Celebrating Christmas with this rich fruit cake. We wishes everyone who stops by “Merry Christmas”, with loads of happiness and prosperity.
Fruit cakes are some century old traditions that are being made specially during Christmas and there are many variations to it, some are soaked in spirits, some are in fruit liqueur, whatever their flavours are, they are bound to be present during this season and without them the celebration seems to be incomplete.
Late September is usually a good time to start with fruit cake, but for the people like me who got inspired only at the last minute, soaking the fruit mix in spirits for just one week or even three days in advance will give you some good results.
For rich fruit cake, first collect all the dry fruits that you wanted to use for the recipe, its more the merrier kind of, and zeroed down upon the kind of spirit, you wan to use in the cake. Dark rum, Brandy and Sherry are some of the popular choices but you can use the fruit liqueurs too. Fruit liqueurs do contain some alcohol percentage but they are on the lower side when compared to Brandy and Rum which may contain up to 40% alcohol. It all depends upon your choice of flavours.
If you are in mood to replace the alcohol with some fruit juices like sour cherry or some other flavour, you can absolutely use it but it may not last for weeks or months like alcohol soaked fruit cake.
Instead of alcohol, many fruit cakes are made with dark molasses or treacle, which gives a nice color to the fruit cake. Check the note section in recipe for how to make homemade treacle or dark molasses.
In this recipe of rich and moist fruit cake, I have used Sherry cream which is golden on color and it goes so well with the cake, its natural sweetness adds to the extra rich taste of the fruit cake. For fruit mix, I have collected handful of Raisins, Sultanas, pitted dried Prunes and Dates, dried cranberries, apricot, some fig and the nut mix includes some pine nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts and slivers of almonds to decor the cake.
- Raisins : 1 cup
- Sultanas : 1 cup
- Dried Cranberries : 1 cup
- Dried Prunes (pitted): 1 cup
- Dates (pitted) : ½ cup
- Dried Apricots : ½ cup
- Dried Figs or candied peels : ½ cup
- Nut mix : ½ cup that may consist of walnuts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds
- Sherry cream (Brandy or dark Rum) : 250 ml
- All purpose flour : 1 cup
- Self rising flour : ½ cup
- Light Brown sugar : ½ cup
- Large eggs (at room temperature) : 3
- Butter (unsalted and softened) : 1½ sticks or 6oz or around 200 gm
- Baking powder : 1½ tsp
- Chopped the fruits and place it in a bowl along with the nut mix.
- Pour around 1 cup of Rum or Sherry and mix them well. Place it in a airtight container and keep in a cool and dark place for a week or so. Every alternate day, check the fruit mix and if requieres feed them more rum or sherry.
- Grease a 8″ springform pan, you can use other types of pan too and lined it with parchment paper. Cover the base of the tin as well as the walls or sides of the tin.
- Cream the butter and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs into the mixture one by one, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in half of the fruit mix along with half of the sifted all-purpose flour alternate with self-rising flour.
- Mix them well with a spatula until just combined and add the remaing half of the fruit mix and flour.
- Mix them well until just combined, pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and with the help of your wet finger level and smoothe the top surface of the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 325 F for one hour.
- Test it with the skewer, if it comes clean with some moist crumbs clinging to it, lower the temperature to 300 F and keep it in the oven for another 45 minute to one hour as requires.
- Take out the fruit cake form the oven and cool it in the pan for 15-20 minutes.
- If requires you can brush it more alcohol, wrap it with plastic or cling film which will prevent the cake to come in contact with air, wrap around with a kitchen towel and leave it for overnight to cool.
Do not open the oven before 1 hour.
Bake the cake in the center of the oven and on a middle rack.
If the cake browns faster, tent it with a foil cover or lower the temperature further by another 25 degree and keep it in the oven for longer time.
How to make treacle / molasses
Heat 1 cup sugar with ¼ cup water in a heavy bottom pan. Burn the sugar on low heat carefully ( do not stir the sugar) till it reaches the desired color, light brown to dark brown to almost black.
Once the sugar is caramelized nicely, switch off the heat and add 1 cup boiling water very carefully to it. Sugar will sizzle, so do it very carefully. Now switch on the heat and simmer the sugar till it become sticky or the desired consistency.
Wishing you all once again a “Merry Christmas” and Happy Holidays