Shefali Saxena

Here’s the recipe I used. Its the simplest recipe possible. I adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe and made some changes based on ingredients I had. You don’t need to soak the fruits for months, even a week or 10 days gives a great taste.
Recipe :
Ingredients (for approx 750 gms cake) :
250 gms of soaked fruits (I had soaked prunes, raisins, currants, cranberries, apricots in rum for about 10 days)
1 tbsp orange marmalade (I used this instead of candied orange peels)
1 tbsp any dark jam (for the color, I used a blackberry jam, skip if dont have, increase the honey portion by 1 tbsp)
90 gms unsalted butter
90 gms brown/muscovado sugar
60 ml honey
60 ml liquor – Can use Rum/Spiced rum/Tia Maria/Brandy or any coffee liquor. I used a Spiced rum (Captain Morgan).
Juice of 1.5 oranges
1/2 tsp Spice powder (I grinded nutmeg, Star-Anise, cinnamon and cloves in equal quantities and used that).
1 to 2 tbsp cocoa (this is mainly for the dark color and adds some depth in taste)
Handful of hard nuts eg Walnuts/cashews, just crush a bit (Optional, it wasnt there in Nigella’s recipe).
2 eggs beaten
75 grams maida/wholewheat flour (I used maida)
40 gms ground almond powder (just do it as fine as you can in mixie).
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

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Method
1. Put the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, liquor, jams, orange juice, spice and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts (use a large saucepan so can do full cake mixing in that only). Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, keep stirring, and then take off the heat and leave to cool for 30 mins.
2. Preheat the oven to 150 C
3. Line a medium sized tin (its better if a spring form one) with a double sheet of greased baking paper. Also make a circular tent around the baking tin of double sheet of baking paper, just staple it to secure it.
4. After the 30 minutes once the mix has cooled, add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, walnuts/cashews(if using) and mix well.
5. Pour the mix in the tin, bake at the 150 C for about 1.5 hrs. Be patient, it will take that much time. After 1.5 hrs, insert a skewer into centre of cake and if it comes out clean its done else check again every 10 mins or so.
6. Let the cake cool fully before cutting (will take 3-4 hrs to fully cool) else wont be able to cut it neatly.
This cake can be stored in a airtight tin for weeks. One can also ‘feed’ the cake i.e pour some rum on top of it after every week but I didn’t bother with that, it vanished before I could store it properly !

Shilpa Dias: A recipe that hasn’t failed me for over 15yrs
Ingredients & Method 
250 gms of candied peel
Raisins
Sliced cherries
Tuti fruti and dried figs soaked in rum and cointreau/grand marnier and orange rind with 1 tbsp cinnamon powder for over a month-soak until the rum reached the top of the fruits n nuts.
Then an equal weight of 250gms of flour,butter and sugar(try n use brown although white is just as good) and 4eggs.
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy n then add all the eggs one by one along with a tbsp of vanilla essence.
To this add the pre-soaked nuts n fruits(mix in a lil bit of the flour to keep them from sticking to each other.Beat for another minute.Finally to this add flour,baking powder(1 tsp),cocoa powder(2tsp) and 2tbsp of almond flour(i just ground almonds at home).
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Mix it all well until the batter is really smooth and thick.Line the pans with butter and parchment paper and bake at 160 for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs depending on the oven.And voila…the gorgeous cake is ready to jangle your bells and make you feel swell ?
Ps:Do add chopped and toasted walnuts into the batter in the end

Sona Gupta Joshi Adapted from pepperon pizza to what worked best for me over the years.

