Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas Cake

"Jingle all the way" : Its the month of Santa, Christmas tree, candles, decorations with stars and lights and lots of ornaments. People even decorate the outside of their homes with snowmen, sleighs and other Christmas figures. And the age old tradition of hanging a stocking and waiting for Santa ( Saint Nicolas ) to get us the wanted gifts...

My brother who stays in US, always decorates his home with Christmas tree and lighting his backyard and home with candles and lights..Here is how he welcomed Christmas this year... It looks terrific, doesn't it?

Christmas celebrations are in full swing in India just as abroad. We see a lot of people hosting Christmas parties, markets selling Santa's red and white caps and even Christmas trees. This year, we got the tiny Santas and candy cane and some ornaments ( just to decorate my cake :))

And so not to forget, It is also the month to bake cakes, cookies and biscottis :)
Its such a pleasant feeling when your kitchen has aroma of the freshly baked super spongy cake...This year i wanted to try my hand at baking the Christmas plum cake, and hence i soaked in the dry fruits almost 15 days before in rum. I have added Cherries, different coloured tutty-fruity, cashews, raisins and black raisins. You can add any dry fruits of your choice like walnuts, almonds, prunes, dates, orange zest etc. but raisins are a must!!! After all it's rum and raisin cake :) For people, who like it without alcohol, you can just boil the dry fruits with water and little sugar for 5 minutes at the time of baking the cake. If you don't like rum, you can even soak the fruits in beer or red wine or a mixture of wine, rum and beer. Anything tastes just great.
Here is how my soaked fruits looked like :

Every day is an occasion : The cake turned out so yummy that it was finished by hubby and his friends ( who had come over for Christmas) within hours! I feel i shouldn't wait for Christmas to bake and eat this one...Any day is a celebration and i am surely going to bake this one again :)

Recipe adapted from : Swapna Mickey

Ingredients :

Mixed dry fruits : 350 gms ( i used cherries, different coloured tutty-fruity, cashews, raisins, and black raisins )
Rum - 1/2 cup ( Can also add brandy, wine or beer )
Butter - 3 tbsp ( heaped )
Ghee - 3 tbsp ( heaped )
Powdered sugar - 150 gms
Eggs - 2
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp ( to caramelize )
All purpose flour/ Maida - 120 gms
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Spice powder - 1/2 tsp ( i used my chai masala powder - Recipe uploaded earlier - You can also use mix of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg powder )
Milk - 1/8 cup
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp

Recipe :

Soak the chopped dry fruits in Rum as early as you can/want. I did it for 15 days, but some even do it for months or a year in advance.( the more u soak, the tastier it is). Soak it in a clean , dry glass bottle or air tight container. Make sure you stir the fruits once a day. Soak them for minimum 1 week in advance.

On the day of baking the cake, transfer these dry fruits into a steamer and steam them for 5 minutes. I did it in idli maker in microwave for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the fruits to cool.

The most important thing to make a plum cake is to caramelize the sugar. It is not that tough at all ! Just take 2 tbsp sugar in a pan and heat it stirring continuously till it becomes dark brown. Meanwhile, boil 1/2 cup of water and keep. Now add this hot water to the sugar. Keep stirring till it becomes thick. Keep it aside.

Add 2 tbsp sugar to 1 tbsp lemon juice and keep aside.

Sieve together ( preferably twice ) maida, baking soda, baking powder and spice powder. Toss in the steamed and cooled dry fruits into this flour, so that the dry fruits are coated properly. This is just to avoid the dry fruits from falling to the bottom of the cake when baking.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for minimum 15 minutes.

Beat Butter, Ghee and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one and keep beating. Now add the vanilla essence and caramel syrup and mix well. Now add the flour-dry fruit mixture and milk alternatively, finishing with the flour mixture. Mix it all well with a spatula. Lastly, add the lemon juice mixture.

Grease and Dust the cake tin with butter and flour respectively. Add in the cake mixture and bake the cake at 180 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Check after an hour if it's done and add more time if required.

Let it cool for 10 minutes in the tin after removing from the oven on a wire rack. Now remove from the cake tin and let it cool completely.

Store in an air tight container. You can also pour in rum on top while serving or inject rum inside the cake with a syringe :) Tastes yummm....

Happy Baking :)))

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