Welcome back to my second recipe for this festive season! I am very excited to share with you this recipe because it is easy, fun and simple. So let’s get started!
I was pretty excited for this recipe because my Dad always talks about how delicious my Aunt’s fruitcake was. Therefore I decided to do fruit cake as it is a festive cake and filled with dried fruits soaked in rich brandy!
This recipe took me about 3 to 4 days as there are a few ingredients that needed that extra attention. So lets begin with the items that needed more attention.
The original recipe did not add this following ingredient, however I went through other fruit cake recipes to see the ingredients they added, and I came to a conclusion that I want to be more adventurous and changed the original recipe. The extra ingredient I added was mixed peel.
I believe mixed peel could be bought, however I could not find any in my local supermarket, so I made my own. I made my mixed peel 2 days before baking the fruit cake as it requires time to dry and cook the peels.
Firstly, I shredded the skin of 8 orange and 8 green and yellow lemons. This may seem a lot, but after I finished shredding all of the fruits, the skin only weigh 200 grams. While shredding the peels, be careful of your fingers as cuts are bound to happen.
Then, I transfer all my peels into a pot, ready to boil. Water must be filled to cover the peel. After the peels are left to simmer for about 10 minutes, I poured the water away. By then, the aroma of the oranges and lemon were heavenly. I then, repeated the step of boiling the peels again, for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I poured half the liquid away and added another half cup of fresh water into the pot and about 1 cup sugar. Then I left to simmer. After the sugar is dissolved and boiled, I covered the pot and let it sit for the night. After a night’s rest, the following afternoon, I again poured another half cup of sugar into the pot and let the sugar to be dissolved. When my sugar is dissolved and the liquid is simmering, I drained the peels and scattered them on a baking tray and let them naturally dry for about a day.
(I gathered the instructions for my mixed peels from Wonderland Kitchen, Just Like Candy: #DIY Mixed Peel. http://wonderlandkitchen.com/2013/11/just-like-candy-diy-mixed-peel/ ) Note that I did not use her measurements, I only followed her instructions and went with my gut with the measurements!
Next ingredient that require attention are the brandy soaked mixed fruits! It is very very very simple. Just 2 easy steps! However, it takes days for the brandy to be soaked into the mixed fruits.
And finally…. Here comes the time to bake! There is actually not much to say because the cake batter is a basic butter cake recipe, whereby you cream the butter and sugar, adding the eggs one at a time and the vanilla essence. After all the wet ingredients are incorporated, I sifted the flour and baking powder into the wet. Folding them into the wet ingredients gently. Then I added the spices. Okay, I have to admit I did cheat a little for the spice mix. I did not have mace powder, dry ginger powder and clove powder, so I used half teaspoon of five spice powder, together with cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Yes, guilty as charged!
After my spices are added, I took huge ladlefuls of soaked mixed fruits and pour it in the cake batter. I threw my mixed peel in as well. I took about 5 to 6 ladleful of mixed fruits and mixed it in my batter first. I could add more after if I see there is a need to increase the amount. In the end, I added about 8 to 9 ladleful of mixed fruits into the cake batter.
Looking at my batter and seeing that all fruits are properly coated with batter, I poured them into loaf tins that I greased and covered with baking paper, I also cover the loaf tin with aluminium foil to prevent the top of the cake to burn. Then I popped them into the oven for about 2 hours at 160 degree celsius, rotating them every 30 minutes.
Then…. All good things come to those who wait. After 2 gruesome hours, I took out the fruit cake and uncover the aluminium foil to check if the cake has been cooked throughout with a wooden skewer. The skewer came out clean! I quickly took out the loaf tins and poked a few holes into the cake and pour little teaspoon of brandy onto the cake, to allow the cake to absorb the alcohol. The fruit cake smelt heavenly and tasted chewy and spongy! I loved the texture of the cake, however the colour of the cake was not as brown as I expected it to be.
(My fruit cake recipe is from Scratching Canvas, A Tale of Taste Test; Old Fashioned Rich and Moist Christmas Fruit Cake. http://www.scratchingcanvas.com/2013/12/Old-Fashioned-Rich-Moist-Christmas-Fruitcake.html)
I truly enjoyed making this fruitcake, even though it took 2 more days more than other cakes, however I had fun and it made me realise a couple of things.
- Good things do come to those who wait. The hours peeling the fruits and the waiting time for the cake. Well, baking is all about the patience.
- I cannot use shortcuts. I had to give my all in every component of the cake and then, I would be rewarded.
And… I have come to the end of the second recipe for my Christmas series! I hope you have enjoyed reading and it would be lovely if you tried it too. It was an exciting and fulfilling process while baking this fruit cake. Till the next time for the third recipe, Ciao~