Friday, December 17, 2010

May's Christmas Cake.

The cake's baked and yes, it is named after me. I know I am late in baking the X'mas cake, but am glad that nevertheless I managed to bake it before a week. I hunted around quite a bit for the perfect recipe. There were so many to choose from, so finally what I did was use my judgement based on all that I had read and turned out with my very own X'mas cake. It has turned out awesome, am afraid that it will not last beyond 2 days, let alone christmas. Knowing my family, I luckily baked to distribute to friends and the other for us!! Hopefully they do not start digging into the second one....
     I thought I would do the posting tonight itself, lest I forget what went into the recipe. To begin with, I soaked the raisins and peel in rum for a good whole two months!! Yes, they went into soaking in October..:) Here's how they looked after soaking in all the rum.

So here's how I went about.


  • 500 gms raisins
  • 300 gm citrus peel
  • 250 gm candied cherry
  • 500 ml rum or brandy
  • 300 gm butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and a half cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot or plum jam
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
Method :
  1. Combine raisins, peel and candied cherries in a medium sized bowl. Pour in brandy or rum and leave at room temperature overnight, a week, a month or more..:)
  2. Grease a loaf pan or round tin with 2 layers of parchment paper. Drain soaked fruits reserving the liquid. 
  3. Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and baking powder into a bowl. Preheat oven to 150 degree celcius.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and jam. Beat until well combined.
  6. Stir in the soaked fruits and almonds or walnuts. Mix well.
  7. You can divide this mixture into two tins(as I have done) or bake a whole cake. Spread the mixture into prepared tin. Bake in oven for 90 minutes or till a wooden pick comes out clean.
  8. Allow cake to cool in pan. When cooled, remove cake from pan. Peel off parchment paper. Brush reserved liquid all over the cake. Wrap with parchment paper followed by aluminum foil. Seal cake in food storage bag and allow to age till christmas..:) Brush cake once a week with rum or brandy.
Note: As of now, quarter of our cake is over. So it looks like, I will be following step 8 to the cake which is reserved for presenting.

The above picture is after applying the rum marinade. This cake is wrapped and stored in the fridge till christmas. Will post some more pictures in a week, once the cake is cut.

Linking this post to the december carnival on  The Key Bunch. Come and see what all the fun is about!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cake Blondies.

How does the spirit of Christmas feel in your home?? This side it is getting crazier by the day..... Decorating, choir practices, ensembles, entertaining, plays and not to forget baking!!! So, without any story telling, here's what I prepared over the weekend in anticipation of my cousin's visit. The recipe is from the christmas collection of Good Housekeeping magazine.

You need :

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit, bigger pieces chopped(raisins, currants, sultanas, apricots, figs, citrus peel, candied cherries)
  • 1 cup rum or brandy
  • 1 and a half cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150 gm unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips( I used white chocolate cut into small pieces)
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts.

  1. Marinate dried fruits in rum, stirring now and then, for at least 6 hours or overnight (I soaked for 24 hours).
  2. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius. Meanwhile grease and dust a 9 inch square baking tin.
  3. Drain fruit and reserve marinade; set aside.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  5. Cream together butter and both kinds of sugar until pale and thick, about 6 minutes with an electric whisk. Beat in egg, then yolk; whisk for 1 minute. Mix in chocolate chips, nuts and fruit. Fold in flour mixture until just combined -DO NOT BEAT!
  6. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and centre done but just moist.

7. Cool tin on wire rack for at least 30 minutes, before cutting into 16 squares. To serve, pour reserved rum marinade over as sauce and garnish with chopped dried fruit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eat like a German...Zimtsterne

Snow has fallen, X'mas trees decorated, lights are up......and I am sure, the german homes have begun baking too( I do get the aroma of freshly baked cookies when walking by some homes). As I had mentioned in my previous post, I am keen on preparing a few german goodies. The supermarkets are all loaded with oh so many baking ingredients, it would be a pity if I never tried out something different.  When this particular recipe came up on the Live like a german website, I thought it would be the ideal cookie to start with.

     Zimtsterne or Cinnamon stars are classic German Christmas cookies. The mixture of almond and cinnamon dough are rolled out and cut into star shapes and maybe topped with white sugar icing. I was a apprehensive when trying these out, cause it was my first time with cookies. To my surprise they turned out awesome(though they didn't look as good, got to improvise on it though..)

Ingredients :

  • 300g almonds with skin
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or few drops vanilla essence
Method :
  1. Grind the almonds with skin to a fine powder.
  2. Beat the egg whites along with the lemon juice till very stiff.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, mixing well until fully dissolved.
  4. Reserve three fourth of this mixture aside.
  5. To the remaining mixture, fold in the ground almonds, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
  6. Cover and allow to sit in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Sift powdered sugar over a working surface.
  9. Roll out half the dough to approximately quarter inch thick.
  10. Cut into stars using a star shaped cookie cutter.
  11. Place the stars on the baking tray. Brush them with the set aside egg white mixture. Take care that it does not dribble down to the sides.
  12. Bake stars on the lower and middle racks for 25 minutes, switching the sheets about halfway through baking time.

The above recipe makes 36 cookies. If you have a family like mine who gobbles up the cookies the moment they are out from the oven, then you need to definitely bake more or time your baking accordingly.