This was going to be my first year baking Christmas cake. I was super-excited! Really! I prepared the fruit-soak almost 3 weeks in advance which is major for me as I have never been much of a planner! And of course for the recipe as the liqueur gets a chance to marry the fruit 😉
I started hunting for recipes months ago. And I got to know that Christmas cakes have got such bad reputation! They are quite infamous for being boring, dry, overly sweet and like a hard brick that I was fairly skeptical at even attempting to make it at home. It deterred my enthusiasm quite a bit. Hence it was a pretty daunting task zeroing on THE recipe. But finally chanced upon the one which spoke to me and boy, hold your breath people, I have found THE recipe for your Christmas cake this year!
The recipe is fairly simple. As I told you before, the fruit-mix needs to be soaked in advance. Then a night before making the cake, just simmer few ingredients. This step guarantees moister and softer cake as the fruit-mix get a chance to soften up a bit. Dump all the other ingredients into this mixture. And that’s it! You know I have a thing for simple and quick recipes and this was just that! Pop the cakes to be baked in the oven and forget about them for an hour. Do whatever you do in the meanwhile like get lost on Pinterest (so addicting!) or doing your nails (perfect utilization of time!) and they’ll be ready! I did a taste from my mini loaf and the cake was supremely moist! Success!!
Be sure to wrap the cakes (tightly) soon (when they are still quite warm.. almost hot) after removing from moulds and showering them with liqueur, to avoid anymore direct contact with the atmosphere. This will ensure that the moisture gets locked. If you want more liqueur then feed the cakes every 6-7 days with more liqueur (till ready to eat) and wrap them back. They taste best after several days/weeks of aging so be patient! 🙂
Christmas Fruit Cake
Recipe barely adapted from Rasa Malaysia
Fruit-Mix: To be prepared 2-3 weeks in advance or at least 48 hrs before
- 7 cups chopped mixed fruits (I used assortment of raisins, sultanas, black currents, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried figs, glaced cherries, tutti frutti, orange and lemon peel)
- 1 cup of roasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans or pistachio – I used walnuts and almonds)
- 1-1.5 cups of brandy or rum
Pour the chosen liqueur over dried fruits and roasted nuts and store this mix in a glass airtight container in a cool,dry place.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp milk powder (I skipped it & I don’t think it made a difference)
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
- Combine prepared fruit-mix (fruits+nuts+liqueur), butter, sugar, honey, orange juice and baking soda in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat. Stir consistently. Remove the saucepan and leave to cool. Do this step a night before or few hours before making the the cake as it takes sometime for the mixture to completely cool.
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF. Grease 8×4 inch loaf pan and 6-count (3×2 inch) brownie pan with butter. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, milk powder, zests and ground spices.
- Gently stir in eggs to the cooled fruit mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients. Divide the mixture in to 2 parts and pour one half in loaf pan and the other half in brownie pan. Bake for about 60 minutes or until top slight cracks and is cooked.
- Remove the cake from the mould after letting cool for 5-10 minutes and generously brush the tops with brandy/rum. If you’re bold enough, make several holes in the cake by inserting skewer through n through at several places and pour the liqueur generously. Tightly cover with multiple layers of aluminium foil and finally with plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container. The cake tastes best eaten after a few days of aging. If you’re making weeks ahead like I did, brush the cake with brandy/rum every 6-7 days.
*Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and decorated with glaced cherries and slivered almonds.
♥ Another great recipe I chanced upon is here. Do check it out!