Having studied in Catholic school and being in Bangalore most of my life, Christmas has been a very special festival for me. When I was younger, it wasn't the food that mattered so much, it was the spirit of Christmas and sharing and caring that went with it, that was celebrated. We had carol singers come to a neighbour's place and and we always invited ourselves over. I also had friends who invited us over during Christmas and it was always that warmth which exuded from the families that made me feel so good about Christmas
I miss all that here in Ahmedabad, where Christmas is at best a reason to party or to have another sale in stores across the city.
Last year, I baked my first ever Christmas cake and had friends over. The kids were super excited about Santa dropping off the gifts in their stockings and we played some Christmas carols at home and had a nice dinner together
This year, we moms are having a party for our kids, helping them decorate the trees and have some fun time together. I plan to bake some cupcakes for the kids now.
These two cakes are for family, at home here and one for my relatives that I am visiting in Bombay tomorrow - yaay !
I absolutely loved the cake I made from Swapna's blog last year, but wanted to try a different recipe this time. I zeroed in on this one from Saffron trail. I kept postponing soaking the fruits and finally got down to it last week. Soaking it longer does make a difference, a huge difference. I upped the coffee in it and added almond liqueur, that my cousin brought from Goa many months back. So maybe this isn't like your traditional Christmas fruit cake, its a rum infused fruit cake with coffee and loads of almonds.
Merry Christmas to all of you. I am off for a week. See you in the New Year.
Coffee and almond liqueur fruit cake
Adapted from here with some tweaking
What you need
For soaking -
2 cups mixed dry fruits
1/2 cup rum
For the caramel -
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup oil
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp clove powder
1 tsp mixed fruit essence
1/4 cup mixed nuts (cashew nuts, walnuts and almonds)
2 tbsp almond liqueur (I had a lovely bottle of this from Goa, gifted by my cousin)
2 cups of soaked fruit
1 week to 3-6 months ahead
Soak the fruits
2 cups of dried fruits (raisins, dates, cranberries, currants, candied orange peels soaked in 1/2 cup rum)
A little ahead
Heat the sugar in a thick bottom pan. Once it starts to caramelize, slowly pour water over it and stir well to form a smooth caramel liquid
Grease the tins with parchment paper. I used an 8" round tin and a 5" round tin.
Preheat oven at 175 C.
In a large bowl, beat together oil, sugar, cinnamon and ginger powder, vanilla essence and 3 eggs.
Add the cooled caramel and whisk well.
In a large dish, sieve the flour, soda, baking powder and instant coffee powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, in batches and fold in well
Once its done, add 2 cups of the soaked fruit, nuts and the liquor. Mix well and pour equally into the two greased tins.
Bake for 30 minutes at 175 C and another 15-25 minutes at 150 C covered by foil
Test the centre of the cake if it is done. Cool for 15 minutes in pan. Remove along with paper onto a cooling rack
Poke holes with a skewer or toothpick and pour two tablespoons of rum or any other liquor. Once cooled, cover with parchment paper and keep in a tin. Repeat the rum-soak every other day for a week or so (optional)