Home > Butterless Wheat Cakes, Cakes and more > Christmas Fruit Cake

Christmas Fruit Cake

Any place of worship – be it a temple, church, mosque or any other religious place – being worshipped for number of years, especially centuries has a special aura. Prayer, Meditation, Chanting, Devotion, Peace and many more things occupying the worship area –  make it a special place. I experience Peace and Tranquility in a temple – one of the reasons being the religious stories that I have been fed with, since childhood. When I grew up, I was pulled towards the ancient past of the 1000 to 1500 year old temples of Tamilnadu and the history and literature of the Tamils behind those walls and the stone inscriptions of the historic past on the walls of the temples. 

I experience the same unexplainable respect for the ancient past and people of the past when I enter a Church which depicts valuable stories of history. The architectural beauty of Cathedrals amazes me and I tend to travel to another world!

Though this post comes a couple of days after Christmas, I thought I could share a few photographs of some of the most beautiful and powerful religious monuments that we’ve visited in Europe. Capturing those magnificent architectural marvels in a camera everyone would agree, can never be satisfying.

In Germany…

 

pictures of koln cathedral

 

 

 

 

 

 

frankfurt dom or cathedral

 

In Switzerland…

 

bern cathedral

 

cathedral de loussanne

 

In France…

 

notre-dame, paris

 

st.denis bascilica, st.denis

 

In Scotland…

 

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

 

glasgow church

 

A few other christmas clicks that we relish…

 

christmas eve in brussels

 

 

 

santa at kaufhof shop, dusseldorf

 

Now, some culinary business for Christmas!

The best Fruit Cake or Plum cake I have ever tasted is the Thoothukudi Bakery Plum Cake. Thoothukudi, the original tamil name of the place, the Britishers changed to Tuticorin for their safe pronunciation. This is a port city in down south Tamilnadu.  It holds a special place to me because of several reasons – 1.  it is the place from where my mother comes from; 2. the place I started my schooling as a child; 3. After we shifted to Chennai, it was my only favourite holiday destination to spend the school annual vacations at grandparents’ place!

It  is famous for Pearls – it is also called muthunagar or the pearl city and Salt Fields.  Thoothukudi also holds a special place in Indian Freedom Struggle as the First Swadeshi Ship was launched here in British India in 1906 by V.O. Chidambaram Pillai.

Now, Thoothukudi is also famous for its Bakery Foods. Thoothukudi Macaroons are very famous- a little change – macaroons are famous – but not many people would know it comes from Thoothukudi/Tuticorin. I have enjoyed  kilograms and kilograms of macaroons while young and even now, thaatha used to bring us from the bakery and additionally send for our friends in chennai to enjoy the true flavour of Thoothukudi. Beyond Macaroons, the most enjoyed bakery product used to be the Plum cake. So, when I wanted to bake a Christmas cake at least a bit similar to thoothukudi plum-cake, I searched the net. I found http://elitefoods.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-plum-cake.html where Viki, the author of the blog had additionally mentioned, the cake was similar to the plum-cake of thoothukudi. I tried it with some minor changes, keeping the basic structure intact. It was certainly a good fruit cake, but not as good as thoothukudi plum-cake as I had made those changes. Thanks Viki for the recipe!

As usual, I replaced all-purpose flour with wheat flour/gothumai maavu/atta. I used cooking oil instead of butter.  I used fresh orange juice to soak candied fruits instead of rum or brandy. Since dates, raisins, candied fruits and caramelised sugar has been used, the quantity of sugar is reduced. As I had candied cherries and apples, I used them – candied plums, pears, prunes and apricots make the cake more ‘fruitful’.

 

the christmas cake

 

Christmas Fruit Cake

Ingredients (gives 2 medium size cakes)

  • wheat flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • sugar – 3/4 cup
  • eggs – 3 no.s
  • oil – 3/4 cup
  • baking powder – 1 tsp
  • baking soda – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – 1/2 tsp
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • caramel syrup – 1/2 cup

to soak in 1 cup orange juice 

  • candied cherries -1/4 cup
  • candied apples – 1/4 cup
  • dates – 1/2 cup
  • raisins – 1/2 cup

finely chopped dry fruits – 1 cup

  • cashew nuts
  • almonds
  • walnuts

spice mix

  • cloves – 3 no.s
  • cinnamon twigs – 1/2 inch twig
  • nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
  • dry ginger powder – 1/4 tsp

Caramel Syrup

  1. Take 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp water in a utensil and let it boil in medium heat
  2. After a while, the syrup would start becoming brown in colour
  3. When it becomes darker, add 1/2 cup warm water and mix well
  4. Be careful while adding water to the very hot caramelised sugar, it might sprinkle and cause burns
  5. Caramel syrup is ready

 

soaked fruits into the batter

 

ready to be baked

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Soak candied fruits, raisins and chopped dates in orange juice for minimum 12 hours
  2. Finely chop dried nuts and keep aside
  3. Make fine powder of spices
  4. Take a wide bowl or a cake blender in a processor can be used
  5. Beat eggs, sugar and oil
  6. Add caramel syrup, spice mix and soaked fruits without the juice into the blender
  7. Add wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda and blend well
  8. Add salt and vanilla extract and mix well 
  9. Add the left over orange juice if needed
  10. Mix the chopped nuts in 1 tsp flour so that nuts do not settle in the bottom of the mixture
  11. Preheat oven at 175 degree celsius
  12. Grease a baking tray and sprinkle some flour
  13. Pour the cake mixture into the tray and sprinkle chopped nuts
  14. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes and check with a tooth pick to see if done
  15. After nuts were sprinkled,  I did not mix it. That is why, nuts remained on top and formed a nutty covering. If mixed a bit, nuts would have mixed well in the cake for a better nutty flavour throughout.

