Holidays cannot be fully cherished without a perfectly baked Christmas fruit cake and that’s exactly what I have in store for you today!
December is undoubtedly my favorite month not only because it brings along my birthday but also, I get ample excuses to bake a good cake! And what can mark the start of this holiday season better than this delicious looking Christmas fruit cake! This fruit cake is so amazing that it always brings out a ‘WOW’ from everyone whoever you feed this to and I am talking from my experience! Everyone loved this fruit cake to put it simply. But the best thing is yet to come. Unlike traditional plum cakes, this Christmas fruit cake is much easier as well as faster to make; hence even if you are a novice baker just like me, you can go ahead and bake this cake without any worry and success is guaranteed! The top hard crust of this fruit cake is astoundingly complemented by the soft inner texture which is loaded with fruits. The amount of fruit in your fruit cake is entirely your personal choice; but to be honest, I went a little overboard while making my Christmas fruit cake this time!
The year ending holiday season adds an indescribable joy to the surroundings and stirs up peoples’ mood with happiness. I always felt there is something mysterious about it! May be the abundance of such sweet treats to be blamed for such joyfulness in us! This season is full of bakes; be it cakes, pastries, pies or savory stuffs like casseroles. I love this season of baking and want to be a part of this wholeheartedly, which is the very reason that I planned to bake this scrumptious Christmas fruit cake! This fruit cake does require some planning e.g. soaking the fruits in some kind of alcohol for couple of days, stirring them few times in between etc. But all these are totally worth it, in fact more! Once this fruit cake is baked and comes out of the oven, you will surely feel yourself on cloud 9! Trust me on this!
My Christmas fruit cake can also be considered a lighter version of traditional Christmas plum cake which needs more time and attention and needs to be prepared several weeks ahead for bathing it with alcohol occasionally which is a much necessary step for that kind of cake. This fruit cake can be prepared on-the-go! Soaking the fruits in alcohol is also optional and I have tried that version as well which tastes as good. Only if you want a mild boozy flavor in your fruit cake which may even be undetectable to the uninitiated, you can include the soaking process in your fruit cake making. I used dark rum for mine; you can use sherry, brandy or Grand Marnier which has a mild orange flavor to it; the choice is up to you or you can totally omit the alcohol from your fruit cake. In that case you can directly start from step 2 of recipe instructions below.
My fruit cake was immensely enjoyed by my friends and family and I got repeated requests to bake it again which I am surely gonna do soon. If you too are planning to bake your Christmas fruit cake this holiday season, then plan it couple of days earlier as this cake needs 1 or 2 days of resting time for full flavor to develop and also the top hard crust softens up a bit. The inner texture of the fruit cake is light yet soft and fluffy. This fruit cake is not as dark or dense as the traditional plum cake which I feel I have already mentioned couple of times above; forgive me for my annoying repetition, I am just trying to set your expectation right so that you guys are not misled. This Christmas fruit cake is stunning on its own and I sincerely wish you bake this at home and make your holidays more joyful! Enjoy!
- Tutti frutti (Candied mixed peel) – 100 gms
- Candied green cherries – 100 gms
- Dark raisins – 50 gms
- Dark rum/brandy/sherry – 4 tbsp (optional)
- Unsalted butter – 113 gms (½ cup), softened and at room temperature
- Granulated white sugar – 100 gms (½ cup)
- Eggs – 3, large, at room temperature
- Pure vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- All-purpose flour – 195 gms (1 & ½ cups)
- Ground almond/almond meal/flour – 50 gms (½ cup)
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Lemon zest – 1 tsp (from 1 small lemon)
- Milk – ¼ cup, at room temperature
- For a nicely flavored fruit cake, soak all the tutti frutti, cherries and dark raisings in 3 tablespoons of dark rum and let them sit at room temperature for at least a day to up to 2 days covered with a clingwrap. Give a stir occasionally.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F keeping the rack at the center of the oven. Brush melted butter on all inner sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set is aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest to mix them thoroughly.
- Take another large bowl and add the softened butter and granulated sugar into it. Whisk them with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Next add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and beat it in.
- Now it’s time to add the fruits – add the candied cherries, dark raisins and tutti frutti along with any left-over liquid in the bowl. Mix everything with the batter until well incorporated.
- Next add half of the flour and the milk and mix until just incorporated. Finally add the remaining flour mixture and mix thoroughly. The batter would be quite dense but make sure to uniformly mix all the ingredients.
- Finally transfer the prepared batter to the greased loaf pan and smoothen the top using a knife or offset spatula.
- Decorate the top of the cake with sliced or flaked almonds. Bake the fruit cake in preheated oven for about 60 - 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. The top crust may seem little hard, but it will soften if you store it a day or two at room temperature before serving and it ensures that the flavors develop more deeply in the cake. Enjoy!