Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Old Fashioned Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake

Christmas Fruitcake

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear”
~ JOHN LENNON

Old Fashioned Fruitcake

So finally Christmas is here; the most awaited festive season/holidays worldwide. This is my favorite seasons of the year. It covers all my favorite things; winter, December, Christmas, new year eve and last but most importantly my birthday and my wedding anniversary too! Loads of fun, parties and best memories of the year. I just love this perfect closer!

Old Fashioned Christmas cake

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday of the year. During childhood after the last day of the school when we used to return home after wishing everybody, the aroma of freshly baked cake used to be there to greet us saying, ‘Welcome home’. And each day a new surprise used to be there in form of a new treat for us. I can’t thank enough to my mother for filling my childhood with such lovely memories.

Rich & Moist Fruitcake

On Christmas Eve we used to visit our nearest church to be part of the celebration and on the Christmas day we were on our way to family picnic to zoo or botanical garden or any other place with loads of goodies. The place used to be variants but our food baskets were always similar. Those memory of early morning rides in heavy jackets with steaming hot Indian Spiced tea & freshly baked fruit cakes are unforgettable. The smell from homemade sandwiches, fresh oranges, "nolen gurer sandesh" (sweets made of molasses) and fresh fruitcakes are my idea of Christmas.

Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake

Everyone has their own style of celebrating Christmas with their favorite ‘must’ food. For me it is Old Fashioned Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake. I love any kind of cake with any kind of filling but on Christmas a rich fruitcake is a ‘must’ thing for me. I still remember sometimes when we had finished our fruitcake before Christmas my mother used to bake another light fruitcake and I used to make faces for my beloved fruitcake. I could never realize why my mother used to bake those cakes only once in a year and that also in limited numbers!

Old Fashioned Fruitcake

Thankfully I do now. Three years back when for the first time I wanted to bake this cake on my own I started looking for the recipe in the internet. That was the time when I realized for the first time in my life how much patience and stamina one needs to bake such cake. I immediately called my mother and got confirmed with a broken heart. As it was too late to bake a Traditional Fruitcake I baked TuttiFrutti Cake as my mother suggested (her recipe) on that year. Not to mention it is my second favorite cake on winter especially for breakfast/snack. But his year I had my goal set and arranged everything before time and my favorite Old Fashioned Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake is ready on time (before Christmas eve).

Old Fashioned Rich Fruitcake

Here is my version of Old Fashioned Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake recipe for you all.

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 140 mins
Resting time: 30 mins
Total Time: 190 mins
Yield: 12-14 servings (one 9” round cake)

Ingredients:

Fruit mix soaked in brandy/orange juice
Butter or margarine (unsalted): 250g (at room temperature) +1 tbsp, melted (for greasing)
Soft dark brown sugar: 230g
All-purpose flour: 225g
Baking power: 1 tsp
Egg (large): 4 (at room temperature)
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Brandy or alcohol of your choice: ¼ cup (it is the same alcohol which you had used to soak your fruits)

Spice Mix:
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
Nutmeg power: ½ tsp
Clove powder: ¼ tsp
Mace powder: ½ tsp
Dry ginger powder: 1/8 tsp

For Garnishing:
Blanched almond
Glazed cherry (halved)

Equipment:

9” round spring form pan
Sieve
Mixing bowls
Parchment papers
Clingfilm
Foil

Preparation:

This cake is built in four vital stages:
a>   Fruit soaking,
b>   Preparing baking tin,
c>   Baking the cake and
d>   Maturing the cake & storage.

For the first part, ‘Fruit soaking’ click here for detailed process.

Christmas Fruit Soaking

For the second part ‘Preparing baking tin’ follow the instructions below.
Before you start baking the cake you need to understand this cake will be baked in very low temperature and for a long time. So it is very important to line the baking pan with double/triple layers of baking paper (parchment/silicone paper) to prevent your cake from over baking/burning. Cut strips of paper with 2” - 3” longer than the circumference of the pan with 4” height from the top of the pan. Now fold 1” back along with the length. Make slits in 2” interval with little angle length long of the strip. Grease the pan with 1 tsp melted butter and press the paper around the sides so that it settles comfortably. And staple the sheets together on the joint to lock it. Check the following picture for better understanding.


Take double layer of baking paper (parchment/silicone paper) and cut into circular disc by using the bottom of the tin as template. And press down the double sheets on the base of the pan to fit it perfectly. Check the following picture for better understanding.


Now take double layers of brown paper or newspaper and cover around the outside of the pan. Tie with tread neatly. It is an extra protection for your cake to prevent it from over baking/burning.


Now your baking pan is almost ready. Just for the final touch place the pan with the entire setup into a large pan (say, 10” round pan). This step will help to move the paper wrapped pan easily without any trouble.

Now it’s time to move to the third section of the entire process, i.e. ‘Baking the cake’.
Take the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream them together with an electric beater/hand mixer. Within few secs the mixture will become pale and fluffy.


Now add 1 egg at a time and continue beating. Don’t over beat otherwise the cake will be heavy not puffy. But if it happens don’t worry, it’s not disaster. You’ll have only bit heavy cake; that’s all. Add the vanilla essence and mix gently.


Place the sieve on the top of the bowl and sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the spice mix and sift too. Fold gently all together with a spatula. Follow the classic cut the fold method. Avoid over mixing.


Now add the liquid soaked fruits and gently fold until everything comes together. When mixer seems incorporated stop folding.


Scoop out the mixture and pour into the previously prepared pan. Level the top with the back of a spoon. Tap the pan few times to remove air bubble from the batter. Be careful and take extra care not to destroy the setup.


Preheat the oven to 140°C(fan)/ 160°C. Arrange the blanched almond and cherries on top for decoration according to your personal choice. Cover the top with foil and fold on the sides to protect the top of the cake from excess heat. This will make sure your cake has a nice brown color on top but without any tress of burning/blackening. Place the entire cake setup in the oven very carefully and bake the cake for 2 hrs. to 3 hrs. at 140°C(fan)/ 160°C


The baking time will vary from oven to oven; my Samsung oven took 2 hrs 40 mins. Insert a skewer in the middle of the cake after 2 hrs and check. If it comes out with clean moist crumbs, your cake is done; if it comes out with sticky crumbs, bake for further 30-45 mins; and if it comes out with sticky liquid, bake for further 60 mins to 75 mins.

Once the cake is done remove the cake from oven, careful it’s damn hot now and capable of burning your skin easily. Now the cake is baked finely.


Finally, it is the time for ‘Maturing the cake & storage’.

Make few tiny holes on the top of the cake with the skewer and brush the alcohol while the cake is still warm. Place it on wire rack to allow it to cool completely. You need to feed the cake this way in every fortnight until Christmas. Just don’t feed the cake on the last week.


Once the cake is cooled completely, remove it from the pan and remove the baking sheets carefully. Place the cake on double layers of cling film and cover the cake completely. Then wrap it in foil, in double layers if possible. And finally store the wrapped cake in air tight container. This will be good for weeks if maintained this way.


Rich & Moist Christmas Fruitcake

Merry Christmas to All!!!

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