Forgive me for writing this blog now, but well I can only write about baking a Christmas cake when I actually bake one!
Who doesn’t like cakes, cookies, brownies, homemade breads and a variety of baked deliciousness that comes in both sweet and savoury. Ever since I started cooking, which is about 5-6 years ago, I had always been in awe of people who could bake, especially the super yum traditional Christmas cake. The reason was simple enough- Baking is a science, you need to be thorough and precise in it, one wrong measure and the whole dish goes for a toss. This is unlike cooking where it’s a lot about your instinct and gut feeling. So I could never garner the confidence to bake even though my friends encouraged me and showed faith in my skill set.
I finally paid heed to all the advice floating around me and for my birthday in December’17 decided to gift myself an OTG so that I would officially start baking. To top it some of my friends gifted me some other baking equipment for my birthday, so that I could no more blame the lack of equipment as the reason for not baking! Since the traditional Christmas cake has always intrigued me with its flavours, I decided to bake it as soon as possible.
So I grabbed a mason jar, poured some 100ml of each- dark rum and kaluha, and put loads of dried rasins, cranberries, walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts in it along with the juice of an orange and finely chopped orange peel. The biggest trick was to let it soak in this heavenly concoction and build flavor for alteast a month. I was kind of glad because I thought that I would have atleast baked a couple of times before I messed up with it.
So while the nuts were soaking away, I went through a couple of recipes that would give me an overview of the ratio of ingredients in a cake and baked a few basic recipes, thankfully all of them were successful. I realized that the basic ratio for every cake is the same; flour, sugar, unsalted butter all one cup each with 1 egg and a pinch of salt, after that everything we add is to build flavor.
So here goes the recipe for my super yum traditional cake (with this quantity I was able to bake two cakes)-
200gm unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (I used brown sugar for greater flavor)
1 tbsp vanilla essence
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
½ tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
100gms mixed nuts mixed with 1tbsp of dry flour
Soaked berries and dry fruits
1. Whip the butter and the sugar together one that is done add the eggs, vanilla essence and whip again. (I used the whipping mode in the standard mixer and it turned out just fine.)
2. Mix all the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom powder, and gradually fold it in the whipped mixture.
3. Add the soaked berries and nuts along with the liquid. The batter should not be very runny or dry.
4. At the end add the flour dusted dry fruits, dusting dry fruits is important since it ensures that dry fruits do not sink to the bottom buy are evenly distributed.
5. Pour the mixture in a buttered baking tin and bake for 90 minutes at 1800 C in a pre heated oven.
Enjoy the heavenly Christmassy aroma in your house while the cake bakes. Ensure the cake passes the skewer test.
Let it rest on cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar and taste this heavenly cake.