Christmas is around the corner and my first Christmas cake is ready to be shared with friends!
Making Christmas cakes is a ritual to me. A custom I inherited from my grandmother, which I wish to cherish. She was an excellent cake maker. Her art of baking cakes was admirable. Without modern equipment she managed to bake the best Christmas cakes I ever tasted!
I remember my childhood, watching her baking Christmas cakes! Her preparation used to start weeks before actual baking. To start with, first she sun dried orange peels for flavouring the cake! She mixes the ingredients with her hand so rapidly in a small uruli to get the desired lightness!!
During the evening family prayer time, the atmosphere was filled up with the aroma of baked cakes and those she already stacked in her kitchen shelf to be shared with friends and family. All that takes me to sweet bygone days and my best of Christmas memories!
I’m making Christmas cakes ever since I’ve become a homemaker. But still I couldn’t master it! May be when years pass I would find techniques to improve my cake making skills up to my grandmother!
- All purpose flour/ maida – 2 cups
- Unsalted butter (softened) – 250 gm
- Powdered Sugar– 2 cup
- Sugar (to caramelize)– 1 cup
- Egg (at room temperature) – 5 nos
- Dried nuts and fruits (cashews, walnut, currants, sultanas, orange peel, glazed cherries) – 3 cups
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Orange – 1 no
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
- Spices mix – 2 tsp
To make caramel syrup
- Heat one cup of sugar in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat.
- Stir continuously, until the sugar dissolves and comes to a boil.
- Lower heat and cook till mixture become golden brown in colour.
- Remove from heat and allow cooling for a minute or two.
- Add ½ cup of water and return to heat.
- Continue stirring until mixture becomes liquid.
- Wash fruits in cold water to remove sugary syrup on the outside.
- Warm them a bit in the oven and grease with one tsp of butter.
- Toss them with 2 tbsp flour and shake off excess flour.
- This prevents nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of a cake during baking.
- Nutmeg – ¼ no
- Cloves – 5 nos
- Cardamom – 3 nos
- Cinnamon – 2” long piece
- Preheat oven at 180ºc.
- Take the zest of the orange and extract its juice and keep aside.
- Mix flour and baking powder and swift them through a sieve three times.
- In large mixing bowl combine butter and sugar till soft and fluffy with an electric mixer.
- Add eggs one by one to the mixture and beat till fluffy.
- Add caramel syrup, spice mix, essence, orange juice and zest and mix.
- Add the flour and whisk gently with out any lumps.
- Finally add the dried nuts and fruits and fold them gently.
- Line two 8inch round cake tin with butter paper.
- Pour the mixture into baking trays.
- Bake at 180ºc for 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 160ºc and bake for another 50 minutes.
- Insert a skewer at the middle and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Replace the cakes to a wire rack and allow cooling.
- Store in an airtight container.
- It tastes better after sitting for a week.