A good, rich, dark and sometimes boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is a must-have on every Christmas platter. Studded with dry fruit soaked in rum and spiced with beautiful holiday flavours, this recipe is sure to win you over.
In most Christian homes along the south west coast of India, a good Dark Fruit cake makes an appearance at Christmas and all special occasions like engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries, Communion celebrations and so on. It also holds a very prominent spot on a typical Christmas platter, or what is locally referred to as a Kuswar platter. (Kuswar=Christmas sweets)
Most people I know enjoy a good fruit cake, but very often, find it too tedious to make one at home. They settle for a commercially made cake, which very often has a number of additives including caramel colour to give it a deep, dark colour.
Today, I’m sharing with you, my favourite Fruit Cake recipe. This recipe is a little longer than most other cake recipes. However, I can assure you it is a fairly simple process and the end result is so good, it’s well worth all the extra effort. To help make the process easier, I’ve broken this recipe down into a few parts. Some of them can actually be done days before you’d like to bake this cake. The best part is, this cake tastes best if it’s allowed to rest for a couple of days, so it’s a perfect one to make ahead.
Step 1 – Soaking the fruit
This recipe calls for 500gms of mixed dry fruit. In my assortment, I’ve used raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, candied / glacéd cherries and candied ginger. You can use any dry fruits of your choosing, in the proportion you’d like them. It just needs to add up to about 500 grams all together.
Chop the larger pieces of fruit down to make slicing your finished cake easier. Doing this also makes for a better eating experience, in my opinion. Place all the fruit in an airtight glass jar, top it off with some rum and set it aside in a cool dark place. The fruit needs atleast 24 hours to soak and rehydrate. The longer is steeps in the rum, the better the results. This can be done upto a year in advance.
Step 2 – Making the caramel
The 2nd step is making the caramel. There are many ways to make a caramel. For this recipe, you’re looking for one that gives you a slightly more fluid consistency. I’m using a 2:1 ratio – 2 parts sugar to one part water and I find that this gives me the perfect results for this recipe. You can make this caramel even a few days before you want to bake your cake. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar. If you’re making this the caramel, the day that you’re baking the fruit cake, make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before you add it to the batter.
Step 3 – Making the cake
Making the batter is a very simple process. It’s just like making any other cake. You need to ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. In this recipe, I’m using dark brown sugar to help lend a darker colour to the cake. If you can’t find dark brown sugar, regular white sugar will work too. Just make sure you use a fine grain sugar or simply powder your regular white sugar before adding it to the batter.
Sometimes, you find that the fruit in a fruit cake like this one isn’t evenly distributed. Mix the fruit into the flour – baking powder mix to ensure that the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
Also, in this recipe, I’m using treacle to darken my cake and give it an added boost of flavour. If you can’t find treacle, use some molasses instead. I’m not using any artificial colours. A lot of the commercially available dark fruit cakes use caramel colour. If you’d like to, you can add some to the batter.
I’m going to feed this cake only once with some dark rum, just as it comes out of the oven. This will help the cake soak up all the rum.
While you can cut into the cake as soon as it cools dow, for best results, I recommend atleast letting it stand overnight before you cut into it.
Once all the Hard Yakka’s out of the way, sit back and enjoy your stunning Fruit Cake.
Christmas Fruit CakeCourse: Cakes, Cakes, Cookies & Desserts, RecipesDifficulty: Medium
This rich, dark and boozy Christmas Fruit Cake is studded with dry fruit and is beautifully spiced to make it the perfect cake for the Holidays.
- For soaking the dry fruit –
100g mixed citrus peel
50g candied / glaced cherries
50g candied ginger
240ml dark rum
- For the caramel –
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
- For the cake –
200g butter, at room temperature
200g dark brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
2 tbsp Treacle
120ml Caramel (recipe included)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
250g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Dry fruit, previously soaked as per directions below.
50g cashew nuts, chopped
45ml dark rum
- Soaking the fruit –
- Chop all the dry fruit into smaller pieces. I try and keep them evenly sized, like the size of the currants, which are the smallest in the assortment.
- Place all the chopped fruit in an airtight glass jar. Top with rum. Mix well. Cover and steep for a minimum of 24 hours in a cool, dry place. You can leave this fruit to steep for upto a year. Shake the jar or stir the ingredients every once in a while.
- For the caramel –
- Place 1 cup sugar in a large vessel. Let it melt and caramelise on medium heat till all the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan, as needed.
