One word that truly describes Christmas to me is the little word “joy”.
Joy of the first snow in the hills, joy of playing Santa to our kids, joy of decorating Christmas tree and reliving childhood, joy of surprising loved ones with gifts, joy of togetherness and the joy of sharing………..
One more joy that I really look forward to every year around this time amidst all the hustle and bustle is the joy of deciding which cake to bake for Christmas and then the joy of baking it. Truly a rewarding experience.
This year I decide to bake a Fruit Cake. Loaded with fruit and nut bits with barely enough batter to cover them all, this cake is truly festive.
Adapted from Joy of baking and baked with small changes
This is how I made Fruit Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cups ground almonds
1 ½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts and cashews
¾ cup mixed peels and black currants
½ cup chopped dried figs
½ cup golden raisins
Juice and zest of an orange
Zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 almonds (blanched) to decorate the cake
Some brandy to brush the cake
Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan. Line the sides of the pan with a buttered parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
Whisk together all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add orange juice and brandy. Add orange zest, lemon zest, chopped nuts, peels and fruits.
Fold in flour mix to wet ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level with a spoon. Decorate with blanched almonds.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
Reduce the temperature to 150 degrees C and bake for another 35 minutes. Insert a skewer in the center to check for doneness.
Remove the cake from the oven and remove from the tin after 5 minutes. Remove the parchment paper lining and place on the rack to cool.
Brush the top of the cake with a little brandy. Wrap the cake in a foil and place the cake in box.
Brush the cake periodically with brandy until Christmas.
The original recipe calls for baking at 160 degrees C for 1 hour and then baking at 150 degrees for another 1 hour 30 minutes. In my case, I baked the cake at 160 degrees C for 1 hour followed by baking at 150 degrees C for 30 minutes.
Prepare the cake in advance so that the flavours develop fully by the time you enjoy it.