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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake

Kerala Christmas Cake is a very famous cake which has fruits soaked in rum and is flavored with spice.  It has a dark brown colour and is loaded with loads of fruits.  My dad and my son are very big fans of this cake. My dad often buys it from shops. But somehow, I didn't much like the shop brought ones. Used to taste too much of spice and was dry and only had raisins and very few nuts. So I decided to bake the cake at home.  The home made ones are soft, loaded with lots of fruits and nuts and has a balance of the spices.  I make it a point to soak them one month before I bake the cake.  I have been making them since last 3 to 4 years. And they have been always a hit.  When I decided to bake the cake I googled for the recipe. Read many of them, but what clicked me was Mariasmenu Cake. But she is using Rum to soak the fruits and nuts. Since I didn't want to use rum, I have use orange juice for the soaking.







So here comes the recipe for the Kerala Christmas Cake.


Ingredients

For soaking 
Mixed Dry Fruits -  3 cups (Normally I use apricots, dates, raisins, sultanas, cranberries) Mixed Nuts - 1 cup (cashews, almonds)
Orange Juice - 2.5 cups

Soak the dry fruits and nuts in orange juice about a month before you want to bake the cake.  Keep it refrigerated. Give it a stir once in 10 days. Remove it out just on the day of baking and bring it to room temperature before baking.  





For Caramel
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 tb.sp
Warm Water - 1/4 cup 

Combine the sugar and water in a nonstick pan and heat it.  Let the sugar melt.  It will slowly start turning brown in colour.  When it is reached a caramel colour remove the pan from heat and pour warm water in it. Becareful since the pan and caramel both are very hot, it may splash as soon as you add water.  Put it back on stove and boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove and cool.  After it cools down, transfer it to a bottle and refrigerate.  This step can be done in advance itself.  




For Spice Mix
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - a small piece
Nutmeg - little

Grind it all together in a mixer to form a very fine powder. You can use a little of sugar if it is not grinding to a very fine powder.







For Cake :
All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1 1/4 t.sp
Baking Soda - 1/2 t.sp
Castor Sugar - 1 cup
Unsalted Butter - 250 gms
Eggs - 4
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp
Jam - 1 tb.sp



Method


1)  All the ingredients used should be at room temperature.  Eggs, Butter, Caramel, Soaked Fruits all should be at room temperature. Pre heat the oven about 30 minutes before u want to bake the cake.

2) Drain the soaked fruits and retain the drained juice.  

3) Sift the flour with Baking powder and Baking Soda. 

4) Seperate the yolks and white of the eggs.

5) Beat egg whites till soft peaks form.  Keep aside.  For beating egg whites make sure the bowl is clean, free from oil and is dry.  Otherwise the eggs won't beat.

6) Nowbeat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks and beat.  After it gets fully incorporated add the vanilla essence, cooled caramel and spice powder and beat again.  

7) Now add the sifted flour in batches and mix it using the cut and fold style. Add the jam and mix again.

8) Fold in the beaten egg white in two batches till all the white has mixed up well.

9) Rub the soaked fruits in about 2 tb.sp all purpose flour. This will keep the fruits from soaking down while baking.

10) Fold in the soaked fruits and 4 tb.sp of the retained juice.

11) Pour the batter in a greased baking dish,lined with a parchment paper.

12) Bake it at 180°C for about 20 to 25 min and then bring down the temperature of the oven to 150°C and bake for another 25 to 30 mins or until the skewer comes out clean. 

13) Make a light sugar syrup and mix with the remaining juice.

14) Transfer and the cake to a cooling rack. Make some holes with the skewers here and there and pour little of the sugar syrup. This is to keep the cake moist.

15) You can store the cake in a box and leave it outside.  It tastes great 1 or 2 days after the cake is baked.  Pour the sugar syrup once or twice inbetween to avoid it from getting dried.






Try it out in your kitchen and let me know how it turned out in your kitchen. 


Lakshmi Venkatesh