RISH RELISHES
Fruity Christmas Cake

Fruity Christmas Cake on the Night before Christmas!

One of the most resplendent Christmas Traditions in Ireland is to bake a delicious fruit cake.  The Irish nation is quite addicted to this centuries’ old tradition, which has been practiced since years by the good old Irish wives! Having brought up in Ireland till I reached my twenties, I simply adored the way they would make the loveliest Christmas cake in the month of October, allowing your cake to have ample stretch of time till its taste would age and mature finely, like old wine! The older, the better!

Christmas cake
Christmas cake

 

This scrumptious Christmas cake is quite fluffy, being very rich, moist, and very charming to eat. I found this delightful recipe from my mother’s old cookbook of the tastiest food, as she was one of those people who would cook and bake in the daintiest manner ever witnesses by me in my entire lifetime. She learnt the art of cooking Irish foods from our countryside neighbor in County Kilkenny, who was a fantastic baker and a great person, too! With her love and warmth, we still cherish knowing her as one of the best people we have ever met. She loved cooking new food and sharing it with her close friends and family and indeed, she and mom were almost as good as any pair of soul sisters could be!

Christmas Cakes
Christmas Cakes

She taught us about most of the Irish cultural traditions, by making Christmas Cakes, and the best thing about learning to make this awesome cake was to make a wish upon the stars whilst we stored the ingredients together. Reminiscing down the memory lane, I have the most heartfelt memories, as we learnt how to speak and act like a local while we would stand dressed up, wearing red checkered aprons and mixing the ingredients in the mason bowl in the kitchen with my siblings. After baking, we would let the cakes stand, and then finally store the precious fruit cakes in cute cake barrels, in airtight containers for almost six months! I always cook my food remembering the long-gone days of my youth, as I really love toying with the DIY foodie ideas!

  • Zest of orange,
  • Zest of lemon,
  • 3 cups of sultanas,
  • 3 cups of raisins,
  • 1 ½ cups of glace cherries,
  • ½ cup of chopped almonds,
  • ⅓ Cup of sugarcoated peel,
  • 1 cup of whiskey,
  • 1 ⅔ cups of dark brown sugar,
  • 1 ¼ cup melted Kisan butter oil, softened at room temperature
  • 5 eggs, kept at room temperature,
  • 2 cups of multipurpose flour,
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spices,
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground nutmeg.

One night before making the fruity Christmas cake, we would steep the fruit, sugared peel, orange zest and lemon zest in a glass of whiskey. The entire mixture would be allowed to sit covered throughout the night at regular room temperature. This allows the pieces of fruit to plump up and all the flavors infuse into each other quite well.

 The following morning would be spent by pre-heating the oven to 280 Fahrenheit, then greasing and lining a cake tin of 11 inches wide and 3.5 inches, and setting it aside.

Wash the cherries and then pat them with a disposable towel to absorb any extra amount of liquid.  Now, divide the quarter of the cherries and then mildly toss it into the flour, as it would prevent the cherries from sinking into the depth of the cake during the baking phase. Set it aside for some time.

Take a large baking bowl, combine the flour and the exotic spices and set it aside for some time.

Cream the butter till it is soft and frothy.

Add in the eggs one by one time and then add in the dry ingredients.

Lastly, fold in the boozy fruit mix, chopped almonds, glazed peel and a bowlful of cherries.  Traditionally you make a wish while you stir, asking God to fulfil your innermost wishes! Our parents always allowed us to help them in the kitchen.

The cake is baked in a preheated oven at 280oF for an hour then at 240 Fahrenheit for almost three hours. Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before removing the cake from the cake tin. Once baked, let it cool and empty its contents into an elegant cake dish. These fruity cakes are served on Christmas and owing to its sprightly taste, almost everyone loves to gorge on it!

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