Bake Along #105 – Srilankan Rich Fruit Cake
Ever since I started baking cakes for Christmas, I wanted to make a traditional native cake. Srilankan Fruit Cake has always fascinated me for more than couple of years now. And I never expected that fascinating dream of mine would come true to its real sense. The thought of having baked the original Srilankan Rich Fruit Cake with the fruits bought from Srilanka itself and using one of the age old traditional recipe that was passed through generations and all of them comes to me through a recent and a cherished bond of friendship. I still cannot believe, I have done this, in this way, and I have nothing else but to feel totally elated. I had goosebumps when I was making the batter and every step I did I couldn’t stop feeling so emotional. If you may not get the crux of what I went through baking this traditional fruit cake, in the way I did, then I really wish, the wave that hit me will hit you one day which I feel is nothing but an accumulation of all the blessings I have
Why is Srilankan Fruit Cake different from the other fruit cakes baked for Christmas. These are totally rich in the first place. There is no flour, instead semolina is used. The fruits used in the cake are slightly different than the ones used in the rest of the other countries where fruits cakes are baked. More than any of these, baking is part and parcel of any Srilankan and every other street in Srilanka has tonnes of everything that is needed for baking. Traditional baking is still being part of the native srilanka and personally what attracts me most to the country is its people, the tamils in Srilanka and their humane quality is impeccable. I am driven to them naturally, if I know they are from that country, firstly because I know they are bakers by birth and secondly because I love for what the people they are. Because can u believe, I am going to share to the world, some secret recipe that a family was using for years together and just because I was good friend for some unknown reason which I am still struggling to find out!!
Ginger preserve, pumpkin preserve, chow chow preserve – the thought of adding these into my cake took me to a fairy land full of soaked fruits in alcohol, caramel and lot of spices . I had more than a year old fruits soaking in my original method of soaking and these three fruits which were from Srilanka, soaked and preserved. Adding jam into the batter is another thing I love about this recipe. And finally, why I love this so much because eggs are separated and whites are foamed up and added finally, which by all means is a lovely cake to me.
Recipe source: Lovely friend from Srilanka
- Cashew nuts – 400 gms
- Strawberry Jam / Apricot Jam – 350 gms
- Raisins – 350 gms
- Sultanas – 350 gms
- Ginger preserve – 200
- Glaze cherries – 200 gms
- Candied peel – 200 gms
- Pumpkin preserve – 200 gms
- Chow chow preserve – 200 gms
- Blackcurrants – 200 gms
- Brandy – 150 ml
- Vanilla extract – 2 tablespoons
- Almond extract – 2 tablespoons
- Semolina – 700 gms
- Granulated white sugar – 700 gms
- Salted butter – 350 gms
- Lemon zest – out of 2 lemons
- Egg yolks – 20
- Egg whites – 10
- Spice mix + – 2 teaspoon
+Spice mix – Take equal portions of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, grated dry ginger and grated nutmeg. Process them in a food processor along with a teaspoon of granulated white sugar. Sieve and store the fine powder.
1. Chop all the fruits into smaller pieces. As small as you can. The dark ones in the picture are those that I have soaked more than a year back and the lighter ones are the preserves from Srilanka.
2. Mix all the chopped dried fruits together and add the jam, vanilla extract and almond extract into it. Mix it thoroughly.
3. Add chopped cashew nuts into the fruit mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Add the brandy and mix thoroughly using your hands until completely blended. Soak it for few days upto a year or until needed to bake.
5. To start baking the cake – Add butter into the bowl of your electric beater. Beat on medium high speed and beat for 5 minutes until the butter becomes light and fluffy.
6. Add the sugar and beat again for 5 minutes on medium high speed until the mixture becomes pale and creamy.
7. Add the yolks one at a time and beat for about a minute after the additional of each yolk. Scrap down the sided of the bowl in between.
8. Add the spice mix powder and beat on medium speed until well combined.
9. Add lemon rind and beat on medium speed until combined well.
10. Add the roasted semolina into the fruit mixture.
- Add the prepared batter into the fruit mixture on top of the just added semolina.
12. Mix it thoroughly using a huge laddle.
13. Add egg whites in a clean, dry stainless steel bowl.
14. Beat on medium high speed until egg whites become frothy.
15. Add the frothy egg whites into the batter and mix it gently until combined.
16. Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tins, filling the pans 3/4th full.
17. Bake in pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 140 degree C, until the cake is light brown and has a firm top. Cool on wire rack.
Once completely cooled, bast the cake with a thin coat of brandy and cover it up with cling wrap in 2 layers. Store in room temperature and a dark place for 4 to 5 day minimum to upto several months. They get better and better as it matures with each day.
You serve the cake by slicing them in desired size that you want to serve or gift. Each slice is nicely wrapped, as tightly as possible using butter paper and again gift wrapped. You can also add a layer of almond icing, which is basically marzipan. They are all good by themselves too. I love how the flavor blends with each other including the spices and alcohol. You can definitely not gobble up one piece in one go. You might have to eat them up in small pinch of piece at a time. You may not have heard something of this sort, or you may not understand if you haven’t ever tried this before. But you will know why something in the world is expected to get over very slowly and that small piece of gift when being given to others or being received by us, is one of the nicest thing that can happen over this season.