Article and Recipe by Chisom Odimba: Christmas is around the corner; a time for rich Christmas fruit cake and other decadently scrumptious treats. Yippee!!! Well, that’s one reaction. But for others, the reaction is “oh dear”
Some folks welcome the Christmas season with great cheer and anticipation. Others, however, see it as a season when they have to go through the hassle of putting together acceptable gift items for friends and family.
The holiday season doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful or inordinately expensive. You can start now to prepare something that you can send to friends and family. One of those things is a rich Christmas fruit cake bathe in the aromatic goodness of good quality rum and brandy.
I’ll share a simple recipe that you can make all by yourself; nothing complicated! You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make this rich Christmas fruit cake and trust me the recipients would be wowed by it.
Rich Christmas Fruit Cake – Tools Needed
Like I stated earlier, this is not a complicated recipe so you don’t need complicated tools. All you need are the basics for baking and I bet you most likely would have all these items in your home.
So here’s a list of the tools you need:-
(ii) Mixing Bowls
(iii) Hand or Stand Mixer
(iv) Baking Pans
(v) Measuring cups and spoons
(vi) Storage bowl with cover
(vii) Fine mesh sieve
(ix) Kitchen scale
Rich Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe – Preparation
This recipe requires that you prepare some ingredients ahead of time. You need to soak the fruits for about 5 weeks before using them to bake. This allows the fruits to absorb the fluids and become soft and succulent.
Additionally, when you use the fruits to bake, the fluids seep into the batter and infuse the cake with rich flavors and moisture. This process also makes the fruit cake to taste rich and sweeter as it matures.
So check out the recipe and soak the fruits. Cut the fruits into bits (the same size as the raisins). Place them in the storage bowl with cover. Mix the alcohol in the recipe and then pour it over the fruits. Let the alcohol cover the fruits totally with about two more inches of liquid above the fruits.
Store in a cool dark place.
Rich Christmas Fruit Cake – Recipe
200g Dried Pineapple
100g Dried Apricot
100g Dried Papaya
100g Mixed Dried Glaze Cherries
200g Raisins and Sultanas
50g Dried Figs
50g Dried Citrus Peel
500 ml Dark Red Wine
250g 501 Brandy (You can also use any brand of cognac)
4 Cups Dark Rum
To Make The Cake Batter You Need The Following:-
450g, 2 Cups or 16oz Sugar
450g, 2 Cups, 4 Sticks, 1 lb. or 16 oz. Butter
9 Large Eggs
360 g, 3 Cups or 12.6 oz. Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Mixed Spices
2 Teaspoon Mixed Essence
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Cup Browning
½ Teaspoon Salt (reduce to ¼ teaspoon if you are using salted butter)
Instructions For Preparation and Baking
Prepare The Rich Fruit Cake Batter
(i) Grease two 9 inch baking pans with vegetable shortening and dust lightly with flour.
(ii) Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
(iii) Sift all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside
(iv) Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream until it gets light and fluffy.
(v) Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Don’t forget to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl as you work. This would ensure that all the ingredients are properly incorporated.
(vi) Pour in the browning and mix well.
(vii) Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Do not over mix the batter so that it wouldn’t become doughy.
(viii) Scoop out the soaked fruits and mix with the batter. At this point, I stop using the mixer (whether hand or stand mixer). This allows me to gently fold in the fruits into the batter
(ix) Divide the batter evenly into the baking pans. Fill the pans just a little less than ¾ full so that the cake would not overflow when baking.
Bake and Store
(i) Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 and ½ to 2 hours. However, you start checking the cake at the 1 and ½ hour mark. Your cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with only a few dry crumbs.
(ii) Remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes.
(iii) Invert onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Poke some holes in the cakes with a
thin skewer. Brush with the alcohol (You should have some leftover from the mixture that you used to soak the fruits but if not you can use brandy or rum).
(iv) Wrap in aluminum foil and store in a cool dry place.
(v) This rich Christmas cake can be baked a week or two before serving or delivering as the case may be. So you have to brush it daily with any alcohol of your choice (most popularly used is rum, sherry or brandy).
Rich Christmas Fruit Cake – Recipe Notes
(i) It is best to use loaf pans or square pans to bake this rich Christmas fruit cake. But you can also use Bundt pan is you want a more fancy cake (especially to add to your Christmas hamper).
(ii) If you want to use a Bundt pan to bake this cake, pour water about ¾ full into the Bundt pan and measure with a measuring cup. The number of cups would tell you how many cups of batter you can bake in the pan. That way you’ll know how many Bundt pans you can use.
(iii) The baking pan you use would determine how long the cake would bake. If you use a bundt pan the baking time is expected to increase by about 25 to 30 %. But it’s still best to start checking the cake after 90 minutes.
(iv) Remember that all your ingredients must be at room temperature when preparing your cake batter.
(v) Always use dry fruits that are free of preservatives.
(i) You can serve this cake with any glaze or frosting of your choice; we have a treasure trove of frosting recipe. Click here to check them out.
(ii) You can include this cake in your Christmas hamper or send it as a gift to friends or family. Just wrap it in fancy transparent Christmas wrapper put a jolly bow on it and voila! A rich Christmas fruit cake present!
This cake would last for months without refrigeration and more than a year if frozen. But from experience, it doesn’t get to last that long because it tastes so great!