This being our first new year with Abhi (our baby) , I decided to go all the way out and make a traditional fruit cake. As a general rule, I'm not a regular baker. Somehow the concept of rigid measurements, high calorie ingredients, and my 'sumo wrestler' aka post-pregnancy figure (not that it was better afore) has kept me away from traditional cakes and cookies. I browsed high and low for a easy do-able fruit cake recipe, found a zillion recipes, then made last minute calls to my mom for her kinda cake measurements, gathered chance advice from my aunt who called 2 days ahead to wish us, and finally added my own permutations to them all
Preparations were punctuated by baby needs, oven cleaning (a year since i opened it last) etc. Finally by 2 a.m. new year's morning my cake was ready to be wrapped up in foil soaking in a final slather of whisky till 11 a.m. this morning (9 hours of drunken merriness, huh!). Cake making and pooja room cleaning had me up till 3 a.m. and so decided to sleep in this morning. Was woken up at 9.30 a.m. by my husband who had made a poori (indian fried bread), mixed veggie gravy, and a fruit salad breakfast for me :-). He also took over Abhi's early morning feeding, diaper changing, and patting back to sleep routine
My special breakfast
Ok, now to the cake. True to the footloose chef in me, my cake does not conform to classic ways and procedures...
Chopped dry fruits and nuts - 3 cups (I used dates, apricots, golden raisins, jumbo raisins, walnuts, cashewnuts, prunes)
Orange peel - 1 medium sized orange's rind with the white pith scraped out (cut into small pieces)
Rum (use any spirit you have at hand) - 2 cups
Put everything together in a skillet and toss till warm, and an aroma emanates. Close lid and let stand overnight. In the morning, I placed this in the fridge and let stand for another 10 hrs or so. Bring to room temperature before using in the cake.
Self raising flour - 2 cups
Whole wheat flour -1 cup
Almond meal - 1 cup (1/2 cup of almonds powdered in a coffee grinder or mixie jar)
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Packed soft, dark brown sugar - 1 cup
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (about 100gms)
Olive oil - 3/4 cup
Egg whites - 5
Powdered mix spices (cardamoms,nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon) - 1 teaspoon
Vanilla essence - 1/2 teaspoon
Warm water - 1 cup
Whisky - 1/2 cup (for the final drizzle)
Sift the flours and baking powder together for even mixing. Toss in the almond meal into the fruit mixture and mix well. Add the flour bit by bit and mix well.
Beat the sugar, butter, and oil together till frothy ( i used an electric hand blender). Add the egg whites and whisk again till soft (the more the merrier). Add the spice powder and vanilla essence. Pour in a cup of warm water. Add the flour and fruit mixture and blend in taking care that no lumps are formed (add in a little by little).
Pour into a cake tin double lined (2 layers) with baking parchment. Preheat the oven at 250° for 15 minutes. Place the cake tin inside and bake at 150° for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Remove from oven and gently ease in a skewer to check if done. Make tiny skewer holes throughout the body of the cake and drizzle in whisky (or any other spirit). Wrap with aluminium foil and allow to mature for about 10 hours.
PS: Don't worry if the cake that comes out of the oven seems very dry (it will be). That liberal splashing in of whisky and allowing the cake to mellow will make it soft.
PS: When I refer to 'cup' I mean any standard tea cup that holds about 200 ml. The said measurements yeilded 2 medium sized cakes ( a loaf tin and a round tin).
My cake is off to participate in the 'Cakes n Cookies' event at Sara's Corner and Contribute your recipes event- Cakes & Cookies on at Indian Vegetarian Kitchen