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Christmas Cake

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Ingredients

Cake

2¾ cup cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch or two cinnamon 

¾ teaspoon Shajeera, finely ground

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup butter, room temperature

5 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Soaked Dried Fruits (recipe follows)

Caramel (recipe follows)

¼ cup cashew nuts, chopped and coated with 1 teaspoon flour

Brandy or rum for brushing cake

Dried Fruit Soak

¾ cup golden raisins 

¾ cup dried currants 

14 dried apricots chopped (or substitute dry fruit of your choice)

¼ cup dried cherries 

1 cup orange juice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder

3 cloves 

2 teaspoons honey (optional)

4 tablespoons. rum

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

Caramel

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon butter

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour 8-inch round, square or loaf cake pan or use PAM for baking to save time. Line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper.
  3. Sift cake flour with baking powder, and mix in spice powders.
  4. Cream butter with sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add eggs, vanilla essence, and caramel. Beat well until mixture is creamy. You can reduce amount of caramel added to batter to produce lighter colored cake.
  5. Add flour, ½ cup or less at a time, and gently mix in. Stir in soaked dry fruit mixture and cashew nuts. Gently mix.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, approximately one hour and 15 minutes. Start checking after 50 minutes.
  7. Cool on wire rack and unmold. Cover cake with foil, and keep in cool and dry place for at least 2 days, preferably 1 week. Optional: brush cake with brandy or rum every day for a week or two. This cake stays very well at room temperature for 2-3 weeks and refrigerated for 1-2 months.

Dried Fruit Soak

  1. Warm orange juice, and then add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Keep in an airtight container for at least 12 hours or up to 2-3 days.

Caramel

  1. Mix sugar with 1 tablespoon water and heat in thick bottomed pan over medium heat until color begins caramelizing to golden brown. Reduce heat, and stir well from this point on until color turns dark golden.
  2. Carefully add butter and 4 tablespoons water. Mix very well, and then remove from heat. Cool and store in efrigerator for up to 1 week.
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