Friday, March 12, 2010

Old-Fashioned Christmas Cake Recipe

The dry fruits have to be chopped fine to make the cake-cutting easier. i know that's time-consuming. i soaked the dry fruits in the reqd quantity of rum and sherry and kept it refrigerated for close to a month. Indian climate doesn't allow it to be kept outside. in cold climates, however, you can keep it out soaked for a week to save space in your refrigerator. this makes two 8-inch cakes weighing around three kilos and yielding approx seventy medium slices (after discarding the raped ones that lose their shape while cutting).

15 oz (a little less than two cups) raisins
1 cup pitted prunes
1 cup soft dates
11/4 cups currants
8 oz candied cherries
4 oz mixed candied citrus (orange) peel
4 oz cashewnuts, almonds, figs (OPTIONAL)
2 cups dry sherry
2 cups dark rum
33/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar or white sugar (powdered)
3/4 cup water
31/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ghee (if you don't use ghee then 11/2 cups softened butter)
2 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 tsp almond essence
7 large eggs, at room temperature

Stir 13/4 cups brown sugar (or white sugar; brown sugar is mainly used for the colour it gives) and water in a skillet over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup boils. reduce the heat and gently boil the syrup until reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 mins. set aside to cool. sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, , nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a large bowl. beat the butter (and ghee if you're using it), remaining 2 cups of brown sugar and vanilla and almond essence in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. add the eggs one at a time, until just blended after each addition. with mixer at lower speed, gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the syrup. stir in the fruit mixture. butter your cake dishes and bake till done (the crust has to brown nicely).

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