Christmas cheer follows w-a-y after the holiday. A whole month of baking, making experimental goodies & being in the spirit all of that doesn't end yet, for this baking lunatic.
I have a couple more days of celebration still in store for my kids including a second gingerbread house ( first one was from a pre-made cookies, that doesn't count so Im getting my over-acheiver wind in me in attempting a house from scratch)
This week has lots in store for us. M also is trying his hand at a few more kinds of cookies to bake before the year ends since his whoopie pies were a big hit among his friends. With the vacation week, we can never have too many things to do at home since mommy's 15 free minutes or freedom/lazing on the sofa = reruns of "what do we do, now?" by my very easily bored kids.
The snowstorm past weekend was a blessing in disguise for me, for a change being snowed in was a break from the usual grocery trip, the library, chauffeuring the kids to play dates & such. On the con's side though: the DVD's have been overused, board games are overused & ripping of the sides & I'm noticing that my family is constantly hungry. Is it because it's cookie season?
Let me hold on to the beauty of winter, the shimmering tree lit till the month end at the very least & my oven will be used once everyday till we run out of sugar or flour. I still have 2 more friends who missed my cake this season. Today is a perfect day to bake up another batch of Christmas cake just for the pic purpose. This time a sheet cake, a muffin tray and a small 6" pan will be a perfect size to share.
(My round cake went to the Uttagi's party) here's a pic of the cake squares saved to share with the neighbour & for my V.
Candied citrus peels, raisins, marashino cherries, dried cherries, cranberries, currants, raisins, dates - make 3 cups(any combo)
rum – 1 cup
All purpose flour – 3 cups
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Butter – 2 sticks
brown Sugar – 2 cups
Granulated Sugar – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 6
cashew nuts, walnuts, raisins - about 10 each
All-spice powder - 1 tsp
cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Vanilla essence – 2 tsp
Method:Prep the cake pans: butter the pans,
dust the pan with flour,
then line a sheet of parchment paper around the circumference ( I didn't know how many inches of extra height so I made 6" over the rim...what was I thinking?) & the bottom of the pan( here's where I messed up, I didn't line the bottom since my cakes 'always comes out clean; but- not this
time around :(
Note to self: Make time for this extra (worthy)step. Line the bottom of the pans!!!
Soak up the fruits with rum, cover & set aside in a dark cabinet for 3 days to up to a month in advance.( I soaked up mine a day before thanks givimg weekend to get all the babies drunk up so
4 weeks = pretty drunk up fruits...oh-la-la)
Sift the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, all-spice powder, cinnamon powder, salt. Add cashew nuts cranberries, dried dated, dried cherries to this.
Cream the butter with brown sugar till the sugar crystals have almost dissolved. Add eggs &vanilla extract. Whisk till blended.
Caramelize the sugar, by heating 1/2 a cup of sugar in the saucepan with 1 tbsp of water on a medium high heat, without stirring. The purpose is to achieve a deep brown syrup. This will take about 10 mins.
Remove from heat, set aside for a couple mins & then add 1/2 a cup of water. Don't be afraid of the sizzle.
beat together: soaked fruits, dry ingredients, caramel syrup, creamed butter-sugar mixture.
bake: pour this into cake pans
& bake at 300F for 2hrs for round pan, 1 hr for th sheet pan, 35 mins for mini muffins. This recipe yields 6x 4" round + 9"X13" rectangle pan (my first batch) OR 6x4', 12 mini muffins & a 2" round( 2nd batch).
Cool on pan for 15 mins. Invert on a cooling grid, remove the parchment paper. Cool completely.
Typically this cake is made a week in advance, every other day sprinkled with a couple teaspoons of brandy or rum and stored in an airtight container untill the christmas eve. Mine was presoaked dry fruits. I skipped this on purpose. End result was all worth the circus.