Everyone is baking Christmas cakes, some boozy, some not so boozy…filled with nuts, preserved fruits and a whole lot of warm spices. Amazing aromas and delicious tasting cakes sure mean Christmas 😋
A traditional Christmas cake is moist, very moreish, filled with rum or whisky soaked dry fruits and preserved fruit peels. These are soaked for over a month or so in advance to incorporate the flavours of the alcohol into the ingredients. These cakes are often served as a large round cake or even at times as petit fours. They could be served as a naked cake, just dusted with some icing sugar. One could even cover them in marzipan or ice them with whipped cream and then decorate them with Christmas embellishments. They all look so pretty! ☃️🎄
However, I have never baked a boozy cake or even a traditional Christmas cake for that matter. I first thought I’d soak all the fruit peels and dry fruits in some orange juice with some whole spices but I wasn’t quiet sure when would I get to actually bake the cake. So I changed the plan and this worked out really well.
I decided to bake a warm and hearty Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake. Some simple and fresh ingredients transformed into this gorgeous cake. I must admit it did turn out better than I had thought. 😊 And the texture was perfect, moist crumb and not very dense.
The addition of Cranberry gives the cake a bit of tartness in every bite that compliments the citrusy notes from the oranges very well. If you wish you omit the Cranberry here, do that or you can replace them with some colourful tutti Frutti or even chopped nuts. I added some warm spices here, feel free to omit them too if you wish. This recipe makes for an excellent summer cake with just the orange flavour or replace Orange juice with some lemon juice.
Yield: a 7″ round cake.
Equipment: an electric whisk, 7″ cake tin, a large mixing bowl, a medium sized mixing bowl, a silicon spatula, cooling rack, baking paper/ parchment paper, measuring cups/ spoons.
2 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
1+1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 nos. large eggs
1 stick/ 100 gms unsalted butter @room temperature
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
icing sugar to dust the cake
Preheat the oven @180’c. Line the base of the tin with parchment paper/ baking paper and grease and dust the sides well.
In a medium size bowl, seive together the flour, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Set it aside. Dust the cranberries with some flour and set them aside.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. I used an electric whisk and it took me about 3-4 mins of whisking. Now add one egg at a time and whisk the butter and sugar mixture with the eggs until light and fluffy once again.
Now, add the seived flour mixture and milk in the egg-butter-sugar mixture alternately and fold the mixture with a silicon spatula. Do not mix with a heavy hand else all the air whisked in the eggs will escape. Then add the orange juice and the cranberries. Mix well.
Pour the batter in the tin and bake @ 170’c using the lower heating rods/ coil for 60 mins approximately or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Note that every oven works differently so keep an eye on the temperature and the duration of the bake.
I prefer baking my cakes low and slow, low temperature takes longer to bake the cake but ensures it rises well without any cracks on the top.
Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and cool it on a rack for 15 mins in the tin, then unmould it and cool it for a further 30 mins. Dust the top with some icing sugar. Slice it and serve. This cake keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
I used these spices, you can choose any spices of your choice.