- Once all the sugar has completely dissolved and it caramelised, pour 1/2 cup hot water down the side of the vessel. It is important to do it in this manner to prevent the caramel splashing on you.
- Let it heat through for about another 10 seconds or till both liquids have mixed well. Give it a light stir to ensure they have mixed through.
- Set this aside and leave to cool completely before adding to the cake batter.
- If you’re making the caramel ahead of time, after is had completely cooled, store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place.
- To make the cake –
- Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl to combine well.
- In a larger bowl, place the soaked dry fruit after draining out any excess rum. Do not discard this rum. You can top the jar up with more fruit and rum and leave to steep for the next time you make this cake.
- Add the cashewnuts to the fruit and mix well.
- Add the flour and baking powder mix to the bowl and mix the flour and fruit thoroughly, and stir through to break up any larger clumps of fruit.
- Preheat your oven to 170C and line a 9 inch square cake tin with baking paper and grease it.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar and beat till it is light and creamy and all the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
- Add the vanilla, orange zest and juice, caramel, treacle and all the ground spice powders. Mix well till combined.
- Lastly, add the fruit – flour mix and fold it into the cake batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or till done.
- Immediately, pour the rum all over the top surface of the cake.
- Let the cake cool down in the cake pan itself.
- When it has completely cooled, it is ready to serve or store. For best results, let it rest overnight before cutting. Store carefully wrapped in a couple of layers of baking paper.
- When you’re ready to serve, cut into slices or bars and enjoy!
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- The fruit should be soaked for a minimum of 24 hours or upto one year in an airtight glass jar. The longer they steep, the better.
- Make sure the caramel has cooled down completely before adding to the batter. The caramel can be made a few days ahead. Simply let it cool down completely and store in an airtight glass jar till ready to use.
- For best results, let the cake rest atleast overnight before cutting into it.
Mawa Cake … with a recipe for Instant Mawa
So last week I shared with you a lesser known, but extremely yummy recipe for a biscuit found in the Pune-Mumbai region – Shrewsbury Biscuits. If you haven’t seen that yet, go check it out, I’ll still be here when you get back.
Okay, so you’re back. Today, is the turn for another lesser known recipe, this time for a cake called Mawa Cake. Again, as far as I know this cake is found in the Pune-Mumbai region. Kayani Bakery in Pune and Merwan’s Cake shop in Mumbai are popular for their Mawa cake, though you will find quite a few other shops selling this cake. They are usually sold in packs of 6 – 6 muffin sized pieces. This simple cake is so very special. It is not much to look at, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. If you’ve never heard about this cake before, you should put it on your list of recipes to try out. Mawa is nothing but milk solids and this is widely used in a lot of Indian sweets.
A lot of people cringe at the thought of making their own mawa and just buy it from the local Dairy shop in India. This is because, while it is a simple process of reducing milk, working with about a litre of milk could take you about an hour to process. In the past, I have made Mawa the traditional way a couple of times. But for this cake, I decided to try out a cheat’s version of Mawa. This method takes literally 2 minutes at the most, and you would never be able to tell that it is an instant version. I’m so happy that I found this method. I have a whole bunch of recipes for Indian sweets that I’ve been ignoring, simply because it calls for Mawa. But that has changed, so you can expect to see some more Indian sweets / Mithai recipes, just before the Indian festival season starts.
Back to the cake. If you have your Mawa sorted out, the rest of the recipe is like a simple pound cake one but with a serious flavor profile. The Mawa adds a richness to the cake and it is mildly flavored with cardamom powder, resulting in a very exotic tasting cake. This time around my husband made the cake, which I guess made it even tastier (lol). He chose to bake this in an 8″ round cake tin, but you could bake it in a cupcake tray too. I do hope you try it out.
Yields: an 8 inch cake or 15-16 cupcakes
1 portion of homemade mawa (recipe below) or 200g unsweetened mawa
200g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (Seeds of about 10-12 green cardamom pods, powdered)
Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
Grease and line an 8-Inch Round Cake Pan with parchment paper / baking paper. Alternatively, if you are baking them in cupcake sizes, line a Cupcake tray with paper liners.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and keep aside.
In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg yolks till light and creamy.
Add the mawa, cardamom powder, baking powder and flour and mix till well incorporated. (If the mawa in store bought or is a firm block, grate it before adding into the batter)
Fold in the beaten egg whites gently till just evenly incorporated in the batter.
Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes (if using a cupcake tray, bake for 15-20 minutes) or till a bamboo skewer inserted near the middle of the cake come out clean.
Cool completely, cut and serve. Don’t get fooled by the look of the cake. It tastes a whole lot better than it looks. And don’t forget, if my husband (who has probably not baked more than a handful of times so far), can whip this up, so can you.
How to make Instant Mawa?
1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup full fat milk powder
Warm the ghee and the milk together. You just want this mixture warm, not hot.
Add the milk powder and stir and cook till it comes apart from the pan and starts forming a ball.
Use to make mawa cake.
Notes: If you are baking the cake in a regular cake tin and not a cupcake tray, in some cases, the milk solids may cause the cake to brown quickly. This is normal, but if you think it is browning too fast and may burn, cover the tin loosely with aluminium foil and continue baking till the cake is done.
Date and Walnut Cake …. keeping it real !!!
Have you tried a date and walnut cake before? A lot of people haven’t. If you’ve spent some time in Bombay and been a part of celebrations there, every now and then you will find a Date & Walnut Cake pop up. This cake is a beautiful tea cake. It has a lovely flavor from the dates, a crunch from the walnuts and a rich, dark color that the dates lend to it. It has the most beautiful, luscious crumb. I can’t praise this cake enough. You have to try it to believe it. Its a shame I don’t make this cake more often.
As for keeping it real, I know a lot of food blogs are perfect. Not just picture perfect, but flawless in so many ways. My little blog is far from that. I like that it is human in that way. Even in my kitchen, there are times where I make some boo boos, I have brain farts and sometimes, I just could’ve planned better. This is one of those times where my brain was on a trip of its own. Maybe I was just over excited about this cake. While this cake batter is really easy to put together, I forgot to put the walnuts in it. I only realized this after pouring the batter into my parchment lined loaf pan. So what did I do? I just poured the walnuts on top and tried to stir it through the batter. That is why, you’ll notice the walnuts are mostly near the top of the cake. If you add them to the batter when you are supposed to, it will be better distributed. Now I could’ve waited till I baked this cake again to post this recipe. But in the true spirit of keeping it real and not wanting to keep this recipe from you any longer, I decided to post it with its tiny imperfection. I cannot tell you how amazing this cake is and I do hope you try it out.
Here’s the video recipe, to help you through the process –
Date & Walnut Cake
The best Baked Cheesecake ever
Let’s go back to where it all began, shall we! My husband and I were sitting one evening and watching the latest season of Masterchef Australia (one of my favourite food shows) and it happened to be a Masterclass episode. I’m so stoked they brought back the Masterclass episodes this year. I felt quite cheated out of them last year. Anyway, Matt Preston was making a baked cheesecake. We love cheesecake in our house. So we were very keen to check this masterclass out. Long story short, we loved the way his cheesecake turned out and decided that we would try it sometime soon.
Now I didn’t know how soon “soon” would actually be. I figured it would be a while before I got a chance to make one of them. Turned out, my husband had other plans. The following Saturday while I was at work (yes, unfortunately I do work some weekends), he actually went to the shops and picked out all the ingredients for the cake and had it prepped by the time I got home from work. We popped it in to bake and then in the fridge to set. After dinner that day we were both anxious to see how it turned out. It was HEAVENLY. Soft, creamy, beautifully flavoured with a fantastic crust. We we both very, very pleased with the way this cheesecake turned out and I can happily say that this will now be my go-to recipe for a baked Cheesecake. Thank you Matt Preston! and thank you Masterchef Australia!
For the base –
1 packet of Granita biscuits (250g pack) (if you can’t find Granita biscuits, you can use Digestive biscuits instead)
75 g butter, melted
For the filling –
750g cream cheese, at room temperature
230g or 1 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
300ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
Line a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.
Double wrap the outside of the cake tin with extra wide aluminium foil. This is to make the tin water tight to ensure that water from the little water bath you will create for the cake, doesn’t seep into the cake.
For the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor till you get crumbs. Add the sugar and blitz again for a couple of seconds till its mixes well. Add the unsalted butter and blitz again to combine.
At this stage, your base mix should resemble coarse wet sand.
Press the mix into the bottom of the prepared cake tin, spreading it out with the back of a large wooden spoon to even it out.
Bake for 10 minutes till lightly brown and set.
Remove the tin from the oven and set aside to cool. This base should be completely cooled before you add the filling.
