Easy Christmas Cake
1 kg of mixed fruit
1 cup of blanched almonds – roughly chopped
2/3 cup of sherry/brandy or orange juice
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
250 g of butter – softened
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of strawberry jam
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Place the mixed fruit, chopped almonds and sherry into a container and give it a good stir to ensure all the fruit and almonds are coated with sherry. Place a lid on the container and leave for 24 hours.
When you are ready to make your Christmas cake, line the base and sides of 2 x 15cm cake tins with baking paper and preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
Sift the flours and spices together into a bowl and set aside until needed.
Place the softened butter and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the strawberry jam and vanilla extract and mix for a minute to combine.
Add the eggs one at a time making sure you mix each egg in well before adding the next. If your mixture starts to split, add a spoonful of your sifted flours to it.
With your mixer on a very low speed (or alternatively you can do this step by hand) add the fruit and flour mixture alternatively and mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into your prepared tins and lightly smooth the surface. I like to create a small indent in the centre of the cake (no more than 5mm) to ensure a flat surface. You can also decorate your cake with almonds at the point if you wish.
Place your cakes in the oven and set the time for 1 1/4 hours. When the timer goes off, place a piece of foil over the tops of your cakes to prevent them from over browning. Test your cakes and cook for a further 20 minutes or until soft crumbs appear when testing with a skewer.
Remove your Christmas cakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the tin, simply wrap them in a tea towel.
Once the cakes are completely cool, cut and enjoy!
KERALA FRUIT CAKE RECIPE
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
1/4 cup black raisins
1/2 cup mixed dry fruits (dates, cherries, orange peels, etc)
1/2 cup white sugar (for sugar syrup)
3/4 cup white sugar (for cake batter)
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp clove powder (see notes)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
In a pan on medium heat, melt 1/2 cup sugar slowly.
It will first melt and then turn into a dark brown goop. Keep stirring and let it turn a deep dark caramel colour. Don’t let it burn.
Turn off heat and add about 1/4 cup water. The sugar will harden.
Turn the heat back on and slowly heat the mixture until the sugar crystals dissolve.
This will take around 10 mins.
Let this cool and set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C.
Add 3 tbsp flour to the dry fruits and nuts and dredge completely to coat it. This is so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter while baking. Set aside.
Mix the remaining flour and baking powder, spices, and salt until well combined.
Beat the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy – about 10 mins by hand, 3-4 mins with an electric beater. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Next, add 1 egg and beat. Then add a bit of the flour mixture and fold. Likewise, alternate between the eggs and flour mixture until they are used up.
Add the cooled caramel and dredged fruits and gently fold in. Pour batter into a greased cake pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 50-55 mins until the top turns a dark brown and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with dry crumbs.
Start checking from 45 mins to see if the cake is done.
The top will look like it’s overdone but don’t worry, make sure the inside is also completely cooked.
Dust with icing sugar when the cake is completely cooled