What's Christmas celebrations without Rich Fruit Cake infused with brandy, sherry or rum?
Chef Gauri Varma's recipe for festive moist Christmas cake has the obligatory nuts, assortment of dried and candied fruits. The fresh orange and lemon zest make it further flavourful.
Rich Fruit Cake
- 2 cups (around 260 gm) maida or all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (around 75 gm) finely ground almonds
- 1 cup (around 225 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (around 210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp (around 45 ml) rum + extra for brushing the cake (or Grand Marnier liqueur, brandy, sherry, whiskey)
- Juice and zest (peel) of one orange
- Zest or peel of one lemon
- 1 cup (around 150 gm) coarsely chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts
- 1 kg assortment dried apricots, prunes, raisins, seedless dates, sultanas, currants, munaka (large raisins), dried cranberries, dried cherries and candied fruit, chopped into tiny pieces
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Butter or non-stick cooking spray for buttering the baking pan
- Blanched almonds for decoration, optional
- Preheat oven to 325°F or 160°C.
- Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) springform baking pan with a removable bottom (please see note below) with either non-stick cooking spray or butter.
Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, salt, and the baking powder.
- In another large bowl mix the the dried and candied fruits with the chopped nuts.
Add 3-4 tbsp of the flour mixture, from the first bowl, to the fruit-nut mixture, tossing well to coat the fruits and nuts.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer,) beat the butter until creamy.
Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl between rounds of beating.
Add the rum (or alcohol of choice), orange juice, orange zest and lemon zest.
Fold in the chopped nuts and the dried and candied fruits.
Fold in the rest of the flour mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Decorate the top of the cake with blanched almonds.
Place the springform pan on a larger baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for an hour.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and continue to bake the cake for about 80-90 minutes or until a long skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Take the cake out from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Then, with a skewer, poke holes in the top surface of the cake and using a pastry brush liberally brush with more rum (or brandy, Grand Marnier, sherry, rum or whiskey).
- Once cool, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and place in a cake tin or a plastic bag.
Store in a cool dry place.
If you live in a warm climate, it is best to store the cake in the refrigerator.
- Brush the cake periodically -- once or twice a week for about two to three weeks -- with rum or choice of alcohol.
Note: A springform pan is a baking pan for cake that has two parts -- a base and an attachable ring that is also the side of the pan. Once the ring is attached to the base, it looks like a regular cake pan. If you don't have a springform cake pan use a regular 8-inch cake pan, buttered and lined with parchment paper.
Be sure to check the expiry date of the baking powder. Baking powder has a shelf life of maybe six months to not more than a year.
Chef Gauri Varma is the owner and founder at G's Patisserie, New Delhi.