Season’s sweet things – “You-know-what”
Gleeful happenings are taking place on the lower quarter of our Christmas tree, ornaments are constantly switching places and ribbons seem to be perennially on the move. A pink Dora whistle and a yogurt tub lid were found spending time on the tree for a while, before getting replaced with a scrubbing pad and a piece of chalk. Altogether it looks like so much Christmas fun for someone in the house!
I purposely decided not to start off this post mentioning fruitcake; you are still here, aren’t you? People from my home state are long known to pledge their allegiance to this cake perhaps from the time when British inspired bakeries began making the cake, substituting difficult ingredients like molasses with home made caramel syrup, adding on other spice favorites like shajeera, lavishing on cashew nuts, and skimping on candied fruits for good. Every Christmas we bake some, buy some, gift some, eat even more and then start off again in our relentless pursuit for making the best fruit cake ever. The journey is on and we all know that getting there is perhaps all the fun!
My favorite fruitcake recipe still is the most viewed post in this blog, so I think it is only fair to share one more. The Rum and raisin fruit cake gets its intense flavor and melt in the mouth texture from the boiled raisin puree used in the recipe. Always make sure that you bake the cake till the cake tester comes out clean with some crumbs attached to it. Also if you are using a dark surface cake pan, cover outside with Aluminum foil to prevent over browning of the cake during the prolonged baking time.
Rum and raisin fruitcake
Granulated sugar 1 ½ cups + ½ cup
Butter ¾ cup
All purpose flour 2 ½ cups
Baking powder 2 tsp
Ground cloves ½ tsp
Ground nutmeg ¼ tsp
Ground Shajeera 1 tsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Orange extract ½ tsp
Rum ¼ cup +1/4 cup+ 2 tbsp
Raisins 2 cups + 2 cups
Chopped cashew nuts 1 cup
Cook 2 cups of raisins with 1 cup of water, and ¼ cup of Rum with occasional stirring till the raisins are very tender. Cool the mixture, blend to a fine puree adding just enough water to get the blender going if needed.
Mix ½ cup sugar with 2 tbsp water in a sauce pan, turn on the heat, and mix well till the sugar dissolves. Now stand back and wait for the sugar syrup to start caramelizing, mix with a wooden spatula till the syrup turns deep golden brown. Turn the heat to low, add ½ cup water ,increase the heat a bit with constant stirring till all sugar clumps dissolve. Cool and refrigerate up to 1 week.
Soak 2 cup raisins in ½ cup orange juice+ ½ cup water+ ¼ cup rum for 1-2 days in the refrigerator (Or microwave the mixture (without rum) for 4 minutes, add the rum and soak for 4-6 hours). Drain off the excess liquid before adding fruits to the batter.
Heat oven to 325 degree F, grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan
In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices with a wire whisk.
Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, add eggs, orange extract, spices, caramel syrup and continue creaming for 2 more minutes. Add the raisin puree and flour mixture alternating between the two, mixing very well after each addition. Add soaked raisins, chopped nuts and mix well with a wooden spoon. Spoon the batter (it will be very thick, you may add a couple of tablespoons of water to the batter if and only if it is needed, otherwise the fruits will sink to the bottom of the cake) into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hr and 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake come out clean with a few crumbs on it. Start testing after 1 hr 15 minutes. Keep the cake on a wire rack to cool down for 20 minutes. Invert the cake, brush it with 2 tbsp of rum (optional) and let the cake rest for a day before serving. Store at room temperature for up to 7 days, refrigerate for up to a month