When I came across this wonderful Fruit & Nut cake in Sunita's beautiful blog, I knew I had to try making it. So inspite of not blogging for a while .... oh ... am not away from the kitchen though ... just don't feel like making the beautiful dishes always a subject and train the camera on them till they fall flat or go cold with disappointment.
With a little cold here finally, hot dishes & soups are being enjoyed real hot .... from the stove or oven to the plates and famished tummies. :-)
A small disappointment did rile me for a while ... our travel plans were cancelled .... no, postponed ... for hubby's work. :-(
And my very original Instant Moong Dal Halwa , which has been made and loved by a lot of readers .... both bloggers and non bloggers equally .... showering me with mails and comments .... which has made me very proud of my recipe and happy too ... is unhappy.
A blogger who has appreciated it here has gone and used another blogger's comment space to call it yuck (without trying to make it). :-(
I really don't know what to make of it.
But such little things are not going to put me down.
The first issue is solved ... I have been promised a trip soon .... so am happy. :-)
And I am deluged with visiting friends and family now that the hols have started .... best friend D is here from Dubai ... my KG friend is visiting next with wife .... hubby found a long lost friend from college ... so the days are rushing by in a blur.
I was very excited at the thought of baking a rum cake. Back from a Book Fair, with two huge bundles of books in my arms, I was a spectacle ... well ... the guys in the shop looked real amused ... when buying rum from a shop ( hubby's presence did not help much ). ;-)
I went through Sunita's recipe and for a change did not want to experiment or deviate too much.
Just made a few changes more out of necessity than anything else ...
* I used maida / APF instead of atta / whole wheat flour.
* I reduced the amount of eggs to three.
* I used plain white sugar.
* I added a little vanilla essence lest my veggie ( ok ... eggitarian ) hubby gets a 'smell'.
* I had no nutmeg ... so could not add it.
* Ground a few cloves ( that I put in the sugar jar ) with the sugar.
* And since I tend to keep my cake batters a little too liquid, I added some Cranberry juice ( that was the only juice I had at home then) to make it more liquid.
I have stuck to my usual measurements of a cake ... still the batter was voluminous ... I made two cakes and six cupcakes out of these measurements.
Visit Sunita's World for the original recipe and some great snaps.
1/2 tsp baking soda,
2 tbsp baking powder,
1 and 1/2 cup sugar,
a few drops of vanilla essence ( do not use too much ...
... or you can skip it too if you are used to eggs ) ,
a few cloves and cinnamon,
8 tbsp cooking oil,
zest of one orange and juice of one orange ( I used the same orange ),
dates, walnuts, cashews, black raisins.
Any fruit juice ( if needed ) ... I used a little Cranberry juice.
How to :
Chop or break the fruits and nuts and soak them in a cupful of water and rum in 1:1 ratio ( I used a small soupbowl and soaked them for half an hour).
Then pour them into a pan and cook on low heat till they are almost dry. Cool.
Add the orange zest ( added the juice and pulp too ) and keep aside.
Grind the sugar finely with the cloves and cinnamon.
Mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.
Whisk the eggs + oil + sugar + a drop of vanilla essence + 4 tbsp rum with an electric beater or in a mixie.
Add the flour in and mix well.
Pre heat oven at 150 degrees ( I am used to baking cakes at this temperature .... refer Sunita's recipe for her version).
Mix in the dry fruits to the batter.
Grease a cake mould and dust it with a little flour.
Pour in the batter and put to bake.
Do not forget to keep checking ... I often switch off the oven in between for even baking.
Bake till an inserted toothpick or skewer or knife comes out clean.
Sunita advises to cover the mould after a while of baking .... listen to her. :-)
I did not ... and the top got browned very quickly.
But all was not lost ... I decreased the temp. immediately and let it bake in a very low temperature.
Later I tried to pry off the top layer ... it was very thin and came away like an obedient child .... and there was nothing noticable at all.
This turned out to be the most wonderful cake I have ever baked .... too soft .... I pressed a piece with a finger and it slowly rose up again!
And when I bit into it, I was taken back to my childhood .... when Bapi ( Dad ) would get a Fruit cake everytime he went to Calcutta on a bussiness trip. I used to pick out the raisins then .... I still do from other cakes .... but this time I savoured every bit.
I just closed my eyes and was back home in the chilling winters .... holidays ..... school chapel .... a singing choir ... the nativity scene .... friends yelling out "Haaaaaappy Holidays!" .... Sisters smiling indulgently when we asked for an extra piece of chocolate cake from the Convent .... and asking us to be good in the holidays and not to trouble our parents .....
Oh! I can go on and on and on .....
Instead .... here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful and Happy New Year 2010 !!
Stay well ... stay warm ... stay happy ... and savour the love and happiness of your dear ones around you!! :-)
Good cheer to all of you .... c'ya all soon!