It's that time of the year once again, the time when many think about their Christmas kitchen and begin their preparations for the season. It's the time when people get on with making pastelles, sorrel, ponche de cr�me and ginger beer and of course, the ubiquitous Christmas cake.
Those of you who prepare in advance are probably thinking about your Christmas cake right about now.
Fruitcake is an enduring tradition here in T&T and many of us have recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. And of course, everyone has his or her own version of the best fruitcake ever.
Here are some delightful fruitcake recipes for you to add to your collection.
OLD FASHIONED FRUITCAKE
1 cup mixed candied peel
2 1/2 cups raisins
2 cups currants
1/2 lb pitted prunes
2 cups pecans or walnuts chopped and toasted
1 cup each red and green glace cherries, halved
1 1/2 cups dark rum (or cherry brandy)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps molasses
2 tsp vanilla
Line two 9x5-inch loaf pans or two nine inch round cake tins with brown paper twice, grease the last layer and flour.
In a large bowl combine mixed peel, prunes, currants, raisins, and cherries pour on rum and let soak for a one-week or overnight, drain and retain alcohol.
Divide fruits into two, mince one half and combine with unminced portion.
Preheat oven to 250F
Combine the rest of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and baking powder.
With electric mixer cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Add vanilla and molasses.
Fold in flour mixture.
Fold in fruit mixture and nuts.
Turn batter into prepared pans and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until a tester comes out clean.
Cool in tins. Pour the retained alcohol from the fruits over cakes after baking.
Makes 2 cakes
LIGHT FRUIT CAKE
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup candied cherries, finely chopped
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, (optional)
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Finely chop fruits.
Grease, line and flour one nine-inch round pan.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about five minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well between additions.
Fold in flour and fruits. Pour batter into a 9-inch round pan.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Cool.
BEST EVER CHRISTMAS BLACK CAKE
1 lb raisins
1/2 lb currants
1/2 lb sultanas
1/2 lb prunes
1/2 lb chopped walnuts
1/4 lb mixed peel
1/4 lb cherries
1 2/3 cups dark rum
1 2/3 cups cherry brandy
1 lb butter
1 lb all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 lb brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon and allspice, mixed
2 tsp mixed essence
Combine rum and cherry brandy and add fruits to mixture. Let soak overnight or up to one week.
Preheat oven to 300F.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour and baking powder, cinnamon and allspice.
Drain fruits and reserve liquid. Chop or mince in food processor.
Add drained fruits to butter and sugar mixture.
Add cut up cherries and nuts.
Fold flour into fruits and butter mixture.
Add mixed essence, mix well.
Grease and line two 9-inch cake pans with waxed paper, grease and floured paper.
Spoon cake batter equally into prepared baking pans.
Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Drizzle extra rum over cake when baked.
Cool in pans before removing.
Makes two 9-inch round cakes.