(Adapted from Light Fruitcake: Joy of Baking)
An ex-Army man, he has a never-say-die spirit. After surviving a paralyzing stroke 10 years back, he has been confined mostly to his room. But on his birthday every year, it is his demand that his children should be there with him on his special day and his birthday cake should be baked by me. One year, we got cake from outside and he was really sulking all day!!! So, however busy or tired I am, I always forward to baking for this lion-heart man who does not let illness or old-age dampen his birthday spirits.
This year I had planned to make the authentic Christmas Fruitcake for him. This cake is full of candied fruits and nuts. It is really a spicy cake because you will get the whiff of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Here are the lovely cakes.
This recipe also calls for use of almond powder, meaning the dry powder of almonds. Since, almond powder is not available near my place, I chopped dry almonds and ground it dry in my food processor. This cake takes some preparation time, so plan well ahead.
I got this wonderful recipe from the Joy of Baking website. You can find the original recipe here.
I tweaked it a little bit to suit my requirements. So, here we go...
3/4 cup (120 grams) candied mixed peel (I used a mix of tutti fruiti and chopped cashew nuts)
1/2 cup (100 grams) candied red or green cherries (cut into quarters)
1/3 cup (40 grams) dark raisins
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract ( I skipped this ingredient!)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) ground almonds (almond meal/flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
Zest of one small lemon (outer skin)
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (whole or reduced fat)
1. The first step is to chop the almonds and the cashew nuts if you use it.
2. Next, dry grind the chopped almonds in a coffee grinder/mixer. While grinding the almonds, I also added half a teaspoon each of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves for a wonderful spicy aroma.
3. Take two tablespoons of sugar in a pan. Add one teaspoon of butter and heat the pan. Once the sugar starts browning, add 1/4 cup water and 1/3rd cup tutti-fruit (and cashew nuts). Once the syrup becomes thick and coats the fruit pieces, take off the flame and keep aside to cool.
4. Next, take the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a deep bottom dish. Add all the remaining fruits and nuts to this dry mixture and mix well. All fruit pieces should be coated with the flour.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs one by one and beat well. Now add half the dry mixture with milk and mix.
6. Add the remaining flour and mix the batter. Add the candied fruits with the sugar syrup and vanilla essence.
7. Mix the batter well. Don't worry if the batter is thick. If batter is too thick and you cannot move your spatula in it, add two tablespoons of milk.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes. Grease a baking tin of your choice and line with butter paper. This aids the de-molding of the cake. If you dont have butter papaer, simply grease the tin.
9. Pour the batter in the tin and place in the middle rack of the oven. If you are making one big loaf cake with this batter, you need to bake at 180 degree C for 60 minutes. I baked two small cakes that were done in 45 minutes.
10. If the top crust is browning fast, cover with foil.
11. After the cake is baked, remove from oven. A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack till you can touch the cake.
12. De-mold and cut the cake. You can eat this cake on the same day. This cake stores very well for a week and you can freeze it for a month.
I am sending this recipe for the ongoing event on Kolkata food Bloggers, "Christmas Recipes".