Ingredients :

* 500 gms mixed chopped dry fruits 2 overflowing cups (cranberries, raisins, candied orange peel, candied lemon peel, candied papaya bits, candied pineapple bits, chopped dates, dry figs, dry apricots)
* 300 ml dark rum – soaked for 20 days plus 50 ml to feed the cake later …
* 300 gm butter unsalted at room temperature
* 200 gm dark brown sugar
* 4 Eggs at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons molasses or maple or honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 300 gm flour APF
* 1 tea spoon baking powder
* 150 gm almond – coarsely ground
* 150 gm walnut chopped small
For the Spice mix
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
* 1 teaspoon ginger powder
* 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

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Method

Combine the butter with sugar, in a food processor (or mix by hand) until fluffy and creamy, as fluffy as you can make it.
Add eggs one by one to the butter sugar mixture.
As the mixture may tend to curdle, it would help if you added a tea spoon of flour or almond flour to the mixture along with the egg. Stir till just combined. Add the syrup, vanilla extract and gently fold it in. Too much of mixing can harden the cake, so fold in the ingredients without stirring the batter.
Add the almond flour, flour with baking powder, spice mix and fold it in. Fold in the chopped nuts. Finally fold in the soaked fruits.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, till it reaches about 3/4 of the tin. Stir while pouring to expel any air bubbles.
Place the tin in the oven and bake for about 2 hours. I baked it at 150deg C for 90 minutes with two loaf tins. I baked in an LG convection oven.

Check for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer. If sticky, then bake for another 5 minutes. Check and repeat till satisfactory.
After removing the cake from the oven, when it is still hot, carefully drill a few small holes on top with a wooden skewer. Brush with alcohol or whatever soaking liquid you have used. Set the cake to cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove carefully from the tin, separate and remove the parchment papers.
Wrap the cake with clingfilm and then in a double layer of foil, making sure you have access to the top of the cake for moistening with liquid later on. Do no directly use foil on the cake as the alcohol or citrusy liquid could react with the foil.

Gayathri V Datla A typical Christmas fruit cake is dense yet moist, pleasantly spicy and bursting with rich flavors of added dried fruits. I like my fruit cake loaded with nuts, citrus peels, all kinds of real dried fruits instead of tutti frutti, without the overpowering spice and booze.. but just a hint of it.

The recipe I’m sharing today is one such. By no means I claim this to be a traditional Christmas cake, only a result of my trials for a quintessential Christmas treat that is liked by both young and adult in the family.

So traditionally, dried fruits are soaked months ahead and the cake is baked weeks ahead(some even take that to years and months) so the cake can be basted many times with alcohol giving it time to mature and ripen. Yours truly lacks longtime planning, patience and kitchen space so finishes everything within a week, yet ends up with a fabulous fruit cake!

Sharing the same quick process with GurgaonMoms since we are just about nearing the festive season and this not-so-time taking and not-so-traditional recipe could be perfect for those wanting to experience making their own Christmas cake. Just remember, the best of cakes is made by best of ingredients+perfect measurements+FTDI (i.e. FollowingTheDamnInstructions! :p)

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FOR FRUIT MIX:
-300g of mixed dried fruits like sultanas, cherry, kiwi, pineapple, mango, cranberry, apricot, plum, raisins etc. and candied citrus peels like orange, lemon, pomelo etc.(you can pick the variety and proportions to your liking, available at Nutlounge, Southpoint.)

-200ml alcohol(Good quality dark rum/brandy/red wine, For non-alcoholic version: black tea/orange/grape/mixed berry juice)
-30g orange marmalade
-Candied ginger for extra heat and zing.(optional).

Put all the chopped dried fruit in a glass jar(preferably airtight) and pour alcohol(or juice) over. Add orange marmalade and mix well with a wooden spoon(never use metal spoon/container as it reacts with alcohol) and leave it on the counter for 4-5hrs. Mix well again with the wooden spoon and refrigerate for at least 2-3 days, giving it a mix every 8-10 hours.
(Important: Bring this fruit mixture to room temperature before using it in the cake.)
The leftover alcohol or fruit juice from the soaked fruits can be fed to the cake to make it more moist and flavorful.

