They are very few whom I know give 100% in whatever they do…Mallika of ‘Veg Bowl‘ is one of them. I am glad to say, that I met her at Blogger Food Bloggers Meet in Bangalore years back. Though we never keep in touch on regular basis…she was kind to say ‘Yes’ when I asked her if she could do a guest post for my event ‘Christmas and New Year Bakes’. What is a better way to celebrate Christmas…’bake a cake’…right…??? Then do check out this Christmas Fruit Cake, baked by Mallika. This is one gorgeous cake of the season. Do bake it now…Thank you Mallika for being my guest and sharing this beautiful recipe…
Thank you for inviting me over to your virtual Christmas party this year. I am excited to be part of this celebration. Firstly, let me begin with wishing all in advance a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2017. Hope the year ahead brings along a lot of good luck, health and happiness to all.
Christmas holds a special place in my heart, having spent most of my growing up years in Mangalore and studying in a traditional Roman Catholic school. In a city fairly populous with Christian community, its influences are resiliently seen during Christmas season with Churches heavily decked in illuminations, streets lit in a canopy of serial lights and bakeries in every nook and corner smelling fragrant of Kuswar, Rose cookies and Plum cakes. If you had neighbors like we did, then you are lucky to get glimpse of young girls trot by carol singing along with Mr. Santa, lading bag full of goodies. Not to forget the tray full of Christmas food fare we received from them on the eve of Christmas.
Since over a decade, I’ve spent every Christmas in Mangalore. It wasn’t deliberate, but you can imagine how beautiful my memories of Christmastime in Mangalore must have been, that regardless of how far away I was from home, I came back to Mangalore to soak into its spirit and the year-end celebrations. It was with this reverence that I began putting up a Christmas tree in my own home every season since I got married, so I could bring that cheerfulness and positivity of the festival into our lives and home. And, of course, there was yet another tradition I began – a tradition of baking Christmas cakes at home.
Preferably, I like to soak all the dried fruits and nuts in a rum infusion for months, let it seep into fruits and mature into bold boozy flavors. It keeps the fruit cake long and makes it well for gifting our loved ones. However, with our daughter in an observant age where she loves playing, testing and tasting the ingredients, the batter and finished product, I have refrained from using alcohol in my fruit cake since the past 2 years. It will probably take a while that I can go back to baking boozy cakes, but for now we are well content as a family with this favorite version of fruitcake. In this recipe, This fruit cake is instant, can be made on a whim (subject to stocking good amount of dry fruit and nuts at hand), needs no pre-soaking, and comes to a close second to the fruits cakes we get in Mangalore. December is a time for reflection and celebration, followed by revived pursuit as we step into the new year. Come let’s bake this cake to celebrate the last leg of 2016 and welcome 2017 with arms wide open!
Christmas Fruit Cake
- ¼ cup candied pineapple
- ¼ cup candied cherries
- 2 tbsp. chopped candied orange peel
- 2 tbsp. chopped candied lemon peel
- 1 1/3 cup light raisins
- 2/3 cup dark raisins / sultanas
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup blanched almonds
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. all spice powder (powdered 1”cinnamon stick with 6 green cardamoms, 6 cloves and a pinch of nutmeg powder)
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 4 tbsp. nonalcoholic mulled fruit drink (else, substitute with orange juice)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup salted soft butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- Walnuts halves for garnish
- Lightly grease a 9” baking pan. Line the bottom and sides with a greased baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, combine pineapples, cherries, lemon and orange peels, light and dark raisins, cranberries, almonds, walnuts along with half a cup flour. Toss to mix and set aside.
- Sift the rest of flour with all spices, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk eggs till light. Beat in the vanilla extract and mulled fruit drink.
- Beat the butter and sugars at medium using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Introduce the egg mixture gradually.
- Next, pre-heat the oven at 360 deg F / 180 deg C.
- At a lower speed, gradually beat in the flour-spices mixture beating only until just combined.
- Add the fruit-nut mixture into the batter, mix with a wooden spatula to combine them well.
- Turn the batter into the greased baking tin and smoothen the surface to even out.
- Arrange walnut halves on the batter in a pattern, if desired.
- Bake for about 1 hour till a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Turn out and transfer on to a baking rack to cool completely.
- Glaze, if preferred. Slice and serve.
– I’ve used local spiced non-alcoholic mulled fruit drink, however, if a mulled fruit drink is not available, feel free to substitute with same amount of orange juice.
– Fruit cakes are meant to emanate flavor of spices. The recipe calls for ½ tsp. of all spice powder (which was freshly home ground) since my mulled fruit drink compensated for spices. However, incase you use orange juice, increase the spice content by another ½ tsp.
– If using alcohol is not a taboo, you can replace mulled fruit drink with mulled wine as well.
Thanks Lubna again for giving me an opportunity to guest post on your website. Attached are the photographs and I hope I have done justice to the recipe, write up and its pictures. 🙂 I am a huge fan of your blog and am glad to have contributed to it in a small way. 🙂