Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Fruitcake

Fruit and Nut Cake

The best part of Christmas is the wonderful goodies that get baked and cooked in the house filling every corner with their comforting aroma and a feeling of warm joy. Every family has its own tradition when it comes to baking and cooking for the holidays. Some recipes are handed down to the next generation while some new ones get created. One such favorite recipe is the Christmas cake.

Christmas cake is an English tradition and is made in a number of different ways, but mainly it is a variation of fruitcake. It can be light or dark, moist or dry, frosted, glazed or dusted with sugar. I love Christmas fruitcake with loads of fruit and nuts, very crumbly, literally falling apart when cut. I usually make it in advance 2-3 weeks prior to Christmas so that there is enough time to soak it in rum. I place the cake upside down in an airtight container and 'feed' the holes with rum every four days till Christmas.

Ingredients: Makes 14-16 servings
2 Cups flour
4 Eggs
1 Cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp powdered cloves
2 tsp cinnamon powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup sugar for caramel
2 teabags
2 tbsp rum plus more for basting the cake
few drops of pure vanilla essence
2 cups fruit and nuts(raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, candied ginger, orange peel, lemon peel, walnuts, almonds, pecans)
  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Boil 1/2 cup water and put teabags in it to make a bright orange tea concoction.
  3. Caramel 1/2 cup of sugar. When it caramelizes add tea concoction, honey and rum and keep aside to cool.
  4. Take 1/3 cup flour and mix all the fruits and nuts in it. Keep aside.
  5. Sift the rest of the flour and add baking powder, clove powder, cinnamon powder and salt.
  6. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl and keep aside.
  7. Cream butter and sugar together till they are light and fluffy. Alternately add flour mixture, tea mixture and egg to make a smooth batter.
  8. Add vanilla essence and fold in the fruits and nuts.
  9. Pour the batter in a prepared 8 inch pan or cake tin.
  10. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes to an hour till done.Check the center of the cake after 45 minutes with a cake tester. 
  11. Cool completely and place the cake upside down in an air tight container. Pour a tablespoon or two of rum every 4-5 days over the cake to feed it. Enjoy.

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