For the filling, place the cream cheese in a stand mixer and using a padding attachment beat till smooth and creamy.
Add the sugar and beat till the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition and make sure the egg is fully incorporated in the mix before adding the next one.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt and mix until well combined.
Now add the cream and mix until well combined.
Pour the mix over the cooled base. Set the cake tin in the middle of a larger roasting tray or larger baking dish. You want to ensure your roasting tray / baking dish has high sides. Set this on the middle rack of the oven.
Carefully, fill the roasting tray with boiling water upto a 2 cm height and bake till the cake has set and the top is a little golden brown. This should take about 65 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside the oven to cool with the oven door closed.
Then take the cheesecake and leave to cool completely.
Cover it and pop it into the fridge to cool a little and set further.
Serve with fresh berries if desired. But even by itself, the cake is so good you’ll be glad you baked it.
Baath / Badca – Traditional Goan Coconut Cake
200g dessicated coconut
2 cups water
2 cups semolina
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp baking powder
A generous pinch cardamom seeds, crushed (Seeds from about 6 large pods)
In a heavy bottomed pan, bring the water to a boil.
Add the sugar to the pan and let it melt.
Once the sugar has melted, add the coconut and the ghee and let it come to a boil, stirring frequently.
Add the semolina and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the crushed cardamom seeds.
Take off the heat and cool.
|After the mix has cooled|
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line and grease a baking dish / cake pan.
When the mix has cooled, add the baking powder.
Just before baking, add the beaten eggs. Mix well till the eggs have been incorporated well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake till done. (Till a skewer pierced in the center of the cake comes out clean.)
If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover the top with some aluminium foil.
Cool down and enjoy!!!
NOTE – Add the eggs only just before you bake the cake and not in advance. Preheat the oven in time to bake the cake.
Chocolate Mud Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
So with a single cake pan and a wooden spoon, I set out to bake this cake. Please excuse the aesthetics on this one and don’t let it fool you for a single moment. This cake was so very good, I was amazed. I know I will make this recipe again. This cake was down right delicious. I think I might’ve jumped the gun when I tried to sandwich the cake with the icing. I now know better. I would’ve had a better looking cake had I just iced it on top. Which is why I don’t have a picture of the entire cake, just one enticing piece 🙂 That’s something I know I will do differently the next time. But all said, this is a winner of a recipe.
Chocolate Mud Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
For the cake –
400g butter, chopped into cubes
400g dark chocolate, chopped
15g instant coffee powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
60 ml water
225g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 large eggs
440g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Line a 9″ round cake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
Place the butter, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and heat till melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Sift another 2 times.
Beat the eggs and sugar till pale and thick.
Add the chocolate mixture and beat till combined.
Fold in the flour cocoa mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 90 minutes or till done.
Leave it in the baking tin to cool for about 10 minutes.
Take it out of the cake tin and cool it down completely.
Note: According to the Donna Hay Magazine, where this recipe is originally from, she recommends testing a mud cake with a skewer. Piece the skewer into the center of the cake. It will emerge coated in cake. Roll the cake from the skewer onto your fingertips. If it balls up and feels tacky, the cake is done. Take the cake out of the oven.
For the ganache –
250 ml single cream
300g dark chocolate, chopped
Place the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir till melted and smooth.
Cool to room temperature.
To assemble –
When the cake has completely cooled, spread the completely cooled ganache over the cake.
Note: I did cut and split the cake into 2 layers and placed some ganache in the center. This is something I won’t do the next time, it just messes up the finish. I would recommend baking the layers separately, if you’re keen on a layered mud cake.
Two Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
I pretty much stuck to the recipe, with the exception of chocolate chips. I didn’t have any so I just left them out. And it still tasted pretty good. Also, I didn’t think the mix would fit into the mugs I had, so I mixed the batter in a larger bowl and then poured it into the mugs. Now its not as perfect as the ones I’ve baked in an oven, but it was good. And now that I know that something like this can be whipped up in minutes, I’m gonna have to try extra hard to not make this too often, for the sake of my waist; if you get my drift 😉
Two Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
Recipe from: Completely Delicious
Yield: 1 large mug or 2 small mugs
3 tbsp veg. oil
3 tbsp whole milk
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp all purpose flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
Place the oil, milk, egg and extract in a large microwave safe mug and whisk together using either a whisk or a fork until combined.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and mix until combined.
*If you’d like to add chocolate chips, stir in 3 tbsp chocolate chips.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
There you go, your cake is ready!