Soak in 1 cup whiskey (more if needed later for soaking the cake and storing).
Use candied red and green cherries, pineapple, apricots, plums, orange, lemon and ginger as follows:
1/4 cup candied red and green cherries
1/4 cup pineapple
1/4 cup apricots
1/4 cup plums
1/4 cup orange
1/4 cup lemon
1/4 cup candied ginger
1/4 candied cherries
1/4 cup candied apples
1/2 cup Dates
1/2 cup Raisins
Chopped Nuts – 1 cup each
Cashew nuts or peanuts
Almonds or pecans
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
Take 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp water in a utensil and let it boil in medium heat
After a while, the syrup will start becoming brown in colour
When it becomes darker, add 1/2 cup warm water and mix well
Be careful while adding water to the very hot caramelised sugar, it might sprinkle and cause burns
Caramel syrup is ready for cake
Soak candied fruits, raisins and chopped dates in whiskey for minimum 12 hours.
Finely chop dried nuts and keep aside.
Make fine powder of spices.
Take a wide bowl.
Beat eggs, sugar and oil.
Add caramel syrup, spice mix and soaked fruits, into the bowl.
Add wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda and blend well.
Add salt and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add more whiskey if needed.
Mix the chopped nuts in 1 tsp flour so that nuts do not settle in the bottom of the mixture.
Preheat oven at 325 degree F.
Grease a baking tray and sprinkle some flour.
Pour the cake mixture into the tray and sprinkle chopped nuts.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes and check with a tooth pick to see if done. Toothpick should come out clean off cake is baked well.
Remove from oven and cool.
Cake is ready.
Poke holes into the cake with a long stick or toothpicks. Add more whiskey. This technique is called soaking or feeding the cake.
Cool and store in an airtight tin for 15 days at least before enjoying. Cake is delicious marinated this way.
The best fruit cakes are matured for at least a month and moistened or ‘fed’ from time to time with alcohol such as whiskey, rum, sherry, Madeira or brandy. Fruit cakes made solely from dried fruit will keep for several weeks and up to a month; fruit cakes containing both dried and fresh fruit will go mouldy more quickly. Fruit cakes that have been matured and fed with alcohol can be stored for a year or more.
When making dense fruit cakes such as a Christmas cake, the batter needs to be heavy enough for the dried fruit and nuts to be suspended in it; if it’s too thin the fruit will sink to the bottom. Another challenge comes from the sweetness of the dried fruit, which will scorch and turn bitter if the oven temperature is too high. This is why traditional fruit cake recipes often require you to bake the cake slowly at a low temperature and to line the inside and outside of the tin with paper: a double thickness of parchment paper inside, and several layers of newspaper secured with string outside.
If you want to ice the cake with fondant, click here for FONDANT ICING recipe. (Store bought is good too). This cake takes a large quantity and you are better off making your own!
Marzipan makes a good icing too, place the marzipan on cake while chilled so it is easy to handle and will cover well. Eat at room temperature. Click here for the Marzipan recipe.
Rita Jamshed Kapadia
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