Who needs an introduction to the Christmas Fruit Cake? This is one cake which is prepared well in advance and given a chance to mature in it’s flavours before you cut it. The dry fruits are soaked in rum (or another alcohol of choice) for months and sometimes even years before being added to the cake. And the cake itself is “fed” rum and rested. This cake can actually stay without spoiling for months together.
I have some of my fondest memories around Christmas from my childhood. There was so much of baking that used to be done by mom around this season and as kids we all helped in whatever way we could. Once we were a little older, we were also a part of chopping of the dry fruits and mixing the cake batter. So for me, Christmas without a homemade Christmas Fruit Cake just seems incomplete.
This recipe is my mom’s recipe and what I have always loved eating. It is a tradition I follow now every year to bake these cakes and distribute among friends. And my friends too look forward for these home made, rum soaked cakes now!
Few things to keep in mind
- Soaking of dry fruits: The dry fruits for the Christmas Cake should be soaked as early as possible. You can refer to my recipe for the same here. In case you do not have time or prefer a non alcoholic version, then you can soak the dry fruits in orange juice or apple juice and use it for the cake.
- Baking Time: The baking time could vary a little from oven to oven, the size of the pan and thickness of the cake. Avoid opening the oven till you see the top looks done. If you have uneven heating in your oven, you may also want to turn around the cake so that it cooks and browns evenly
- Color of the cake: How dark the cake is will depend on how dark your caramel is. Darker caramel will lend a much deeper flavour as well as that slight bitterness which many people like in their cake.
- Caramelizing of Sugar: While caramelizing sugar, you can a little more hot water to adjust the consistency and to ensure that it doesn’t solidify by the time you add it to the cake batter. Never add hot caramel to the cake batter. It will solidify and form a lump due to the difference in temperature suddenly. If your caramel is not flowing and has almost solidified, you can warm it a little by keeping it in hot water or by microwaving for a couple of seconds and then keep stirring so that the heat reduces before adding to the batter.
- Butter – 100 gms, soft at room temperature
- Powdered Sugar or Castor Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Eggs – 2
- All Purpose Flour – 3/4 cup
- Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cake Spice – ¾ tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
- Castor Sugar (for caramelizing) – 1/2 cup
- Hot Water (for caramelizing) – 2 tbsp
- Soaked Fruits – 200 gms
Step by Step process
- Preheat oven at 170 degree C.
- In a pan, slowly melt the sugar for caramelizing. When completely melted, it will start changing colour into golden brown and start frothing. As it froths, reduce the heat and add the hot water carefully. Take it off heat and keep aside. You can add more hot water to ensure the caramelized sugar doesn’t solidify by the time you are adding it to the batter.
- In a bowl, whip the butter till soft and creamy. Add the sugar to this and continue whipping till pale.
- Next, add the eggs and beat till well incorporated.
- Mix / Sieve together the flour (reserve some flour for dusting the soaked fruits), baking powder, salt and cake spice. Slowly fold in the flour into the egg mixture without deflating the batter much.
- Next, add the prepared caramel to the batter and gently mix it.
- Add the reserved flour to the soaked fruits and mix it well. Add this to the cake batter and mix well.
- Pour the batter into a prepared 7 or 8 inch tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg C till a skewer inserted in the middle comes clean. It takes about 45-50 min. Make sure not to open the oven till you see the top and the edges are a golden brown color. Depending on the oven, you may need a little more baking time too. But make sure you do not open the oven door till the cake top looks done.
- As soon as the cake is taken out of the oven, sprinkle some rum generously on it for it to absorb. Once the cake cools down, wrap the cake well before storing. You can sprinkle rum in between on the cake to keep the cake moist. The flavours in the cake mature as it sits.