Everybody in my family loves this cake, its my grandmother's recipe and it can be tweaked during the holiday season to form a delicious Christmas fruit cake. The ingredients are simple to remember, you just need equal quantities of flour, sugar and butter and the cake is guaranteed to come out great.
Ingredients400 grams maida or all purpose flour
400 grams sugar
400 grams butter
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dried fruits and nuts
brandy or rum (optional)
I've taken 400 grams of butter, sugar and flour cause I wanted to make a large cake for Christmas. You can scale the quantities down to half and make a medium sized cake. Let's start with caramelizing the sugar, from the 400 grams of sugar that you have set aside for this cake, take bout a quarter of that (100 grams) and start heating it in a dry vessel. I usually drop in another handful (bout 50 gms) of sugar to get more of the gooey caramel when I plan on adding brandy or rum to the cake.
So this is the first step, heat the sugar till it forms a dark inky substance. You can use crystalline sugar for caramelizing, and keep stirring it when the vessel is on the flame.
It will turn light golden brown eventually, keep stirring it around till all the lumps dissolve.
You'll get a light brown liquid like this...
Which will start to boil in a few minutes, and you can see it changing colour... becoming darker as it boils. Pour in a little water and continue stirring.
You'll get a dark liquid like this, please switch off the flame, you don't want this to burn. Your dark caramel is now ready.
I used 8 eggs here, if you are gonna scale the recipe down to half, use only 4. Separate the yolk and the white. Make sure to put the egg white in a larger vessel cause when you beat it up it rises like foam.
Now beat the whites and the yellow separately using your electric blender. The whites will raise up like foam, keep beating it till its all one nice and fluffy mass.
Now blend the butter and the sugar (powder the remaining sugar) and beat it up well.
Here it is, the butter and sugar mixture well blended...
Now drop in the mountain of egg white and beat it up well.
Then add the beaten yolks... give it a whirl with the blender.
Next add the caramelized sugar (if you find that it has solidified a bit, you can heat it lightly till it becomes liquid again) and the vanilla essence. Beat the batter well. If you have a little milk, use it to scrape off all the leftover in the egg white vessel, the yolk vessel and the caramelized vessel and add that to the batter and mix it up well.
In another vessel add the maida, the baking powder and the baking soda and mix them all well, or if you have a sieve at home run them all through the sieve. Now add the maida to the batter in batches... and mix it up. Check the consistency too from time to time, the batter should be light and fluffy. [If you plan on adding nuts and dried fruits, don't add the entire 400 grams of maida. Alternatively mix in the maida and the dried fruits till you get the desired batter consistency.]
Now sprinkle some of the maida over the chopped fruits and nuts, and just mix it around with a spoon. Add them to the batter and gently fold everything in with a long spoon. [I had soaked a few chopped nuts and dried fruits in brandy for a month, to make the Christmas cake. Just sprinkle some of the maida over this and add it to the batter.]
Here you go, just fold them in gently. In case at the last minute you decide that you want a brandy/rum flavour in your cake, then go ahead and drop in a few tablespoons of brandy/rum... you'll get a nice heady taste.
Grease and flour your baking pan, spoon the batter in.
Stick it in the oven to bake till a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. This should take bout 30 minutes or so. Here is the cake just out of the oven, allow it to cool down a bit.
I melted some white chocolate to drizzle over the cake, to give it a more sophisticated look. Those glasses to the side are filled wine, this was the midnight Christmas feast after church.
People and especially guys love this cake, I think that intoxicating flavour of brandy really appeals to their senses. Tonio's brother loves this cake, I added extra brandy to the batter just for him. You can skip the brandy and make a wonderful fruit cake that is sure to disappear in a matter a minutes, folks will gobble it down. That's what matters, the happy smiles and the satisfied faces...Well, have fun baking this cake. Only the caramelizing part requires extra effort, the rest of it is quite easy.