What is Christmas without a fruit cake..?. Though we do now celebrate Christmas, i enjoy the fervour and spirit it spreads in this time of the year. I enjoy all the goodies that my friends pass on during Christmas, and as a return gift, i pack them a slice of this cake.
This is, again, a few of my original recipes that i have developed myself with some innovations each year. The first time i made this was with plain sugar and treacle. Next year it was demerera sugar with home made caramel. The fruits of course, we are spoilt with choice, but, i stay to almonds,walnuts, dates, dried black raisins and dried cranberries. Once you get to taste home made fruit cake, you would never go for a store bought one. I do not restrict this bake to Christmas alone. This family favourite will find a place in the table during any special occasion that needs a cake.
One could play with this recipe (as i did); say you could change the proportion of fruits added or the flavourings or the soaking syrup. We are strict non alcoholics, thus a mix of apple and orange juice. The traditional rum soaking method is always there. Another thing that is amiss in this recipe will be candied peel. That does not work for me. If you want a very strong flavoured cake you can add a dash of it too.
An important tip in this cake is, use the soaking syrup according to the days you will make the cake in advance. I make this cake two weeks in advance , so 200ml. By the time it is 4 days before Christmas(that is when i start distributing), the cake would be packed in flavour and Punch.
Now for the recipe
Demerera Sugar 200gms
Salt 1/4 tsp
Caramel 4 Tbsp
Cinnamon 1/4 ts
(i don't enjoy it thus such meagre amt, add 1 tsp if you are a fan of cinnamon)
Dryginger powder 1/2 tsp
Vanilla 1 tsp
Dates 100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Dried black raisins 100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Dried cranberries 100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Walnuts 100gms toasted
Almonds 100gms toasted
Apple Juice 100 ml
Orange juice 100ml
Cream butter and sugar till light and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time untill well blended.
Add all the flavourings and mix well
First add the caramel and soaked fruits and make sure they are mixed well
Then add the nuts (cooled).
Now add flour and mix untill well incorporated.
Give it a quick mix (do not worry about over beating) and fill in a 12 inch bundt pan and bake for 35 mts at 180c.
Wait unitll completely cooled. The next day, mix both the juices in a nozzled bottle and spray liberally over the cake. You will find the cake very wet, but have faith, the refrigerator will do the magic. Pack it in a airtight box and leave it in for two weeks. When you open it after two weeks you will never regret the labour of this cake.
I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie