I've been making rum-soaked Fruit cakes since last 4-5 years.Initially I felt it was too much work and didn't want to take the trouble,since good quality,yummy Fruit Cakes were available in bakeries.If not,I'd ask someone to send one for me from Kerala where every bakery stocked the best of Fruit cakes.
Blogging changed that for me I should say.Come December and I'd be hunting for recipes and chopping up fruits and nuts and sending Ajay to the nearby Tasmac shop for Old Monk Rum:).Life of a food blogger,and her husband;)
I have bookmarked two recipes this year and would be trying it and posting on the blog.My recipe since last 2 years has been the same,Christmas Fruit Cake.It comes very close in taste to the fruit cake I've been eating since my childhood days.
First one is from the very reliable baking site - Joy of Baking.It is not a traditional fruit cake per se,but a light fruit cake which can be made in a jiffy and does not require months of soaking.Though it does benefit from a day of soaking and a day of resting,that should not deter you from trying out this super simple recipe.
Light Fruit Cake
Recipe source - Joy of Baking
Raisins/Sultanas/Black Currants - 3/4 cup(120 gms)
Cashew nuts/Walnuts/Almonds - 1/2 cup(100 gms)
Tutti fruity/Mixed candied peel - 1/3 cup(40gms)
Rum/Brandy - 1/4 cup
For the cake
Butter - 1/2 cup/100gms
Light brown sugar - 3/4 cup/150gms
Eggs - 3
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups/195 gms
Almond meal/flour - 1/2 cup/50 gms
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Lemon/Orange zest - 1 tsp
Milk - 1/4 cup/60ml
Soaking the fruits and nuts
In a bowl,combine raisins/sultanas,nuts and tutti fruity along with the rum and mix well using a wooden spoon.Cover with a lid and let it sit at room temperature from anywhere between 24 hours up to 2 days.Stir occasionally.
For the cake
Sift together flour,almond meal,baking powder,salt and cinnamon powder together.Keep aside.
Mix together sugar and lemon/orange zest till the sugar becomes moist and fragrant.
In a mixing bowl,beat together butter and sugar till fluffy.
Add eggs,one at a time beating well after each addition.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the soaked fruits and nuts along with any juices and beat until incorporated.
Beat in half the flour mixture till mixed and then add the milk and then the remaining flour mixture.
Pour into a greased/lined loaf tin and bake at a 180C preheated oven for 60-70 minutes.(It took 60 minutes at 180C and another 15 minutes at 160C in my oven,reduced the temperature so that the top doesn't brown much).
Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes and then remove the cake from the tin and cool on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cover lightly with a foil and let it rest for a day before you slice and serve.
The cake keeps well for a week in room temperature.
- The original recipe calls for candied cherries and peels which I replaced with raisins and tutti fruity.You can use any dry fruits and nuts of your choice.
- Sugar mentioned in the recipe is perfect for a sweet yet balanced taste along with the fruits.If you are using glazed cherries,decrease the sugar content.
- It took a longer time to bake in my oven(mentioned in the recipe),so bake for 60 minutes,check for doneness and then bake further.If you feel the top has browned enough,cover the top with a foil or wax paper and bake.
- If you prefer,as soon as the cake comes out from the oven,pierce the top of the cake with a toothpick and pour 2-3 tbsp of rum over it.Let it rest for a day and then cut the cake for the flavours to mature.
- For making Almond meal/flour,just pulse some almonds(with or without skin)in a mixer/blender till you get a coarse powder.Do not blend for long or else you will end up with pasty almond meal.