Friday, December 24, 2010

Last minute Golden Crimbly Cake...

Ta dah...my last minute Christmas Cake...isn't she pretty!!
Most Christmas (Crimbly as one would say colloquially in Blighty) are made months ahead and are well treated and ‘fed’ the occasional spot of whiskey or brandy…this little delight is made only a couple of days before…or today, Christmas Eve, or even tomorrow Christmas Day…the smell would be delightful coming from your toasty little oven.

Here is the recipe adapted from a Saveur article a few years ago about Truman Capote's short story called “A Christmas Memory” a delightful read for when you have a mo and a nice hot cup of tea. This cake is almost a combination of steamed pudding and regular fruit cake…very moist and heavy with fruits…YUM. The quality of the cake will depend almost solely on the quality of your dried fruits so try to find really nice plump ones, maybe at your local health food store or food co-op.
Assembling the ingredients
INGREDIENTS:

A goodly combination of dried fruits adding up to 2 1/4 cups/about 1lb …I used cherries, pineapple with low sugar (has more pineapple flavour) candied citron…YES I found this at the Belfast Coop, never had candied citron before but it is very nice...subtle, not so lemony and quite floral…(you could easily substitute candied lemon and orange peel), sultanas/white raisins and crystallized ginger but your favourite combination will do.

½ cup very strong, hot tea…or an alcohol of your choice, the recipe called for Grand Marnier, I prefer tea as that is more traditional for an English Christmas Cake.

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice…about 1 good sized lemon.

To start the ball rolling put all the dried fruits together and toss in the tea and lemon juice and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature to allow the fruits to plump and infuse.

Multiple Other ingredients:
¾ cup/4oz broken nutmeats…I used pecans

½ cup/2oz unbleached white flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon garam masala…a lovely Indian spice with a little kick…if don’t have this or don’t want to try it please use cinnamon and mace

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup/1oz white breadcrumbs

2 eggs whisked and at room temperature

½ cup/4oz (weight not volume) sour cream

½ cup/4oz sugar

1 stick/4oz butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract

1 teaspoons grated lemon zest

And so we begin: Pre heat oven to 350F
  1. Toast nutmeats in a low oven for a couple of minutes until fragrant.. be careful not to burn…they go very quickly when they go, leave to cool completely before you use them.
  2. Generously grease and flour a 6 1/2” (mine is 3” deep) diameter baking pan, 4 cup capacity, and cut a circle of parchment/greased proof paper to put in the bottom of the pan to help you extricate the cake at the end.
  3. Sift flour, salt and spices together and put in a bowl with the breadcrumbs…stir together.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Gradually beat the eggs into butter and sugar mix, dribble by dribble until all incorporated.
  6. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
  7. Fold in dry ingredients in two batches plus lemon zest.
  8. Fold in fruit and liquid mix until well blended, I actually found my mixture looked somewhat curdled because of the amount of liquid ingredients but don’t worry…it will all come together in the baking.
  9. Spoon into chosen baking receptacle cover with another round of parchment/greased proof paper and pop into your pre heated oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the very depths of the cake comes out clean…I didn’t cook mine quite long enough…I took it out at 1 ½ hours so I have added an extra 15 minutes for yours.
  1. Leave in baking pan for about ½ hour before unmolding.
  1. Cool before eating with a nice strong cup of tea or an adult beverage of your choice.

Before she goes into the oven...bad photo sorry!!

The inside of the cake...looking a little squishy in the middle so make sure yours is cooked all the way through.

Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy Baking!!!
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