Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas fruit cake (large size)

In Tamilnadu and Kerala (almost entire South India) Christmas is like everybody's festival.  During Christmas, the bakeries there would get more busy preparing this Christmas plum cake (fruit cake) for two months. It is a tradition there to buy and gift these cakes to one another during Christmas and New year.
I have been following only one  'Christmas fruit cake recipe' (for 8x8 pan)  for the past 7 years, as this seems much reliable for me. This recipe does not contain alcohol, but still tastes exactly like the store bought Christmas fruit cake.  At first I learned this from Cham's fruit cake recipe and I started baking it every year and felt much happy that I learned it. Thank you Cham, every year I will be thanking you while joyfully baking this cake :) Eventually my fruit cake baking tradition started growing more and more that nowadays instead of baking in small portions (1 kg pan ), I have to bake in 9 x 13 inch pans (2 kg). So I thought this is the best time I repost my earlier plum cake recipe for a large scale recipe. I am sure this is the handy recipe for a festival time.
Christmas fruit cake (plum cake)

Follow each and every step and you will find the results amazing.  Happy cooking !
Sift the AP flour, baking soda, baking powder twice or thrice together.

Mix 2 tbsp AP flour with dry fruits and chopped nuts and keep aside. We can do this earlier to save time.

Bring everything to room temperature, by leaving them in counter top overnight.

First item to mix is butter and sugar.

Coat the baking tray with 1tbsp butter and coat with 2 tbsp AP flour. Preheat the oven to 350 F for 10 minutes before starting to bake.

Cream butter and sugar together.  (1 minute in speed 2)

Add vanilla essence, orange peel powder, All spice powder, egg, salt, soaked fruit mixture with juie and beat until frothy. (30 seconds in speed 2)

add dry ingredients and mix well (at speed 6 for 1 minute).

Pour in prepared cake tin and bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 40 - 50 min.

Let the cake cool inside tray for 20 minutes

Transfer it to wire racks and cool completely.

Cut the cake in desired portions. Wrap in wax paper and save in air tight containers.

Merry Christmas !

The plum cake (fruit cake) tastes better 1 or 2 days after baking.


I.For caramelizing
sugar-1/2 cup
water - 2tbsp + 1 cup
Add sugar and 2 tbsp water keep in stove at low to medium heat. When the sugar starts to turn brown , stir slowly .The sugar will start to change color from light brown to dark. In between , keep in microwave the water for 2 min and warm it. When the sugar starts to turn brown , pour slowly the warm water. Be cautious, as it may splutter (wear a hand gloves always for this step).

Ingredients
dry ingredients:
All purpose flour (maida)- 2 1/2 cup
baking powder - 2 tsp
baking soda - 3/4 tsp
Nuts and fruits:
dried fruits-(dates, raisins, tooti frooti)- 2 cup
dried nuts-(almonds, cashews and walnuts) - 1 cup
grape juice - 1/4 cup + orange juice- 1 cup + apple juice - 1/4 cup
(or) orange juice - 1 1/2 cup
wet ingredients: (others)
sugar -  1 1/2 cup
butter- 2 sticks (16 tbsp butter = 1 cup oil)
(use butter for perfect flavor)
egg - 6
salt -  1 tsp
vanilla extract -2 tsp
To powder:
lemon and orange peels - 2 tbsp
(I use peels of a large naval orange)
All spice powder (see below for recipe)- 2 tsp

Preparation:
Take half of the amount of dry fruits. (reserve the rest  for direct baking later). Except raisin chop others.

Soak 1 cup of dry fruits in grape + apple + orange juice for a few hours.
( I puree apple , grapes at home and use store bought orange juice).
Without any other juices,  orange juice will also do the same job.
I soaked it in orange juice for 3 days inside fridge.
Bring the butter, egg and everything to room temperature by keeping them out of fridge for few hours -  overnight.
Dry roast the almond, cashew and other nuts. Then chop them into small pieces.

Before baking:
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch cake pan ( 1/4 sheet cake pan) generously with butter.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp all purpose flour and spread  it all over by shaking.

Method:
Wet ingredients: 
 In a blender (Indian mixie) add orange peel and crush it. To it add butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence, salt and beat again till fluffy.
Pour this to a large mixing bowl along with caramelized sugar.
Dry ingredients:
Sift together all purpose flour, baking soda , baking powder. I sift this over a large newspaper and will sift twice to ensure a fluffy cake. Sifting is  a MUST.
Add this dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well with a large spoon. (or electric mixer).
Add the soaked fruits along with juice. it was soaking.
Take 2 tbsp of AP flour and mix it with the broken nuts and remaining unsoaked dry fruits.
Pour the cake batter to the cake pan .
Now spread the flour coated nuts and nuts over the cake batter . Shake gently and let the nuts sink a little. Don't stir them.
Bake in middle of the rack for 40 to 50 minutes in 350 deg F. If not cooked increase 10 min each time. The cake will be done in 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.

Take out and cool for at least 10 - 20  minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
Cool the cake completely over cooling rack for 4 - 5 hours and slice as per need.
Store in airtight containers.
The cake tastes more delicious after 1 day - 3 days.


Note:
Makes one large 9 x 13 cake. or four 6 inch round cakes.
The above recipe gives 2 kg  ( approx 4.5 lb ) of fruit cake ( little more than that , depending upon the nuts and fruits we add).
Always use a good quality aluminum baking pan (eg Wilton cake pans) for evenly baking.
If using glass bakeware (eg Pyrex) , bake at 325 F . Don't exceed the recommended temperature.
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Using some kitchen appliances will make cake baking an easy job. Here are some of my tips for using various mixers for making fruit cake.

For kitchenaid mixer:
Use flat beater for the entire process.
Cream butter and sugar together for 1 minute in speed 2.
Add egg and all the wet ingredients and beat for 30 seconds at speed 2.
Then add dry ingredients and beat at speed 6 for 1 minute.
DO NOT over-beat the cake mixture.

For Indian mixie:
Beat the eggs together.
Then add all the wet ingredients.
Pour this to a mixing bowl.
Using a spatula or hand held electric mixer, blend together for 1 minute.

For Hand mixer (electric):
Cream sugar and butter together for 1 minute in low speed.
Then goes the wet ingredients for 1 minute in medium speed.
Add dry ingredients gradually and whisk at lowest speed till they get folded.
Then increase speed and mix for 1 minute.
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This is the all spice powder I use in my fruit cakes, pumpkin cake, ginger bread cookies etc. I think this flavor is fresh and better than the much expensive store bought varieties.

All spice powder:
cinnamon - 2 long rolls
cardamom - 1 tbsp seeds only
cloves - 1 tbsp
nutmeg - 1/4 of one
mace - 1
cumin - 1 tbsp
black pepper - 1 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1/2 cup

Dry roast everything except ginger powder. Finely powder them all together and mix with ginger powder. (While powdering , I add ginger powder). Keep in a zip lock pouch or air tight container and keep in freezer for an year.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

very useful recipe viki. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Anonymous : Thank you friend.