Thursday, 18 December 2014

Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake


Merry Xmas to all my readers!!!!

I always wanted to bake a traditional Christmas cake like my aunt used to do it. We always used to wait for the Christmas time to taste her awesome cookies and cakes. She will bake with no-alcohol for children and rest of the cakes will have rum, wine, brandy in it. Her house itself will smell like heaven during the Christmas season. I had to wait till I reached college to taste my first cake with some alcohol in it and the flavors still lingers on my taste buds.  



Each year I got more intrigued with it and finally had the courage to ask her one day how to bake this cake. She replied by telling me how this recipe had been in her family for ages and she had learnt it from her grandmother. I was more curious and took out my notepad to note down the recipe. She took me inside her pantry and showed how they stored the soaked fruits, nuts and raisins in big glass jars. She had two big glass jars filled with rum and wine. The soaked nuts and raisins looked so beautiful. 



I truly wished I had my camera in those days to click pictures but I plan to visit her next year and hope to learn something new too. So, coming on to the recipe, lets learn how to soak some nuts, fruits and raisins in rum. I soaked them for 4 months but you can soak them even for an year. I'm sharing a proportion to bake a medium size cake but you can increase the quantity to bake many cakes to share with your family and friends. 



Ingredients:

Rum - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 2 tbsp
Tutti Frutti / Candied fruits - 2 tbsp
Broken cashews - 1 tbsp
Broken walnuts - 1 tbsp
Finely chopped dates (seedless ) - 1 tbsp

Method:

1) Soak mix of Candied fruits/Tutti frutti, raisins, broken cashews, chopped dates, broken walnuts in rum for minimum 24 hours in a glass jar. Allow the dried fruits to soak as long as possible. Longer they are soaked, the cake will be more flavorful and  richer in taste. 
2) Keep it in a cool place and in air-tight container.
3) Give enough space at the raisins etc will puff up when you soak them. 
4) Shake the jar every 5-6 hours so that all dry fruits get soaked properly.



Now, lets bake the cake!!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Demerara sugar - 1 cup 
Cooking oil - 1/2 cup ( I used oilve oil)
Plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Green cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla Essence - 1/2 tsp
Orange Zest - 1 tbsp 


Method:



1) Preheat oven at 180 Degree C. Sift wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder twice together and keep it aside. 
2) Add sugar, oil in a bowl and mix it well until sugar completely dissolves. Add yogurt and blend it well.
3) Now add flour mix slowly and blend it well. Make sure there are no lumps in the batter. Add powdered cinammon, cardomom powder, orange zest, vanilla essence and give a quick stir.

4) Add rum and soaked nuts, fruits and raisins and mix well.
4) Grease the cake tin with some oil evenly and add the batter to it. 
5) Bake at 180 C for 70 minutes. Check after 70 minutes by inserting a toothpick at the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, then your cake is done or else continue baking for more time and keep a watch on it. My cake took 75 minutes to get a even brown color crust. 

Once it has cooled down, 
invert it on a wire rack and let it cool down completely.

This is a soft, crumbly cake and you will love the different flavors in it. This cake tastes even better as it ages. You can splash some more rum on top once you take out the cake from the oven and let it age for few days before you slice it. 

Tips:


1) Only cut the cake once it has completely cooled down.

2) Use a minimum 6X2 inch or 7x2 inch round/square pan.
3) Scrape peel of an orange to prepare orange zest.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Eggless Whole Wheat Dates Walnut Cake / Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake


I love this Xmas season!! You can see all the shops and streets decorated with bells, stars etc. I specially love this season as I get an excuse to bake :) :) I have soaked the fruit and nuts in rum and will be sharing the Xmas cake recipe soon. My little boy class in his school is celebrating Xmas and they specified to send some cake without icing or cream. I decided to bake something healthy for the children which they can enjoy. 





My boy is so fascinated with tutti-frutti and insisted that I add them in the cake. He kept saying amma make sure you add loads of them so that each bite will have these candied fruits. I could only smile at his sweet and cute talks :) 



So, finally baked 3 Dates Cake with whole wheat flour and lots of tutti frutti and walnuts. The first one got over within minutes. At least my family gave time for the cake to cool down :) Remaining two cakes I tied with red ribbons and sent to his school today. It simply made me happy to see a big smile on my boy's face. Its a soft cake though I have not used eggs or butter and spiced up with cardamom powder. So, sharing the recipe and hope you all enjoy baking and sharing with family and friends. 




Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup 
Seedless Dates - 12-15
Milk - 1 cup 
Granulated Sugar - 3/4 cup 
Cooking Oil - 1/2 cup ( I used olive oil)
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Tutti frutti/Candied fruit - 2 tbsp
Chopped walnuts - 2 tbsp 
Green cardamom powder - 1 tsp






Method:

1) Soak dates in warm milk and keep it aside for 30-45 minutes. 
2) Sift wheat flour and baking soda together 3 times and keep it aside.
3) Grind the dates to a fine paste along with sugar. 
4) Add the dates paste and oil and blend it well. 
5) Now add wheat flour slowly and blend everything together.
6) Add the tutti frutti, cardamom powder, chopped walnuts and give a quick stir.
7) Preheat oven at 180 C/360 F. 
8) Grease the pan with enough oil or use parchment paper and then add the cake batter. Use minimum 6X2 inch cake pan (square or round shape) and fill only half way. 
9) Bake the cake at 180 C for 35 minutes. Check after 30 minutes by inserting a toothpick at the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, then your cake is done or else continue baking for 5 more minutes and keep a watch on it.
10) Once the cake has cooled down, invert it on a wire rack and let it cool down completely.

This cake is specially loved by everyone and needs no topping, icing or cream. 

Tips:

1) The color of the cake depends on the kind of dates you're using. 
2) Do not use baking powder in place of baking soda for this cake or it will not have a soft texture.
3) Only cut the cake once it has completely cooled down.
4) You can add extra milk if you feel the batter is too thick to bring it to dropping consistency. 
5) You can also add cinnamon powder or vanilla essence for flavoring. 
6) If you are baking 3-4 cakes for Xmas gifts, then prepare fresh batter for each cake as the baking soda starts reacting in it.