Soaked in rum,not really

Soaked in rum,not really

If you are like me, you forgot to soak the dry fruits ahead of time, which in turn delays the preparation of the cake, but fret not! There are a...

The Christmas countdown has begun in many homes, and the traditional rum-soaked cake already made at least two weeks in advance. But what if you’re late for this year’s ritual? A slight variation can do the trick

If you are like me, you forgot to soak the dry fruits ahead of time, which in turn delays the preparation of the cake, but fret not! There are a variety of alternatives – whether to prepare the famous plum cake, or a fruitcake without alcohol, or if you catch yourself right in time (at least a week prior to Christmas if not more), then you can still achieve a scrumptious result by soaking the dry fruits in grape wine.

The traditional rum cake is typically made some months to weeks in advance, with two to one week being minimum required time. The process involves soaking the dry fruits such as raisins, dates and tutti frutti in rum. After soaking for a few weeks, they are mixed in the cake batter and baked. The cake batter includes a plain cake mix plus caramel syrup to attain the desired rich, dark colour and taste, as well as orange juice and sometimes orange rind. After baking, the cake is then wrapped in two layers of butter paper for a month or 2 weeks, during which time, it is brushed with rum every week so that it keeps moist and adds a distinct flavour.

The most important thing about Christmas cakes is to achieve those earthy flavours – the zesty, spicy, and slightly bitter with enough sweetness, dancing on the palette and whose amazing smell wafts across the home while baking.

Although the rum cake can still be prepared no matter how late, and you could always save the cake to cut a few days after the 25th! Here is another alternative recipe, made in the Kerala style.

Kerala Fruit Cake

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Recipe Category: Cakes
Recipe Cuisine: Kerala
All purpose flour(Maida) 250 grams
Powdered sugar 250 grams
Margarine 250 grams
Egg white 4
Egg yolk 5
Dry fruits 250 grams
(mix of dates, raisins,
Almonds and cashew nuts 50 grams
Tutti frutti 1 tbsp
Sugar 100 grams
(to make 1 cup caramelised syrup)
Grape wine 1/4 cup
Orange juice 1/4 cup
Baking powder 1 tsp
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
Spice powder 1 tsp
(mixture of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom)
Vanilla essence 1 and 1/2 tsp
Caramel Syrup
Place sugar in the saucepan. Turn the flames to high and place the pan on the stove. Let it boil. When the sugar melts and becomes brown in colour, add half cup of water carefully. Stir it well and set aside. This is the caramel syrup.
Spice powder
Powder a little cinnamon, few cloves and cardamom together finely.
Dry fruits
Soak finely chopped dates and raisins, sultanas in grape wine for 2 weeks to one whole day . Coat them with flour.
Then add finely chopped almonds, cashew nut, tutti frutti to it. Mix everything and set aside. (The coating with flour ensures that they will not settle at the bottom of the cake.)
Sieve maida with baking powder, baking soda and spice mix thrice (3 times). Keep it aside.
Keep everything ready before starting to prepare the fruit cake, to make things easy. Now we have caramel syrup, dry fruits and nuts mixture, orange juice and vanilla essence ready.
Beat egg whites until frothy and keep it ready.
1. Beat margarine well with an electric blender. (If you cannot get margarine, use half butter and half dalda)
2. Add powdered sugar, little by little and beat well.
3. Then add egg yolk and beat well.
4. Next add half the quantity of the coated dry fruits and mix gently with a ladle.
5. Now fold in a little flour.
6. Next, add a little caramel syrup and mix gently with a ladle.
7. Then mix in a little portion of egg white.
8. Finally, add orange juice and mix gently.
9. Now again, start folding dry fruits followed by a little maida, little caramel syrup, followed by egg white. Repeat the above procedure in the same order with the remaining fruits, flour, caramel syrup and egg white. Gently mix.
10. Now add vanilla essence. Mix gently.
The cake mixture is ready.
Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Grease the baking tray or line it with a butter paper. Pour the cake mixture into the tray. Avoid pouring too much in the center.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 180 degrees C. Timings might change depending on the oven type.
Insert a toothpick in the middle to check if the cake is done. If it comes out clean, then it is done, otherwise bake it for some more time.
Storage and shelf life - Store it in an air tight container. This cake stays well at room temperature for 2 weeks and if refrigerated for more than a month.
By: Elita Enoch
Recipe courtesy:
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