“This is Christmas Season
So there isn’t any reason, we can’t dance the Christmas Polka”
I haven’t been able to stop humming these lyrics since morning today. Yes, my dear friends I can’t tell you how excited I am, now that we have begun the Christmas season. Somewhere in the last week of November or early December, the Catholic Church begins observing the season of Advent which is a time to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus Christ (on December 25).
There are numerous traditions and customs surrounding Christmas. One of them is making a crib (that is a replication of the birth scene of Jesus), setting up a Christmas tree, and preparing of Kooswar (Home- made Sweets). Each family would have a story, a tradition, and a special sweet that they proudly display during this time and so does my family. In the coming few posts, I will put up posts with recipes of Kooswar made by my mum (and me of course). But all that apart, the message is Christmas is clear for all “Love all unconditionally”.
And so, Christmas is incomplete without that traditional Christmas cake, right? For quite a while now, I have been searching for the right cake recipe with no avail. So after having tried a couple of recipes from across the globe and topping it with a few failed attempts here is my version of the all time favorite Christmas cake.
This is a dark cake where the fruit are soaked in rum almost a month in advance. I avoided both (making a dark cake and soaking it in rum), since I don’t like any food that has a dark colour nor do I like the kick from the rum. As in any baking endeavor it is extremely important to get your measurements spot on. The process is long drawn but believe you me it’s worth it.
- 200 grams mixed fruit peels (I used a mixture of Tutti –fruity, finely chopped glazed cherries, finely chopped dates, raisins)
- 125 grams Maida (All-purpose flour). Keep additional flour aside for dusting the tin and coating the fruits.
- 125 grams Powdered Sugar
- 125 grams Unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1½ table spoon baking powder
- Juice of 1 medium sized orange
- 1 stick cinnamon (finely powdered)
- 5 cloves (finely powdered)
- Icing sugar for decoration
- Pre-heat oven at 150 C for half an hour.
- Prepare an 8 inch baking tin by greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour.
- Coat the mixed fruit with some flour and keep side. This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom during the baking process.
- Mix the baking powder and flour well and keep aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugar well. This should take about 4-5 minutes till the both, the butter, and sugar are integrated well.
- Add 1 egg to the butter and sugar mixture. At this point your mixture might curdle. Don’t panic. Add a tablespoon of flour. Repeat the process with the other egg as well.
- Now add in the orange juice, honey and the mixed spice powder and make sure they are mixed well.
- Add in the remaining flour and fold well. Try dropping the mixture from a height. It needs to be the correct consistency. Incase its watery, add a tablespoon of flour, and if it’s getting dry, add some milk.
- Now fold in the mixed peel. It is better to use your hand to mix at this point since mixing them in a cake mixer might break the fruits.
- Pour this batter in the greased cake tin and spread it evenly on all side and make a slight valley in the center. This will help the cake to rise.
- Bake at 210 C for 45 minutes while checking at regular intervals. Insert a tooth pick or skewer to check if done. It should come out clean.
- Once done, allow the cake to rest for a while before de-mouding.
- Now is the best part. Prick a few holes all over the surface and pour some brandy or rum all over. The cake remains moist for a longer time.
- Dab the upper surface of the cake with icing sugar and decorate with the cherries.
That’s it. Christmas cake is ready… Now is the more difficult part …. Keeping it till Christmas.
- Most recipes will ask you to soak the fruits in either brandy or rum. I have avoided it to suit my taste. Incase you want to use that method; you will need to soak the fruits in 10 tablespoons of brandy or rum for atleast 21 days. Make sure to stir it well atleast once a day.
- We have baked this cake at a high temperature, it is possible that the upper surface may start getting burned, if that happens place a brown paper just enough to cover the tin.
Merry Christmas to you all and stay blessed!!!!!!