Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Oh! what fun it is to ride In a one-horse open sleigh.
But if you ask me, why am i talking about baking the cake so soon.Its best to make Christmas cake a few months before the big day, two months is good. The reason for making it so early is that the flavors of all the dried fruits baked together with the spices, eggs, flour butter etc has time to mature. Then we ware going to fed our Christmas cake at regular intervals with a little brandy or rum. This boozy feeding of the cake is what is going to give us a deep, moist, rich-flavored cake. So,lets get going. However, even if you are late and make your cake last minute it will still taste good.
A) For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour/maida
- 1 tsp baking pwd
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon pwd
- 1/4 tsp clove pwd
- 1/4 tsp cardamom pwd
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg pwd
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup chopped prunes
- 200 ml orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 1 tsp orange rind
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup cherries
- 1/4 cup tutti frutties
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg pwd
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon pwd
- 1/4 tsp clove pwd
- 3/4 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup red wine
I prepared dried fruits two weeks ahead before baking. Finally chop all the dried fruits and nuts and soak in enough dark rum and red wine in a large jar such that half of the jar is filled. There should be enough room in the jar once the fruits and rum are added, as they will almost double in size. Secure cap tight and keep away for at least a minimum of 24 hours. You can make this a year ahead, 2-3 months ahead or even a week before baking the cake. Do shake the jar once in a while. Longer the fruits steep, better the flavor.
- Grease the 8 inches cake tin and line with parchment paper. Tie a double band of brown or newspaper paper around the outside and Stand the tin on a double layer of newspaper on the middle rack. Why??? Because the Christmas cake contains a lot of sweet, dried fruits and sugar and cooking of the cake takes over 1- 1 1/2 hours. Wrapping the cake tin, as standing the cake tin on a double layer of newspaper protects the bottom and sides of the cake and prevents it cooking too quickly and more importantly, burning during the long slow cooking.
- Chop the dates and prunes and place in a pan. pour over orange juice, butter, brown sugar, spices,honey, lemon rind, orange rind and presoaked fruits and let it simmer for 10 mins. Remove from pan and let it cool to room temperature.
- Grate the yellow lemon rind on grater and just the orange rind of orange. Do not grate white pith underneath as it will impart bitterness.
- Sift the all purpose flour, spices and baking powder in a large bowl .Add the presoaked dried fruits and toss in flour mix so that flour coats all the dry fruits. This ensures that the fruits are well distributed in the cake. If you skip this step, the fruits will settle down at the bottom of cake.
- Separate egg yolks from the whites. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with dates and prunes mixture.
- Fold the flour, dry fruit mix to egg yolk date prune mix.
- Whisk egg whites till it forms peaks and gently fold into the cake batter till well combined
- Pour batter up to half of the prepared cake tins and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 1 hour. Keep watch after 50 minutes.You will need to bake the cake somewhere between 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour till the cake is brown and when you insert a knife in the center of cake, it should come through clean
- Once done, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of brandy/ rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack for 15 min before removing the cake from the tin and carefully peel the paper.
- When completely cold, wrap well in cling film and foil to store until ready to decorate. The cake will keep for several months.
Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every 3 days, until a few days before x-mas. This will give your cake a full festive flavor and also avoid the cake drying out. It’s also worthwhile to turn your cake over periodically to prevent the liquids gathering at the bottom of the cake, do this maybe once every few weeks if the base is becoming saturated. You want the cake moist but not dripping.
For Non Alcoholic version: Use orange juice and rum essence to get the right flavor. .
- You can simply dust the cake with icing sugar/ cocoa powder.Place some candied cherries. Sprinkle some golden dust and silver balls on them.
- Cover the cake with marzipan and decorate.
- Coat the cake with fondant and make fondant decorations. I have made fondant snowman, Santa Claus. I also placed some mini marshmallows to resemble snow heaps.
- Icing the cake with royal icing: In a bowl, mix generous 1 cup icing sugar with 1-2 tsp water and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour over the top of cooled cake and sprinkle fresh lemon and orange zest.
Follow the instructions and mix presoaked dry fruits with dates and prune mixture. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Then add 2 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup milk. milk will start to curdle. No issues. Add 1 tsp baking soda. stir gently. And Phoosh,,, You will see the mixture starting to raise. Mix it immediately with the cake mix and place in preheated oven to bake. Do not waste anytime between placing teh cake min after your pour the baking soda on milk.