It’s that time of the year again, when ovens are out and the aroma of delicious baked goodies is back in the air! Yumm!
I know many moms who bake during Christmas simply because the atmosphere is so festive, one cannot resist baking those festive treats. Most of all though, it’s the kids who are excited about all the baking and the eating of Christmas goodies! Exactly why I do a cookie making session during this period with my son, where his main aim is to roll and cut the cookies followed by decorating them. He loves getting creative with the ginger bread cookies.
As for the adults, it’s always the boozy Christmas cake, rich with spices and fruits that entices. This is a basic butter cake but the addition of alcohol induced fruits and spice powders, makes it exceptional and traditional. Fruits that you add to the cake can be anything you prefer but the most common ones are raisins, currants, candied peels, dried apricots, dates, etc. The “soaking fruits for the cake” tradition begins as early as the day of Christmas for next year and it can be done as late as a day before baking the cake. The sooner you soak, the better the outcome!
To make it boozier, inject more rum in the fresh out of the oven cake and let it cool completely.
P.S: If you wish to make a nonalcoholic version of the cake, then omit soaking the fruits in Rum. Just increase the lemon zest quantity by one lemon to get the tangy flavour. Also for a darker version of the cake add readymade caramel or molasses, if you can find it locally.
Here goes the recipe and I suggest you soak the fruits now and make the cake early morning on Christmas.
Makes 1 400 grams cake
To soak fruits:
For the cake:
Step 1: Soak the fruits for your Christmas cake in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for as many hours, days or months you can. I soaked them for 3 days.
Step 2: On the day you want to bake the cake, put the soaked fruits in a thick bottomed vessel. Mix in brown sugar, rum and lemon zest. Zest is the fragrant outer yellow layer of the lemon, grate the lemon lightly till the white layer appears, to get the zest. Do not add the white lemon pith it will make your cake bitter.
Step 3: Place the vessel on low heat and let the sugar convert to caramel. You can also do this in an oven or a microwave. Once ready, let the mixture cool while you make the cake batter.
Step 4: Set the oven at 180 C and allow it to preheat for 10 minutes or till you are ready with the cake batter.
Step 5: Now, take a dry bowl and add butter, honey and spice powders. Whisk everything well till it is light and fluffy.
Step 6: Break in an egg and whisk lightly. Follow the same for the second egg.
Step 7: Gently fold in the flour and baking powder using a spatula.
Step 8: Mix in the cooled caramel and fruits mixture. If you want a darker cake, add about 2 tablespoons readymade caramel to the mixture now.
Step 9: Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin and place in the hot oven. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Step 10: De-mould the cake, allow it to cool. Dust with icing sugar or decorate with Christmas marzipan figurines.
Merry Christmas & Happy Baking!
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