 

Cake done!

 

the last pieces left for the click..

 

Wishing you all Merry Christmas!!

About these ads
  1. Jaya
    December 28, 2011 at 08:38

    YUMMY! Looking so spongy, so perfect and super delicious ! Thank you for sharing, Subbu. I really like your blog with interesting information with photos and all the good recipes.

    • December 28, 2011 at 11:42

      thanks jaya. your words are always encouraging. but sorry for the egg in the cake. I have an eggless chocolate cake in a few posts from now.

  2. Priya
    March 2, 2012 at 06:06

    Hi Subbu

    I tried the fruit cake today it came out very good and very tasty but making caramel syrup was a flop so didn’t get that brown color cake. My husband liked it and said it tasted like the plum cake except for the color!

    • March 10, 2012 at 11:35

      hai priya, caramel syrup can sometimes be quite tricky… might be burnt and bitter or not reach the expected colour.. I shall try to post step by step process to make the syrup. but happy the cake tasted good. thanks.

  3. mina
    November 29, 2012 at 14:28

    Could you please give me your christmas cake recipe in grams and mls as all other cake recipes are also in gms, Also can I use golden syrup in place of caramel syrup? I love all your cake recipes. I want to use maida insted of wheat flour in this recipe, so can I use the same amount?

    • December 2, 2012 at 20:04

      Sorry Mina, I realised it only now that I had not given the recipe in grams too, which I have tried in the other cake recipes. Thanks for pointing it out.
      1. Wheat flour – 1 1/2 cups – 150 gms
      Sugar – 3/4 cup – 75 gms
      Oil – 3/4 cup – 75 ml

      2. I have not tried golden syrup till now.. So, I might not be the best person to say. But I find, golden syrup has the difference of the lemony flavour when home made and the extra fragrance when one buys the tinned version. Personally, I don’t think using golden syrup would make any difference to the cake. Go ahead and all the best for it! (It doesn’t suit cookies they say).

      3. When substituting Maida, the quantity of the liquid ingredients might be reduced. Wheat flour would gobble up more liquids…oil and the orange juice. 1/2 cup oil (50 ml) and 3/4 cup of orange juice should be ok instead of 75 ml oil and 1 cup juice. Soak the fruits in 1 cup juice and first add 3/4 cup. See the final batter and if you feel it is too thick, add the remaining juice.

      4. Let me know the result! Thank you for making me learn few more details about golden syrup and maida cakes!

  4. MINA
    January 30, 2013 at 14:33

    DID TRY YOUR CHRISTMAS CAKE ACCORDING TO YOUR EXACT RECIPE AND DID NOT USE MAIDA. I HAD SOAKED THE DRY FRUITS(I USED 1/2 C RAISINS, 1/2 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS, 1/4 C APRICOTS AND 1/4TH C PRUNES) IN 1 CUP OF ORANGE JUICE. I DECIDED TO SOAK THEM UP FOR 3 DAYS IN ADVANCE. HOWEVER ON THE VERY 2ND DAY THE JUICE GOT TOTALLY SOAKED UP SO I ADDED HALF A CUP EXTRA. BY THE TIME I MADE THECAKE I HAD ADDED AROUND 21/2 CUPS OF JUICE INSTEAD OF 1 CUP.SO THERE WAS NO EXTRA JUICE LEFT TO BE PUT INTO THE BATTER. THE CAKE TURNED OUT A LITTLE BIT ON THE DRY SIDE . IT WAS VERY TASTY BUT IT WAS MUCH MORE DENSER THAN YOURS( AT LEAST I THOUGHT YOURS LOOKED MUCH MORE LIGHTER). ANY SUGGESTIONS?
    I AM ALSO PLANNING TO TRY OUT YOUR APPLE PIE, BUT DO NOT HAVE ANY APRICOT JAM. I THINK I’LL USED MY MIXED FRUIT JAM.

    • March 12, 2013 at 19:47

      Hi Mina,
      Regret the delay in reply. Thanks first on trying the recipe. Your mail has given a better analysis of this wonderful cake. A special thanks for that too. I am not an expert in baking, but I just thought we could reason out..
      1. Might be raisins, apricots and prunes absorbed more juice than the candied fruits I had used.
      2. Then, if dried fruits are used, we need to soak in more juice.
      3. The nature of wheat flour can be a reason for lighter or denser version of the cake – my present wheat flour is coarser than the much finer one I used to have before. This seems to be absorbing more liquid while making chappatis or a simple cake I tried out last week.
      4. Let’s keep trying and I think we could come to a better understanding.
      5. As for the apple pie, the flavour of jam doesn’t matter. Apricot jam helps in the colourless glow on top of the pie.. Even orange marmalade or a lighter coloured jam would bring out the same finishing. Mixed fruit can also be used.. no problem if your family wouldn’t mind the reddish or maroonish glow on top!

      Thanks for the patience. Bye Mina

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers

%d bloggers like this: