With Christmas around the corner, every heart craves for a delicious home-baked fruitcake.
When I was a baby around 4 to 5 years old our neighbours who were originally from Kerala used to treat us with a traditional Rum Fruit Cake every Christmas. The cake used to be so tasty that despite having eaten it so many years ago (because they moved to a different city when I was 5 years old owing to a transferable job) its magical taste is still fresh in our minds.
This year while planning the cakes to bake this time of the year, my mother suggested, I give the Rum Fruit Cake a try. Though I was excited by the idea, I was rather sceptical of using alcohol in baking simply because I have never tried it before. Though am well aware that the fruits for such cakes need to be soaked in the booze for a long time (minimum a month in advance, but more the better) I decided to give it a shot with soaking for just 24 hours.
Browsing through the Internet and the many cookbooks at home I finally shortlisted a recipe and went shopping. As luck would have it during shopping for the ingredients at our local bakery, one of the ladies in their staff (who is from Kerala and is quite friendly) offered to share some handy tips to help achieve good results with minimum soaking.
And this is how the following cake with modifications done for convenience, happened. I have no hesitation in claiming that it’s spicy, boozy, moistness loaded with fruits will make you embark on the X-mas feeling in the first bite.
Not very fancy in appearance, but it is a rich cake that’ll steal hearts in every slice.
Christmas Rum Fruit Cake:
Difficulty Level: Medium
- All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 250 grams
- Butter ( I used salted) – 100 grams
- Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 125 grams
- Castor Sugar – 300 grams
- Granulated Sugar – 4 tbsp
- Eggs -4 (separate the yolks and egg whites)
- Vanilla Essence – 2 tsp
- Fresh Orange Peel – 4 tbsp
- Fresh Orange (for juice) – 1
- Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
- Dry Fruits – 200 grams (Mix of Tutti Frutti, Almonds, Dry Figs, Raisins, Dry Plums and Cashews)
- Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
- Cinnamon Powder (freshly ground) -1.25 Tsp
- Nutmeg Powder – 1/4 Tsp
- Clove Powder – 1/4 Tsp
- Dry Ginger Powder – 1/2 Tsp
- Milk – 1/4 cup
- Rum – 100 ml
- Soak the dry fruits and the orange peel in the Rum of choice ( I used the Old Monk) for at least 12 to 24 hours. If you don’t want to use the booze or have kids at home (my kid ain’t a fan of fruit cakes), soak these dry fruits in 3 to 4 tablespoons of Orange Juice. Make sure the dry fruits are covered in the booze or the juice.
- For instant baking, a 50-50 mixture of Orange Juice and Rum can also be used to soak for an hour and cook the dry fruits in the mixture for some time (15 to 20 minutes) to achieve good results.
- Drain the soaked dry fruits but retain the soaked rum or the orange juice for use later in the recipe. Let the dry fruits cool in a plate.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease a 10″ round cake tin, line it with baking paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, sieve together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and the spice powders. Freshly ground cinnamon, clove and nutmeg yield fantastic results.
- Add the soaked, cooked fruits mix in the flour and mix well till fruits are completely coated. This helps in preventing the fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking. Keep these aside.
- In a separate bowl cream together the butter, ghee, egg yolks (keep the egg whites aside) and castor sugar until the sugar dissolves completely and a light and fluffy mixture is obtained.
- Add the floured fruits to the butter mixture in increments alternating with milk. Beginning and ending with the flour-fruit mixture. Stir well to blend in well.
- In another bowl beat the egg whites till stiff peaks are formed. To it add the 4 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice and beat again. Now fold in the egg whites in the prepared cake mixture.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Smoothen it well using a spatula and gently tap the tin to let the air bubbles escape.
- Place the cake mixture in the preheated oven and bake for 90 to 100 minutes. This is a big cake and takes longer than usual to bake through. But do check regularly to ensure complete baking after an hour.
- Test using a skewer for doneness on all areas of the cake. When fully baked and the tester comes clean, let the cake cool for sometime in the cake tin.
- After 10 minutes while the cake is still warm take it out of the cake tin and place on a cooling rack and while it is still warm gently sprinkle two teaspoons of the rum (or orange juice) set aside after draining the soaked fruits for an added spike in flavour.
- The cake is ready to be served at tea time to celebrate Christmas.
If refrigerated, make sure to thaw the cake before serving and you might want to sprinkle little brandy or rum at the time of serving to heighten the flavours (but it is optional).
To store for longer periods if baked early or in bulk, sprinkle little more rum, cover well the cooled cake in a cling wrap followed by wrapping it well in an aluminium foil before storing it in a cool, dry place.
Find other recipes ‘From My Kitchen’ here.