Merry Christmas 🙂
Salt Lake city – the place where I live haven’t had much snow this winter till yesterday which the people here says is kind of unnatural, and kids here had a doubt if the Santa would really come without the snow ?? as they hear stories of Santa, his helpers , snow and sledge from the time they know Christmas.
Yesterday after the Church Service and Christmas eve party late in the night, NA reminded me to place a cup of Milk and Cookies for Santa.Though all of us were tired and wanted to crash to the bed, I had to wait for NA to sleep to pack her gifts late in the night.I looked to the outside to see if Santa is somewhere there as after reading all Christmas stories for NA, even I like to believe that Santa is real.
And it was surprising to see Snow falling.
2 years back this was the day, my Dad( Achachen ) was diagnosed with Cancer, the most unforgettable Christmas gift my family ever received and he lived for just an other month more,
from then Christmas never gave me much happiness as it used to while growing up.
Still this feel of Joy & Peace during Christmas is miraculous, I feel that its contagious,
though this day is unforgettable in my life, I tend to forget those painful moments with the good spirit Christmas season spreads.
When I grew up, Christmas celebration would start when my Mom starts shopping for the Christmas cake and Port Wine that she makes to gift’em to our loved ones. The whole house is filled with that nice aroma of mixed spices and fruits while the cake is being made, we named it the smell of Christmas.
Not sure how this Alcohol – Fruit cake became a Christmas specialty in Kerala, similar to the fruit cake which the Westerners make during this time, again I guess may be the European – influence when they ruled our place.
Anyways am glad that I could make it here, which reminded me of Christmas @home with my family.
This recipe is my Mom’s recipe passed on to her from my Grand Mother,
(I made it with double the quantity given below.
With this measurements given below, can make 2 – 8 inch sized cake, or may make 3 – 6 inch sized cakes)
All Purpose Flour/ Maida – 1 and 1/2 cup
Baking Powder – 2 tsp
Butter – 1 and 1/2 cup (In Room Temperature)
White Sugar – 3/4 cup
Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup (May use White sugar only 1 and 1/2 cup, it changes the color of the cake though)
Egg – 6 No’s
Orange Juice and Orange Rind/ Skin grated – from 3 Oranges (Medium sized)
Rum / Brandy / Grape Wine – 1/4 cup (Optional)
Sour Cream or Hung Curd(Thick) – 1 Tbsp
Milk – 1/4 cup
Cocoa Powder – 2 Tsp
Mixed Fruit Jam – 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence – 2 Tsp
For Dry Fruits and Soaking
Mixed Fruits – 1 to 2 cups or little more than the flour amount.
(Nuts , Raisins, Chopped dates ,Cherries, Tutti Frutti )
Rum/Brandy or Wine – 2 Cups (Approx)
All Purpose Flour – 2 to 4 Tbsp
Cardamom – 2 to 4 No’s (Powdered or Crushed)
Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp (when Powdered)
Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp (When Powdered)
Cloves – 2 no’s (Powdered)
Cake Jeera/ Shahjeera – 1/2 tsp (I didn’t use)
Dry Ginger Powder – 1/4 tsp (Optional)
Orange Peels – (1 or 2 Tbsp chopped – Optional , I didn’t use)
For Color / Caramel
White Sugar – 1/2 cup
Water – 1 tbsp + 1/2 cup
* Chop dry fruits and soak them in Rum/ Brandy or Wine for at least a day. We get already soaked fruits in any grocery stores in US , still its good to soak it again in any alcohol or Wine to make it soggy and flavorful. (I had soaked fruits last year so used them , it stays for years)
* For caramelizing Sugar (For color) – Heat sugar in a thick bottom pan (keep heat in medium to low as it tends to brown fast) when it starts to melt, add 1tbsp water to it and wait to completely melt the same and turn color, tilt the pan in between to melt sugar evenly, when color is brown, pour 1/2 cup water to it and allow to boil, then switch off the heat and keep aside to cool to room temperature.
* On a flat surface, spread the soaked dry fruits and then sprinkle (2 to 4 tbsp )All purpose flour, use hands to mix the flour evenly , this helps to lighten the fruits and it then prevents the fruits to settle down at the bottom while baking. Keep this aside.
* Heat milk with cocoa Powder (if in microwave 60 seconds) or until lightly heated , stir and combine the cocoa powder to the milk , allow to cool.
Prepare the Batter
* Grease pan’s with butter or Non stick spray. Preheat Oven to 350 Degree F.
Sift Flour and Baking Powder , Keep aside.
* Start by beating Butter (Room Temperature) with sugar (White and Brown) till well combined. Add in egg one at a time and beat till the mixture looks light and fluffy.
* Add in Vanilla essence and Orange Juice and Orange Rind.
* Stir in the milk – Cocoa mixture , continue beating , add then curd or Sour Cream and the caramelized sugar. Add then / Brandy or Wine to it and beet again to combine.
* Mix then the crushed or powdered spices , Jam and the prepared dry fruits to it. Slowly add in the sifted flour Mixture , beating the same in low speed or else use a spoon to combine.
* Pour the batter to the greased pan, Bake these in 350 degree preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes (or until a tester comes out clean)
* Keep the same to cool , allow the flavors to set for a few days ( 3 to 5 days) before you cut the same,initially it will be little more moist than the usual cake , when it sits it matures to become nice rich fruit flavors.
: Mom says some people pour little champagne or wine over the cake to get soaked while its warm, but it makes it soggy and moist again hence I didn’t use any, if you like it extra moist and flavorful do pour little wine or Champagne over the cake , let sit for at least a day before you cut’em.
: Always make these 2 to 3 days at least in advance, only then does the flavor matures to become that authentic Kerala Plum cake.
May Peace be your gift at Christmas this year.