Sometimes on a perfectly bright sunny day, you are transported back to your childhood and remember that fragrance that used to be soothing and calming. That is exactly what happened with me. I got a whiff of the non-existent fruit cake my mum would bake every year for Christmas.
A few days ago, while I was busy meeting deadlines at work, I realised that it had been years (two decades to be precise) since my mum had baked her much sought after Christmas cake. I suddenly craved for it. You know the “I want to eat it right now” kind of moment happened!
Baking the Christmas cake was one of the most awaited events in my house. Getting the cake ready. Preparations started at least two months in advance with my mum carefully selecting the dry fruits that went into it. Of course, it would be soaked senseless after you dunked half a bottle of Old Monk in it! The fragrance in just one week would be a sweet smelling, heady one, and a mix of orange peels, cherries, dried fruits, nuts and more.
Craving for it, I called her to ask her for the recipe, a good one and a half months ago! A week and several calls later I had the recipe! She’d call back regularly for a week asking me if she mentioned a particular ingredient in our previous conversation!
Getting back to the cake, I was super excited when I had the entire recipe with me. I know that my boys had never tasted the cake till now, and their only introduction to Christmas was decorating a Christmas tree at home! And thus the preps for the cake began in full swing at my home.
My Mums Simple Christmas Cake Recipe
I am sure that there are various recipes of Christmas cake. This one is close to my heart because I grew up with the smell of this and various other cakes baking at home. After I had spoken to my mum and got the recipe, I decided that I would bake the cake and share the recipe with you all! Here it is, my mum’s variation of the Christmas cake.
Getting the batter ready
- 200 gms of unsalted butter
- 250 gms of sugar
- 3 tbs of caramelised sugar
- 2 heaped tsp of cocoa powder
- 5 heaped tsp of coffee powder
- 400 gms all-purpose flour
- 2 level tsp of baking powder
- 2 tbsps of honey
- 1/2 tsp of garam masala *
*for the garam masala grind 2 inch cinnamon, 4 cloves and 1 black cardamom to a smooth powder. Sieve it to add to the cake batter.
What you need to soak at least two months in advance
I chose a mix of orange peels, walnuts, cashewnuts, tutti-frutti, raisins, melon seeds (crushed coarsely), cherries, figs and some fresh dates. I chopped these into small pieces and soaked it in about 200 ml of Old Monk. The whole quantity of the chopped dry fruits was about 250 gms. Store this in a glass bowl and gently stir it once a week. If you feel the fruits have soaked in the rum, you can add more. The only hitch is that the smell of cake gets really strong if you add in too much rum.
Take out the soaked fruits and sprinkle some flour on it and mix gently. Coating it with flour ensures that the dry fruits do not settle at the bottom of the cake tin when it is getting baked.
Baking the cake
Ensure that all ingredients like butter, milk, eggs and honey are at room temperature when you start making the batter.
- Grind the sugar in a blender to make a fine powder.
- Transfer to a clean glass bowl and add the softened butter*.
- Mix till fluffy. I use a blender only for this stage.
- Gently break in the eggs one by one and mix in with the batter.
- Add the honey and caramalised sugar and mx well.
- Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, garam masala and the baking powder. Transfer this to another glass bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Add all the wet ingredients till step 5 in the well and mix the batter well.
- If you feel the batter is very thick, add some milk at this point to get the consistency you desire.
- Add in the dry fruits and fold in very gently.