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FRUIT CAKE:
-220g drained fruit mix
-120g all purpose flour
-30g almond flour(can dry grind the almonds to make the flour at home)
-1tbsp cocoa
-50g mixed nuts coated with flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1tsp spice mix(4cloves, 2 inch cinnamon, 1/4 of a nutmeg, 1small star anise)
-1/4tsp dry ginger powder
-1/2 tsp salt (skip if using salted butter)
-100g melted unsalted butter
-50g dark brown sugar
-100g black jack syrup(for deep color and flavor intensity, you can refer to online videos to make your own or replace with equal amount of dark honey)
-60g room temperature milk mixed with juice of 1/2 lemon.
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp rum extract(optional)
-Zest of one orange(optional)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Grease a loaf pan on all sides with butter and dust with flour, line the bottom with a parchment paper for an easy and clean release of the cake.
2. Drain the fruit mix and keep ready, retain the fluid for later use.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dry ginger and spice mix.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cocoa, black jack, eggs, milk mixture, vanilla extract and melted butter.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix very gently with a hand whisk or rubber spatula. (Over mixing yields a tough cake)
6. Gently stir in the fruit mix and chopped nuts.
7. Quickly pour into prepared pan, smooth the surface and bake at 160 degrees for 1hr or until done.
8. Leave the pan to cool completely outside the oven.

Tips:
-For an oozy-boozy cake, once taken out of the pan and cooled, the cake can be poked with a toothpick and fed with the retained alcohol/juice, wrapped in a cling film and kept away for about 10hrs.
-Since the temperatures and settings are different across various ovens the baking time can vary. Cake needs to be baked until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
-It’s necessary to coat the nuts well with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the pan.
-If you are baking in a small oven and find the top browning too fast, halfway through the baking time place an aluminum foil loosely over the pan.
-Wait until the cake cools down completely and use a serrated knife to cut clean through the fruit pieces.

Seema Jain Krishnan As talented bakers have already posted the traditional Christmas cake recipe . I’ll share my version of a non alcoholic Christmas cake. It comes out super delicious. Hope you guys like it.

SPICED DATE & WALNUT CAKE
Ingredients-
Butter softened- 200gms

Castor sugar- 200gms
Self raising flour- 200gms
Baking powder- 2tsp
Eggs- 4 lightly beaten
Vanilla essence- 1/2 tsp
Finely Grated Orange Rind- 1/4 tsp
Ground Cinnamon- 1 tsp
Ground Cloves- 1/2 tsp
Grated nutmeg- 1/4 tsp
Dates & Walnuts Coarsely chopped- 1/2 Cup
Extra ground cinnamon- 1tsp
Walnuts Coarsely chopped- 1/3 cup

SPICED TOPPING-
1/3 Cup -Orange juice
1/4 cup- Butter
1/4 cup – castor sugar
1/3 cup- walnuts
1tsp- ground cinnamon
2 tsp- All purpose flour

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METHOD-
1. Preheat the oven at 180°C. Grease & dust 7 inches round cake pan.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and clove together. Keep aside.
3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. For approx 3-4 minutes.
4. Add Vanilla essence.
5.Add eggs and sifted flour mix alternatively little at a time. Beat well after each addition.
6.Add dates and walnuts. Mix it well.
7. Pour the batter in greased and dusted pan.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c for 40 mins. Insert a toothpick check. If it comes out clean that means the cake is ready. If not then continue to bake for another 5-10 mins.

TOPPING-
In a pan mix all the ingredients. Bring it to boil stirring continuously. Spread on the warm cake. Place the cake in the oven untill topping bubbles and browns for about 3-5 mins approximately. 

Upasana Mahtani Luthra This is one fab recipe( courtesy many forwards) Image credit : Google Christmas ( Hic!!)

Cake Ingredients: 
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
lots of nuts
1 bottle Vodka
2 cups of dried fruit 

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Sample the vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the vodka again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Repeat.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.
Try another cup …. just in case. Turn off the mixerer.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick fruit off floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who careshz.
Check the vodka.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven and wee in the fridge.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka
Fall into bed.

CHERRY MISTMAS

Feature Photo by Jill Heyer on Unsplash

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