The merry bells are ringing. The cold is making my bones rattle. It’s a time of festivities and holidays and celebrations and Christmas.
My dry fruits have been soaking for a long time and I can’t wait any longer. Christmas is around the corner and I just have to make my Christmas cake.
The Christmas cake started out as a humble pudding which was eaten after a whole day’s fast, also known as the Vigil. To improve upon the oatmeal pudding variations were made by adding honey, spices, dry fruits etc and replacing the oatmeal with flour. Later eggs and butter were added to give it a richer texture. From porridge to boiled fruitcake to the Christmas Cake..its been an interesting journey.
450 gm currants
175 gm sultanas
175 gm raisins
50 gm glacé cherries, chopped
50 gm candied orange peel
The first thing to do is to soak all these in rum for at least 20 days. The longer the rum soaks the tastier the dry fruits become.
The list of ingredients may discourage you a bit because currants and sultanas are not easily available. Same is the case with me. Do not worry. Improvise. The key thing to remember is that the total weight of dry fruits must remain the same. The total weight her is 900 gms. I used 450 gm kishmish( easily available) and replaced the sultanas and raisins with a mix of tutti fruit, almonds, cashews and walnuts. Candied peels are easy to make. I will upload the recipe next time. J
On with the list of ingredients
225 gm flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
225 gm soft brown sugar
225 gm butter
4 large eggs
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Now what is this??? Simple! It’s a mix of 6 spices. Mix together 1 tbsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp nutmeg powder, ½ tsp dry ginger powder (sonth), ¼ tsp cloves powder and ¼ tsp allspice powder (easily available, and if not then omit it altogether)
1 dessertspoon black treacle(??????)
Treacle is a byproduct of the sugar making process. It is made from the syrup that remains after the sugar is refined. It is used both as a sweetener and as a condiment. You can make a homemade version of the black treacle.
Mix together 1 cup sugar and 2-3 tbsp water. Put it on medium heat till sugar dissolves and starts to turn dark brown. It will start giving off a slight burnt smell.
You can start on your cake once these ingredients are ready.
Preheat the oven at 140 degree Celsius.
Whip together butter and sugar.
Beat together all the eggs in a separate bowl. Now add the eggs to the butter mix 1 tbsp at a time mixing well after each addition. Do not get impatient and add the eggs in large quantities otherwise the batter will curdle.
Sieve together flour and mixed spices. Fold into the batter.
Bake at 140 degrees for about 2 hours.