It’s raining buckets in Mumbai. And it’s wet most of the time. Always calling out for a hot drink and something good to eat. Fruit cake. An old school and classic cake that can never go out of fashion or never be less tasty.
We alternate between sweet and savory. If we make some sandwiches or fritters or pakodas to go with tea once, then the next tea time calls for something sweet.
And then we need to think about the Calories and the health benefits. Something sweet cannot be beneficial ,so we can’t let it be bad either . We make simple cakes with the minimal ingredients and maximum taste.
I have two versions of this cake. The first one, is the one that I made with a whole lot of candied citrus fruit and the other one that I made with simple candied fruits, warm toned candied fruits with the hint of winter…to be precise . As that was made with whole wheat, that deserves a separate post altogether . Let’s start with the simple Fruit Cake with all purpose flour or maida.
I have used candied fruit – orange slices, baby lemons and baby oranges along with a whole lot of Cranberries ,some Desi tutti frutti( which is candied and coloured white pumpkin) And also some food dyed green pomello peels. I also added cashew nuts because they are sweet and they almost melt within the cake.
This is a very simple cake which I bake in a loaf tin just because it’s easier to slice.
Serve with a cup of tea or a cup of coffee ,it’s a perfect foil, for the warm scented spices that we use in Masala chai and an absolutely fabulous compliment to my espresso and Cafe lattes.
I’ve used Cinnamon , a pinch of pepper and nutmeg in this cake. You can, of course omit them or use spices of your own choice . I tried using star Anise powder once ,and was not very happy with the result . Like I said, feel free to use your own combination of spices.
Start by chopping up all the candied fruit and nuts into small pieces place them in a large bowl .
Sift over, the all purpose flour, baking powder and the spice powder mix in the chopped fruits and nuts. Add in the sugar. Grinding the sugar is a good idea because it mixes easily. You can also use raw cane sugar, but white works well. Even icing sugar will do.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Be sure to leave and overhang which allows you to simply lift the cake out. You may of course, use around tin- you will need a 7 inch round tin for this cake.
Mix in the oil lightly into the flour mix. It will be a dry crumbly mix – don’t work it too much …we have to add in the buttermilk mix.
In a bowl place buttermilk and mix water into this . Add in the soda bicarb or baking soda and mix well now top with the vinegar. It must fizz.
Stir quickly and pour over the flour. Now slowly ,slowly add in the water and mix lightly into a batter .Don’t mix too fast or vigourously ….you will end up deflating the batter and cake will not rise as much and be as soft as it should be.
Slowly and carefully pour the batter into your prepared tin . Tap it a couple of times on the countertop and slide into the oven to bake
The cake needs at least 5 minutes on 180 degrees and then reduce the heat to 160 degrees and leave the cake to bake for about 45 to 50 minutes . Check by inserting a toothpick or skewer in the centre to see if the cake is done .
Remove the cake from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack to cool and pull out the cake by simply lifting the overhang of the parchment Paper . Allow the cake too cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before you slice it open.
If you are like us , the wait… that will be the most difficult part …so the first slices will appear slightly damp and once the cake cools down it will firm. That is the reason why you should wait for the cake too cool totally . Enjoy the cake with a cup of tea or coffee .
You can also cut small sizes of this cake and toast to make what are known as cake Rusk.
But that is another blog post all together.
I made this cake 4 times in the last 2 weeks . Two cakes went out to friends who absolutely adored the taste of this cake . So what are you waiting for?
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
- 3/4 cup caster sugar ground in the mixie
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 3 tbsp buttermilk
- 2 cups assorted chopped candied fruit and nuts. You can use less too.
- 1 tsp mixed spices. I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp vanilla essence -optional
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Grease and line one loaf tin 8 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
- Place chopped fruits and nuts in bowl.
- Mix in the flour , baking powder , salt, spices and sugar in it.
- Mix in oil or melted butter.
- Whisk the buttermilk in another bowl.
- Add the 1 tbsp water and add in the soda bicarbonate or baking soda.
- Quickly add the vinegar and mix.
- Pour over the oil and flour mix.
- Add in the water and mix lightly into a batter.
- Pour into tin, tap and place in oven.
- After 5 minutes , reduce temperature to 160C and bake 45-50 minutes or till toothpick comes clean.
- Cool on wire rack.
- After 10 minutes, remove cake from tin and let cool on wire rack.
- Slice once cool and enjoy.
- Pepper powder is totally optional. You can omit that too. Oil is better than butter because butter has more moisture. You can use desi ghee or clarified butter or brown butter for a bakery style mawa cake taste.
- If you don't have butter milk, use 3 tbsp milk and add 2 drops of vinegar. Proceed as the recipe asks you to.
- Vanilla essence is optional. Orange essence or orange or lemon zest give a better flavour. The first time i added vanilla because it is generic... but then onwards i add lemon zest.
- I also place some fruit on the top of the batter ,just before i place the tin in the oven, to make the cake look pretty and the nuts and Fruit caramelised .
- This stores well in an airtight container for 2 days outside , but if you wish to keep it for long refrigerate it.
- My mum cuts a few slices and bags them and freezes them.
- Then she removes them to the fridge and enjoys them after the fruit defrost.
- It stays in the frezzer for about 2 months,provided you place them in ziploc pouches.
There’s something very old school and comforting about this cake. It reminds you of the cakes that used to be available in the Bakerys of old, when frostings and fancy cakes were not the order of the day. It is reminiscent of the cutting chai glasses and the battered kettle.