Every festivity brings a wonderful feeling of merriment, joy and happiness and above all a feeling of togetherness which is beyond any religious faith and belief. Christmas is no exception. Everything feels so special during this time. The little one writing a list for Santa without showing it to me and I'm trying my best to sneak around to know what's in the list. Decorating the Christmas tree, buying new decorations are so much fun.
Sometimes the little one makes a mess while decorating the Christmas tree but the festive mood all around makes you ignore these and enjoy her actions, how she places the decorations on the tree carefully. And it feels good to capture those little fingers without making her conscious. You feel like taking a step back, sip a cup of coffee and enjoy the sun-soaked winter afternoon and relive your childhood though her. I enjoy how she hums Christmas songs as she works on the tree, her favorite is "I wanna hippopotamus for Christmas".
Baking cakes and cookies is an integral part of Christmas. For this Christmas special cake I start preparing early with soaking the dry fruits in alcohol. I try to do it at least a month before Christmas. To soak the dry fruits, I take different kinds of dry fruits like dried cranberry, glazed cherries, dried berries, raisins, dried pineapple etc. Practically you can add any dried fruit of your choice. Take the dry fruits in a glass jar with tight fitted lid and fill the jar with rum or brandy or any other alcohol of your choice. Close the jar and shake the jar to mix everything properly. Store the jar in refrigerator. Everyday give a good shake to the jar, and keep adding alcohol in between if you find the fruits have soaked the alcohol and level of liquid is low.
The Christmas fruit cake I made this year has no nuts. Most of the recipes call for ground almond and other nuts for making a Christmas fruit cake, but I avoided any kind of nuts in this cake.
Things needed to make Christmas fruit cake:
- Unsalted butter: 220 gm (2 cups)
- Granulated sugar: 1/2 cup
- Brown sugar: 1 cup
- Eggs: 4
- Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
- Cake spice: 1 tsp
- Baking powder: 1 tsp
- Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Flour: 2 cups
- Rum soaked dry fruits: 2 cups
- Orange juice: 1/4 cup
- Orange zest of an orange
Note: *To make the rum soaked dry fruits: Take dry fruits of your choice (I used dried cranberry, glazed cherries, dried berries, raisins, prunes, dried pineapple, tutti frutti etc) in a glass jar and cover the dry fruits with rum or brandy or any alcohol of your choice, mix well. Soak at least 24 hrs before making the cake.
**If you are using salted butter do not add extra salt.
Steps of making Christmas fruit cake:1. Grease a 10 inch cake tin, and double line the cake tin.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C or 300 F.
3. Sieve flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and keep aside.
4. In a large deep bowl take the butter and beat the butter for 1 min with an electric hand mixer. Add sugar and cream butter and sugar. Scrape the sides with a spatula in between.
5. Add one egg at a time and keep mixing with the electric hand mixer.
6. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract and cake spice mix. Mix well.
7. Add one third of the flour mix and gently fold to mix it. Add half of the orange juice and mix. Add other one third of the flour and mix. Add rest of the orange juice and mix. Add rest of the flour and fold gently.
8. Take the dry fruits and tutti frutti in a bowl and mix with little flour, so the dry fruits do not stick to each other and also do not sink at the bottom while baking the cake.
9. Add the dry fruits, mix gently.
11. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, and bake in the pre-heated oven at 160 C for 1 hr. Insert a toothpick at the center to check whether the cake is done or not. Let the cake cool down in the pan on a wire rack. Slice when at room temperature, enjoy with friends and family.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
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