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Holisticonline.com Recipes Infocenter

Christmas Fruit Cake - Mother's Recipe

by Iype Mathew

This is my Mother's recipe for Christmas cake and though I may be biased, it is the best in the world! She's been making it for years and I have never come across anyone who did not love it at first bite.

This recipe makes either 4 loaf cakes (roughly 8" X 5") or 2 square cakes (approx (9" squares) and a loaf.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/2 kg all purpose flour
* 1/2 kg butter (salted or unsalted will do)
* 1/2 kg sugar
* 1/2 kg candied peel (my mother usually soaks these in rum from the year before but that is optional)
* 10 eggs
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 2 tsps vanilla essence
* 2 tsps almond essence
* 3 tbsps orange marmalade
* 1/2 cup dark rum
* 15 cloves
* 4" cinnamon stick
* 15 green cardamom - peeled and seeds removed
* 2 small/ 1 large nutmeg

PREPARATION:

* Prepare the spice powder by grinding the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom seeds and cinnamon with 1 tsp of sugar in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Keep aside in a small bowl for later.
* Spread the candied peel on a clean counter surface or large plate and sprinkle a tbsp or two of flour over it. Toss to coat well. This prevents the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking!
* Mix the remaining flour, previously prepared spice powder and baking powder together well.
* Prepare your cake tins by lining them with good baking paper. Double line the bottom. Also cut a piece to place on top of the batter while cooking. This should be roughly 2" smaller in measurements on all sides, than the tin's dimensions. This piece of baking paper prevents the cake from rising disproportionately and cracking at the top while baking!
* Mix 1 cup of sugar in a pan with 2-3 tbsps of water and put on the fire. Cook on medium flame till all the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts to turn dark brown and begins to smoke. Turn off the heat. Carefully add 1/4 cup water and put the syrup back on the fire (medium flame) back on fire and cook till the earlier syrup and added water is nicely blended and smooth.
* While you are preparing the dark sugar syrup, use a hand blender/ mixer to blend the remaining sugar and butter till smooth, soft and fluffy.
* Now add 2 eggs at a time and continue to whisk with the hand blender till all eggs are used up and the mixture is light and fluffy.
* Add the vanilla essence, almond essence. Whisk some more.
* Add the orange marmalade and a little of the dark sugar syrup at a time and keep whisking. Use up all the dark sugar syrup and blend till batter is smooth.
* Use a cooking spoon and add a spoonful of flour at a time to the above batter while continuing to whisk. Each time you add flour, whisk till that lot is fully blended and the batter is smooth before adding more. Continue till all the flour is used up this way.
* Add the dark rum now and whisk till fully blended in the batter.
* Preheat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas Mark 4.
* Now add the floured, candied peel to the cake batter, a little at a time and fold in very gently.
* Spoon the cake batter into the prepared, lined tins till half full. Place the small piece of baking paper on top.
* Reduce the oven heat to 250 F/ 130 C/ Gas Mark 1/2 and put the cakes in to bake.
* Bake till "you start to smell a cooked aroma", then poke the cake in the center with a thin bamboo skewer to check if it is done. If the skewer comes out clean the cake is done. If not, keep cooking and check every 5 minutes to see if done.
* When cooked, allow the cake to cool completely before cutting or icing. When cool, remove from the cake tin and slice or do icing of your choice. My Mother usually does a layer of almond icing!
* Serve and enjoy!

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