I have always loved the festive month of December. This month always takes me back to my childhood days of growing up in Mangalore. We had a mix neighbourhood with Hindus , Muslims and Christians. And as human nature would have it we always prefer the grass on other side. So whenever there was Christmas or Moharam we kids waited for the goodies from the neighbours and same with the other kids, during Diwali or Onam they craved for our sweets and other dishes which we would pass to them. There were no inhibitions with us children as far as we were well fed. During new years eve we would gang up and go roaming about different localities who celebrate new year and we would gel in as though we were part of that very society. I will never forget those happy days.
Last year one of my colleague gave me a bite of this traditional xmas (rum & raisin) cake and that is when it struck me that I need to make this for next year and celebrate this month for the memories I hold. The year passed so fast and here I am with my own Xmas cake. I had to do lot of research went through different blogs, different recipes to finalise one as I had no clue how to make this cake.
Dry fruits – 2-3 cups (I used dates, almonds, walnuts & cashews, dried apricots peaches & prunes all chopped)
Also added tuti fruiti, black and golden raisins
Rum – as required (I used CaptianMorga’s Rum ) You can also substitute with wine or orange juice. If using orange juice it needs to be kept in fridge
Caramel syrup – 4 tblsp (4 tblsp sugar + 2tblsp water)
Heat a thick pan with sugar and water and let it caramelise. Turn off the stove as soon as sugar melts and turn in to a dark brown colour. In a glass jar add all the dry fruits, rum and the caramel syrup and close it tight and keep it in a cool place.
I kept this for about a month. Longer you keep better it tastes.
1. Caramel Syrup (to be used in Cake)
(Sugar – 1½ cups
Water – 1 tbslp
Hot Water – ¾ cup)
2. Spice mix
(Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
Clove powder – ½ tsp
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Nutmeg powder – ½ tsp
Jeera powder – ½ tsp
Dried ginger powder – ½ tsp)
3. Butter – 1 cup (at room temperature)
4. Powdered sugar – 2 ½ cups + 2 tblsp
5. Eggs Yolks – 4
6. Maida – 1 ½ cups
7. Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
8. Baking powder – 2 tsp
9. Baking soda – 1 tsp
10. Salt – a pinch
11. Coarsely chopped nuts (skinless Almonds and Walnuts) – 1 cup
12. Orange Marmalade – 4 tblsp
13. Orange Zest – 1 tsp
14. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
15. Rum soaked dry Fruits – as prepared
16. Egg Whites – 4
Start by heating 1.5 cups of sugar in pan with one tablespoon of water and let it melt and eventually caramelise. Once it turns brown in colour turn off the gas and put 3/4th cup of hot water (please take precaution). This would take about 15 minutes, so in the meantime you can start rest of the things.
Pre heat the oven to 180 degree celsius.
Grease a pan with butter.
Drain the pre soaked fruits and dust it with some flour and keep aside (this will keep the fruits form sinking while baking). Keep the rum from the nuts aside to be used later.
In a bowl beat butter and powdered sugar till smooth.
Now add yolks one by one and continue beating it. Next add the dry ingredients (flour, chopped nuts, spice powder and salt).
Add the vanilla essence, marmalade, zest, and caramel syrup and continue to beat. The colour would change as below due to the caramel.
In a dry bowl take the egg white and start beating till soft peaks are made , now add about 2 tablespoon of powdered sugar and continue to beat, it should not be too thick or liquidy, Look at the picture below for a reference.
Mix the egg mixture to the prepared cake batter and add the soda bi carb and baking soda and fold the mixture well using a spatula, don’t use beater at this stage. Make sure not to mix for long.
I always taste my batter to get a idea of how the cake would taste, so if you need you can add extra ingredients like extra sugar or essence or spice mix.
Pour the batter on the greased pan and bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes. If using only maida it should bake in 1 hour 10 minutes.
Check with a tooth pick after about one hour as different oven take different time.
Once cooked remove from oven and pour the remaining rum mix from the soaked nuts and let it cool.
You need to feed the cake with little rum for few days before actually cutting it.
I made mine for the first time and still have not cut it.
But I had some batter left and made cup cakes out of it so I tasted them and they did taste good, but I think the flavour will enhance after few days only.
PS : Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature and all the vessels and spatulas are dry, no hint of water.