This is the ultimate Cake which we bake around Christmas time as it is loaded with rich fruits and nuts.
I do not quite know whether to call it a Christmas cake or a fruit and nuts cake..whatever it is , this is my ultimate indulgence once a year.
While I usually bake without much fuss other varieties of cakes with absolutely no fear, after I have read the original recipe and added my changes, my Christmas cake is like taking a final exam as it has so many ingredients, measurements, and one needs to plan a bit, buy all the required ingredients , as much as possible to avoid last minute hiccups, then the long baking time which could go upto an hour or more .
While all the food groups were flaunting their Christmas cakes and cookies, I was yet to zero in on that perfect recipe for me. Finally I found one which seemed simple enough and I couldnt possibly go wrong.
I also had another apprehension, trying to bake my cake in a pressure cooker , which was all laid to rest when I set the container of batter inside the steel copper bottomed heavy pressure cooker.
This was it!! I would know soon enough if my pressure cooker would deliver!
Kindly choose your own method for baking and I do not insist on baking in a pressure cooker. I have mentioned oven temp for those who bake in a regular oven.
Pressure cooker method.
Take a heavy bottomed pressure cooker. Pour some sand or salt inside the body of the cooker.
.( I did not do so , instead I used the perforated plate at the bottom ) ..
Pre heat for 5 minutes on high . Then reduce flame to medium. Meanwhile start your cake batter preps..
After you have greased a steel container ( any vessel which will have sufficient room to allow cake to rise,), place it on the plate at the container bottom, cover either with cooker lid removing the gasket and the weight. Increase flame to high for next 4 minutes, then lower to medium.
I simply used a thick steel lid to cover the cake batter vessel as I did not wish to spoil the cooker lid , fearing that safety valve may be damaged...Choose your method.
Half way through , take a quick look, the cake would have risen, you can now keep the container higher to prevent burning at the bottom, for example place the cake container on an upturned round tin or cooker container which is usually supplied with the pressure cooker . Cover immediately again and now let the cooker remain covered till end of baking, keep on low flame . At the end of nearly 45 minutes the top would have risen well, gently touch with a tester, if it appears slightly soft , cover again and let it bake. After 5 minutes, check with a tester till to check if it comes clean.
Recipe source. realepicurean.com
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped glace cherries
1/2 cup dried plums
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 small orange
50 grams mixed chopped candied peel
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup Orange fruit juice to soak all the fruits and nuts .Preferably overnight.
You can use your choice of dry fruits and nuts like raisins, dried cranberries, prunes, apricots, figs, cashewnuts.
Other Ingredients :
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour ( or a mix of wheat flour and all purpose flour0.
125 grams softened butter ( I replaced with 1/4 cup oil )
1 cup soft dark brown brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Some halved Almond slices for decoration if you wish .
1 cup whisked yogurt ( 3 eggs as per original recipe)
Keep some 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk on hand to use while making batter to get correct consistency.Do not use all the buttermilk or milk in the beginning, use it as you make the batter only if necessary .
Soak all the dry fruits and nuts preferably overnight or an hour before baking with fruit juice.
Before soaking add some warm water the fruits and nuts so that the dried fruits will swell. Then discard the hot water and add juice , let it remain soaked till you prep for batter.
Pre heat oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C
Line your cake tin approx 20 cm round loose based cake tin or 23 cm x 9 inches with parchment on the bottom and the sides as well, or grease well and dust with flour.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, ground almond powder, and spices in a large bowl. Next add the brown sugar, yogurt or eggs , softened butter or oil , and beat with a electric whisk or hand whisk until smooth and fluffy. Do not over mix to maintain aeration .
Next slowly fold in the mixed dry fruits and nuts draining them of juice, orange and lemon zest,
After all the ingredients have been added, gently fold and spread the fairly thick batter onto the greased tin, smoothing the top gently with a spatula.
Cook till done approx 50 minutes., or a tester comes clean when inserted.
Let the cake remain in cooker for 3 to 5 minutes. after it is done
Let it cool in the cake tin till you can handle it a bit.
Ease out gently by running a knife all over.
Remove cake and let it cool well. If you wish you can poke holes on the surface and drizzle some juice all over. This is optional.