Kerala has no snow but for Christmas the bakeries do shovel in loads of cake all covered in white hard icing with roses on it .The glass cases do look like lot of snow with some blooms on it.Over time more sophisticated less decorated or no icing plum cakes started coming in red boxes arranged neatly in pyramids. A traditional Christmas cake of Kerala comes as a big surprise to the rest of the world !!And I am in turn surprised to find fruit cakes in this part of the world literally covered in dry fruits and cake is namesake as if just to glue everything together!!!
I always picked the white star..but had a hard time deciding which cake to buy .All the decorations Oh!!! Now I wonder how I ate all those crisp sometimes really hard roses.I was contented only when I saw the wooden base the cakes came on, ignoring all the weird look on my mom's face:).Though every year we received homemade delicious cakes I must admit I used to get carried away by the most number of roses.....Okay let me brush those feelings and memories aside and bring in the holiday spirit.
Here is an ideal homemade gift you can make for a strict teetotaler!!
Christmas time is plum cake time for me and I am sure it is the same with u too...The craze for hard icing flowers is long gone but the fondness for the cake still remains.
Few days back I wanted to have fruit cake ,I asked myself ,"When do you want to have ? " and the little devil in me said now! right now !!!You know me ,I just had to make it ! I was restless until I took the first bite of fruit cake.So if you are like me then this cake is for you because it is ready in a matter of 1 hour! ya, you read it correctly .Coool right!!
Highlight of the cake is raisins and dry fruits need not be soaked for weeks for the soft texture and it is alcohol free .
This yummy fruit cake does not need any planning so you can make it instantly whenever your heart desires !!
All purpose flour- 1 1/4 cup
Butter -1/2 cup (1 stick) (at room temperature)
Eggs- 3 If large then 2
Baking powder-1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup + 3 tsp
Raisins-1 cup (black raisin,white raisin and few candied cherry cut into pieces)
Orange peel candied / Orange rind-4 to 5 pieces chopped finely ( click on orange to see recipe)
Cashew nuts- 1/2 cup (broken into pieces)
Spice powder-optional(cloves -1-2 , cinnamon-1 small stick , dry ginger- a very small,tiny piece,cardamom -1,nutmeg- a small pinch make a powder of all this)
Vanilla essence-1 tsp
Boiling water-1/2 -1 cup (If the raisins are really dry it will absorb more water so add water accordingly)
Method1.Caramelize sugar.Take an old pan :) Heat it and put three tsps of sugar ( plus a little more depending on the color u want) in the center of the pan. Reduce flame to medium low .Do not touch the pan or stir the sugar.Keep a close eye and you will see that the sugar is melting when all the sugar has completely melted (not even one speck of white sugar o.k:)) pour the boiling water into it and switch off flame.See notes.Mix the sugar and water well bring it back to boil and put the nuts and raisins only in this.let it cook in this for 5 minutes on low flame or until they are tender .Let it cool down. (The idea is to cook the dry fruits gently cooked until just soft and be left with few tsps of caramelized water to color the cake )
2.Keep 3 tbsp of flour aside and in the rest of the flour mix the baking powder and spice powder (if you are adding)
3.Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy then add eggs one by one and beat well.Add vanilla essence too.Now slowly fold in the flour mixture to it without mixing too much. Pour the caramelized sugar water to get the brownish color.
4.To the soaked raisins and nuts add the 3 tbsp flour we had kept aside and mix well and the orange peel and cherry.This dusting is done to save the fruits and nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking.
5.Add it to the cake mixture and fold gently.Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and level the top.
6.Bake in a preheated oven at 350 ° F for about 45 to 55 minutes.Until the toothpick /skewer comes out clean.The cake top is dark brown in color .
Slice it only when completely cool ,don't take chance as it will crumble!
Enjoy with a nice glass of Homemade wine.(click on wine to see easy version)
- While caramelizing sugar do not disturb it because it will stick to the pan which is very difficult to remove ,if it is left undisturbed it will not stick !! I know we all have a tendency to stir it while melting!!! But don't let it burn and blame me :)
- Pour only boiling water so it won't splutter (mind you caramelized sugar is very hot and it can cause serious burns if you pour tap water)
- This cake has lot of moist ingredients going into it so if you feel that the cake batter is too watery add a tbsp of flour to the batter to adjust .Otherwise the center of the cake will sink and it is difficult to cook.
- You can add tooti fruiti,dates or other dry fruits of ur choice but make sure the total of all dry fruits together should not be more than 1and 1/2 cups.
- Add shajeera/caraway seeds- a pinch while making spice powder if u like.
- If you have noticed, we are slightly cooking the raisins and nuts in the caramel water.It is done to get the effect of soaking in rum for weeks .You will notice the difference when you bite into the cake because you won't chew any raw nuts Oh ya ! it avoids crumbling while slicing the cake too.
- I like baking in the loaf pan because I feel there is only one slicing per piece .
- Once cool keep it closed, the cake becomes hard as it sits .
Check out Homemade grape wine recipe if you like the quick and easy wine.(fermentation only 14 days!!)
Do write back to me.