Christmas Miracle? Isn’t it a few hours late for that? You might wonder. And you are right! This Christmas fruit cake recipe was supposed to have been shared with you a week ago. But work intervened and Christmas day dawned. And then there were a few mishaps that deep sixed this cake. Or tried to! And that is why this cake, such as it turned out, soft and crumbly and loaded with fruit is a Christmas miracle!
I am not really a baker, or can’t be. It is because I belong to the ‘a pinch of this and dash of that’ school of cooking. Precise measurements, exact techniques etc. are lost on me. And that is why I have hardly ever posted any baking recipe. But this year, I was totally determined to make this fruit cake!
I am sure you must have heard of the fruit cake traditions. In days bygone, the Christmas pudding was made a month or so ago with suet, hung to dry and then steamed again on the day, to be presented at Christmas dinner. There is a steamed version called the pudding, and the baked version is of course the cake. I decided up front that I would go for the cake.
The fruit for a cake is soaked months in advance. In my case, it was done just a week or so ago. I just used a mixture of whatever fruit I had, rather than measuring it out. Dates were supposed to be added at the last minute, and I missed out on doing that, in spite of getting a big packet of dates for the cake.
The recipe – there are tons of recipes on the web. And they can get really confusing. One of the most common recipes for the fruit cake call for 5 eggs. There was no way I was using that! Some used just enough flour to hold the fruit together. I decided to go the conventional route and use the most basic cake recipe. I guess you could call it a pared down pound cake recipe.
My granny made cake with this recipe for 50 odd years. This was the cake that was baked on our birthdays in our childhood. There were no ovens, of course. My gran used a contraption of hot skillet and hot sand, yes, sand, and this was made on the stove, often on a kerosene stove. But it turned out excellent. Then it was iced with butter and sugar and then my name was written on it using a matchstick. It was decorated with Gems and silver balls. Hmm!
So back to the future, I used this basic recipe. But half way through I decided to make 1.5 times of the recipe. Then I sieved sugar along with the floor. Duh! This disturbed me so much that I broke cold eggs into the butter making it solidify. My hand mixer saved the day!
Then I increased the flour but forgot the extra butter. Half way through, I realized it, and added a few splashes of oil and milk to compensate. Since the dough still seemed too tight, I just used some of it!
Now the fruit – the fruit had plumped up nicely in a rum bath. Some people said the alcohol should be cooked out. But no one was clear on it. So I just strained the fruit and added it. Finally the pan went into the oven at 170 C. Barely 15 minutes in, the power went off. Then it came on with a low voltage for an hour. Then it went off completely again. Three hours later, with the power restored, the half baked cake was set to finish off baking. By this time, I had absolutely no hopes. But surprise, it actually cooked through evenly and was soft and crumbly.
So I finally have my Christmas fruit cake. And I wonder why we have to wait till Christmas to make it?
Try this recipe – it’s a must – and enjoy!
Christmas Fruit and Rum Cake
Christmas Fruit Cake - A quick and easy recipe - loaded with fruit and rum.
- ½ cup chopped prunes
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup black raisins
- ¼ cup tutti frutti
- ¼ cup chopped apricots
- ¼ cup chopped figs
- ½ cup chopped dates
- 1/4 cup candied orange and lemon peel
- 1 cup dark rum or brandy
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- Soak the fruit in the rum and store in an air tight jar for at least a week. Stir occasionally.
- Bring butter to room temperature.
- Cream the butter and add sugar.
- Add 3 beaten eggs and mix well until light and frothy.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
- Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture gradually and fold in lightly.
- Now add the drained and soaked fruit and the ground spices and fold in lightly.
- Grease a 9x9 Pyrex pan or any baking mould of choice.
- Add the batter and bake at 350F or 180C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Optional – make slits in the cake with a fork or knife and slosh more rum into it.
So try this Christmas Fruit Cake recipe, leave a comment, and let me know what you think of my escapade! 🙂