The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.”  - W.C. Jones

Every year Christmas brings with it loads of childhood memories. Decorating Christmas tree with stars and bells all made at home, sticking cotton balls resembling wisps of snow…hanging sweets and balloons on the fragile branches of the tree.  Christmas also meant presents from Santa. We sometimes wondered how Santa knew exactly what we wanted and gifted only the things we needed sometimes crayons or a set of handkerchief or a set of pencils till we discovered that our dad was our Santa. Christmas also meant cakes. Since our small town had no bakeries, dad baked used to bake one at home. Christmas meant joy, mirth, warmth of home and love of dear ones….

Now playing Santa to my kids, giving them presents, and also to my ageing parents gifting them things they need to face harsh winters I feel the same warmth, love, joy of  caring and sharing which is the true spirit of Christmas.
In this post I share with you the recipe of Christmas cake passed on to me by my teacher – Alma Franks.

Fruits and Nuts
½   cup golden raisins and black currants
1/3 cup chopped figs
½ cup mixed chopped nuts (pecan nuts, walnuts and cashew nuts)
Soak the fruits and nuts in dark rum for at least 24 hours. Soak in a wide mouthed jar and shake the jar occasionally.
Cake batter
1 ½ cups All purpose flour
1 ½ sticks butter (about 150 Gms)
1 ½ cups sugar powdered
3 eggs
2 tablespoons rum
Caramel from ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mixed spice powder (¼ teaspoon each of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom)

Prepare caramel. Take ½ cup sugar in a thick bottom wok and keep it on low flame. The sugar will start melting. Swirl the wok. When the sugar turns golden and starts bubbling, turn off the gas. Add ½ cup of water and stir till caramel dissolves. Keep aside.  Drain the fruits and nuts soaked in rum and toss in a tablespoon of flour. Beat the white of the eggs till stiff. Cream together butter and sugar; add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add spice powder, rum and caramel. Mix well. Sieve together all purpose flour and baking powder. Add flour in parts mixing well each time. Once the flour is evenly mixed, add egg whites to the batter mixing well. In the end add rum soaked fruits and nuts. Fold gently. Grease and line an 8 inch round cake tin. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 50 to 60 minutes till the cake turns golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and remove from the cake tin after 15 minutes. Invert on the rack to cool. Keep the cake wrapped in foil for 4 to 5 days for the flavours to seep in.

Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do to yourself.” – Norman W Brooks
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