lower temperature of 150 deg C or 300F for a further of 2-2¼ hrs, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take off on wire rack, cool completely.
Step 3: Maturing the cake….
Now make holes with a skewer and pour rum over the top. This will keep the cake moist, wrap well in cling film and foil to store (atleast a week) until ready to eat. The cake will keep for several months.