Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson My mom used to make this cake at Christmas and I always looked forward to it!!! I follow her tradition and every year it comes out well…..but its more than just that special taste…..I miss that special experience of baking with my mom….miss those days when we used to sit together and chop all the fruits and nuts…..keeping awake the whole night to bake batches of cakes as unexpected and intermittent power cuts makes it difficult to bake during the day in Kerala ..…then comes my brothers job of distributing it to our neighbors and relatives….miss those childhood days spent at home….to recreate that spirit of Christmas , this year also I made fruit cake here at home and I dedicate my mom's best Christmas Fruit Cake recipe to all my fellow bloggers..…
Chop all dry fruits and cashew nuts finely and soak them in Rum/Brandy for minimum one week. (I recommend soaking the fruits months or a year in advance, the more the tastier).
Heat 8 tbsp sugar in a heavy bottom pan stirring continuously. When it becomes dark brown add 1cup hot water, boil until it becomes 1/2 cup, keep aside to cool completely.
Pre heat oven to 160C/320F. Prepare the cake pans by lining the inside with two layers of greaseproof paper.
Sieve together flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg power and keep aside.
Cream butter and powdered sugar; add egg, one by one and beat well till light and fluffy.
Add vanilla essence and caramel syrup and beat well.
Add flour slowly alternating with prepared fruits to the cream mixture. Gently fold the mixture with a wooden or rubber spatula after each addition, folding in until fruits are evenly distributed.
Spoon the batter in to prepared pans, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake in a 160 degree Celsius oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Test cake after1 1/ 2 hours; if cooked it should be evenly risen and beginning to shrink from the sides of the tin. When gently pressed with the fingers it should spring back. If not cooked, return to the oven and test again at 30 minute intervals, or bake till a wooden skewer inserted in centers comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
Prick holes in the top of cake with a skewer then sprinkle a teaspoon or two of Rum/brandy over cake, let it sink in for a few minutes then wrap well in aluminum foil for storage. Every two weeks, drizzle another teaspoon or two of Rum/brandy over the cake. Aim to keep it nicely moist but *not* soggy!
Make cake two months in advance or at least one week ahead.
My mom and my aunt were the best wine makers in our family....and I too have inherited some of their talent ....so far I have experimented with a large variety of wines from different fruits and vegetables.....and most of the experiments were a success .....so here I am sharing with you one such success to celebrate the Christmas season.....Christmas celebrations are simply not complete without Fruit cake and wine....Enjoy this Christmas with Dates Wine!!!!!
White Grape Juice-250 Grams
Citric Acid-25 Grams
Water, boiled and cooled-4 liters
Yeast-1 table spoon
Sterilize all equipment before use.
Chop then boil the dates gently for 1/2 hour with 2 litres of water.
When cool, strain in a bharani/ bottle and add in the grape juice concentrate. Add the citric acid, yeast and top up the water to around 4.5 liters with cool water. Keep the bottle air tight.
Wait until fermentation is compete, for 21 days. Stir this mixture every day with a wooden spoon. Strain this mixture using a cheese cloth or muslin cloth, into a clean dry vessel on 21st day and leave to clear.
Rack into clean bottles when completely clear and stable. Store for up to 2 years.
Chopped vegetables of your choice-1/2 cup, (I used onion. carrot, capsicum, tomato)
1 Slice bread, crusts removed and cubed
Salt to taste
Black pepper powder to taste
Cheddar Cheese-2 tbsp, shredded
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C . Beat eggs and milk with wire whisk until well blended. Add bread; mix lightly. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake 20-25 min. or until center is set and crust is lightly browned. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.