We decorated our small Christmas tree with dazzling decorative. Our symbols for hope, peace and tranquility. In this world of many conflicts, if we can find a little peace within ourselves then perhaps half of the problems would vanish. And peace and joy is the message festive season brings to us all. When we light up candles in a dark cornered room, little we realize that we have lighted candles of hope.
A quite corner of the living room, which otherwise goes unnoticed , but the moment you keep a Christmas tree all decorated and lighted , that corner of the room becomes special. That quite corner is perhaps the most peaceful part of proximity; one can create for himself or herself to connect with ones true inner self.
The laughter of a loved one running around that tree. And the tender hands trying to reach out to the top of tree for implanting symbol of peace and tranquility either an angel or a star. Then putting up twinkling lights all around the tree and finally dusting it off with artificial snow flakes. Whatever you can think off, it brings a sense of peace within you. Isn’t?
Sit back, hold your breathe and try to soak this ray of hope, love and laughter that surrounds you and your loved ones. Feel blessed for the little things that happen and will happen to you. Life will go on like it used to be, but you wont find these golden moments again perhaps. Live life with full vigor and zest. After all it’s that special time of the year again.
Our DD made her own magic wand this holiday. She has been experimenting with it quite often and says it works!!
Well we have to believe for the little amazing things she says. And “believing” is what we need these days. Don’t we?
She asked me two riddles the other day, so I am going to ask all to you
- What is Santa’s real name?
- And what are the names of Santa’s reindeers?
Well, I have no answer to that, I know I can easily google search but just for festive season spirit, I am asking it here. Do let me know if you know the answers to riddles.
Now to the recipe part
Well it’s a sort of a tradition to make rich fruit cake for the Christmas eve .With festive season there is sudden upsurge in having sweet tooth all across the globe. Well, we are no exception either. Over a period of time we have started liking this Christmas fruit cake. This fruit cake recipe is non-alcoholic and kid friendly.
Generally Christmas fruit cake is made at least 4-5 days prior of Christmas Eve so that the taste and flavor gets fully matured in a densely packed very sweet cake. We tend to like less dried fruit and less sweet in our cakes, so I end up using less both.
I have always followed basic guidelines from this cake recipe and adjusted the amount of sweetness and use of dried fruits according to our taste buds. There are other recipes out there like this , this and this , which do give concise instructions on Christmas fruit cake but all depend heavily on alcohols or some other ingredients which are not that much available back home.
I have made few changes to make the recipe alcohol free and kid friendly. This has results which are more superior to the Christmas fruit cake you get easily at your local cake shops. Believe me, if you try once in your home kitchen, you wont go back again to your local cake shop to get the Christmas cake.
Christmas Fruit Cake
- 300 g of dried mixed fruit assortments (sultanas, currants, dried apricots, dried pineapple, raisins and cherries)
- 15-20 walnuts
- 15 -20 almonds
- ½ cup of California raisins
- 15-20 shelled pistachios
- 1 cup of mango peach juice/ or orange juice
- 3-4 tbs of cherry jam/or marmalade / or apricot jam
- 125 g / 1 cup of plain flour
- 125 g /1 cup of self raising flour
- 125 g/ ½ cup of butter
- 140 g/ ½ cup of caster sugar /or 140 g of brown sugar
- 3 free range eggs
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp of nutmeg powder
- 1 tsp of mixed spice powder
- Crush walnuts, almonds and pistachios while working with rolling pin over your chopping board. If possible slightly toast them on med flame for 6-7 mints in a wok or kadhai.
- Now soak the dried fruit assortment mixture+crushed walnuts, almonds and pistachios with juice and jam. I happen to have Tropicana- mango peach and papaya juice, so used that. You can use plain orange juice as well. Again, apricot jam or marmalade is good, but I didn’t have any so end up using cherry jam. Since jam and juice already has sugar, I would suggest using less sugar in making the cake. And also if you are planning to make marzipan topping in case, then stick to using less sugar. As marzipan is well quite sweet and rich.
- This dried fruit and juice mixture needs proper soaking, I have soaked them overnight , but would love to see if it possible to soak this for 3-4 days. Some, Ok, most of the people love to drench this with brandy/rum/sherry. I happen to think otherwise so didn’t add none. But if you do like strong alcoholic flavors in fruit cake then definitely go ahead.
- The other day, take your time out for making this cake. In a separate bowl, beat in egg one by one. It would be better if eggs can be taken out earlier or at room temperature.
- Now cream butter and sugar very well. Now, add the egg mixture gently all mixing all through with sugar and butter.
- Now sieve the flour, mix self raising and plain flour very well. You can use only plain flour as well skipping self raising flour part.
- Now, add in baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice powder. Add raisins now if you wish to add little bit more.
- Add the soaked dried fruits to the flour mixture.
- Now start mixing the flour mixture and the sugar+butter+egg mixture.DONOT beat the mixture, we need the air so, gently fold it and mix.
- Preheat oven at 150 deg C. Prepare cake tins. I have two small sandwich tins, so end up using both, resulting in two cakes. However, if you have square cake pans or round Bundt pan, use them to make the cake. TIP- Line the cake pans with greaseproof paper. This will help in even cooking of cake. Cakes otherwise tend to cook quickly around the sides as compared to centre of the cake.
- Place the cake pans in middle of the rack. Bake them for about 30 mints.
- Now transfer them in lower rack and switch the oven temperature to 140 deg C.
- Bake the cake for 1 and half hrs at 140 deg C.
- Now take them out and cover with aluminum foil and bake them again for 30 mints at 140 deg C.
- Switch off the oven and let it sit there for about 1 hr covered with aluminium foil.
- Take out and again drench them in juice. If you are using alcohol then drench in alcohol. The cake tends to mature well till Christmas day. You just need to brush with juice or alcohol everyday once .Alcohol drenching also increases shell life, however with juice I am not sure. So, after keeping it covered all through the night, open the foil other day and enjoy. And if you don’t have that much of patience then well I don’t need to tell you what you have to do. Right!!
- If you wish you can make marzipan topping and decorate it. We just thought it would be nice to avoid even more cream and dried fruits so; a plain slice was just perfect for us.
- Christmas fruit cake with all that dried fruits is well, very heavy so keep in mind that you are dealing here with a high calorie desert, so eat well and don’t over do it. But all said and done, once a year it’s quite OK to indulge yourself. After all festivity and good food are co-related.
- You can add brown sugar in place of caster sugar; even muscavado sugar works very well.Muscavado sugar also has long shell life.You can make your own caster sugar by grinding the granulated sugar you have in home in a heavy duty mixer/grinder.
- This Christmas cake is non-alcoholic and kid friendly. You can very well adjust alcohol content and make it even more flavorful. But trust me on that, if you have made this cake once in your home kitchen, you won’t intend to buy the Fruits cake available in cake shops. And plus point is you know what goes inside this cake.
- While serving, add a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or just drizzle double cream all over it .Just perfect for a warm evening on Christmas eve with your loved ones.
Updated to answer the riddles
1) What is the real name of Santa Claus ?
Ans- St.Nicholas and one interesting name is also Kris Kringle.Interestingly a famous movie was made on believing about his existence and which also referred to his name as "Kris Kringle." Movie was "Miracle on 34th Street" which got many academy awards.
2) What are the names of Santa's reindeers?
Ans- Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,Vixen,Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolf.Among all of them Rudolf is the most famous I guess derived from a famous story of "Rudolf the red nose reindeer.All other names are from a famous poem " Twas The Night Before Christmas " a poem written by Clement Clark Moore.
Wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and happy cooking friends.