If you are in the mood for baking a rich & hearty Christmas Special Plum Cake, then you have to soak the dried fruits & nuts beforehand. In this post, I am sharing two different ways of soaking fruits & nuts for Christmas recipes. One with alcohol, and the second without alcohol using fruit juices. Also, read which fruits & nuts are to be soaked, and for how long.
It is that time of the year when we usher in the festive moments of Christmas with the annual Christmas Cake Mixing Ceremony. While most of us are still hung up on the recently concluded series of Hindu festivals like Durga Puja and Diwali, the city is already gearing up for the upcoming winter merriment.
Christmas Cake Mixing Ceremony: A Brief History
Today it is very common to hear and see various establishments organizing a grand Cake Mixing ceremony at their end, with the city who’s who in its attendance. But this was not always like this.
In early England, Cake Mixing for Christmas began during the harvest season, which is roughly two months prior to Christmas. During this time of the year, different types of nuts and fruits were available which had to be preserved for future use. One among the several ways was to soak them in whatever liquor was available at home. This was done in order to increase the shelf life of these nuts and fruits so that they can be eaten for the next year till another harvest comes.
For cakes, these nuts and fruits were left to soak for two months along with a generous amount of honey and spices like ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamoms, etc. Since, in English society, no Tea is served without a slice of cake, this ritual of Christmas cake mixing was done in every household. It used to be a simple family affair without much ado to it. Today, although a normal Indian household would seldom carry out a Christmas Cake Mixing ritual, however, it is celebrated with quite a fanfare at the luxury hotels in the city.
Bake Your Traditional Christmas Plum Cake At Home – How to soak fruits & nuts for Christmas baking
Planning to bake your own Plum cake this year? Then make some time now for your own Cake Mixing Ceremony at home. Mix some dried fruits like Cashew, Raisins, Sultanas, Almond, Black Currant, Apricot, Fig, and Orange peel with ground spices like Cinnamon, Clove, Mace, Nutmeg and Cardamom. Now, soak them in your choice of liquor, like Brandy, Whiskey, Rum, or Vodka. Let them soak in a cool dry place for at least 15 days before you start baking with them.
If you are planning to bake a good number of cakes for your family and friends, soak the fruits and nuts accordingly. You can use these Rum-soaked Dried Fruits & Nuts to bake traditional Christmas Plum Cakes like this, click for the recipe.
Related Read: Most Popular Rum Brands in India which won’t burn a hole in your pocket
Want to bake Christmas Plum Cake without alcohol? Then soak your dried fruits & nuts in Orange juice or Apple juice, instead. In this way, the Plum Cakes you bake would be perfectly suitable for kids as well.
Want to bake Eggless Christmas Plum Cake? If you want to bake eggless Plum Cakes this Christmas, then you have the recipe here. It is perfectly crumbly, flavoured with spices and stuffed with dry fruits & nuts.
If you are in mood for baking a rich & hearty Christmas Special Plum Cake, then you have to soak the dried fruits & nuts beforehand. In this post, I am sharing two different ways of soaking fruits & nuts for Christmas recipes. One with alcohol, and second without alcohol using fruit juices. Also, read which fruits & nuts are to be soaked, and for how long.
- ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
- ¼ cup Raisins
- ¼ cup Chopped Dried Cranberries
- ¼ cup Chopped Cashew Nuts
- ¼ cup Chopped Almonds
- 2 tbsp Candied Orange Peel
- 1 tbsp Ginger Grated
- ½ tsp Nutmeg Powder
- ½ tsp Clove Powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 1 Qrt Dark Rum I have used brands like Old Monk, Bacardi Black Rum in the past
- 1 Qrt Vodka Any Brand – Neutral Flavor
- 1 Qrt Whiskey Any Brand
- 200 ml Orange Juice
- 200 ml Apple Juice
Take a Glass Jar big enough to hold the dried fruits.
Now, put all the dried fruits & nuts in the jar. Add the spices, grated Ginger and candied Orange peel. Shake everything so that it mixes up nicely.
Now, if you are soaking the fruits & nuts in alcohol, then fill ⅓rd of the jar with each variety of alcohol, like ⅓rd with Rum, then next ⅓rd with Vodka and rest with Whiskey.
Close the lid and give it a good shake.
If you are using fruit juice then, simply fill the jar with Orange juice or Apple Juice or both. It totally depends upon your taste and availability of juices with you.
Again, once the fruits & nuts are soaked in the juice, close the lid and give it a shake.
Now, keep this jar closed (preferably air-tight) in a dark and cold place. You may also refrigerate it, at least for 15 days.
Give it a quick shake every 2-3 days so that everything get soaked equally.
Protips for soaking dried fruits & nuts for Christmas Plum Cakes:
- You may use any kind of nuts to soak. The variety I have mentioned isn’t exclusive. So, you may even omit any kind or add any other kind for your soak.
- Minimum period of soaking should be 2 weeks. Optimum would be 2 months. I soak for 1 year.
- Use only glass jar as the acids in the liquid would react with metal containers and would make it poisonous.
- Regarding choice of alcohols, you can be creative. You may use any or combination of Dark Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Scotch, Gin, etc. Often I have used the leftovers in the bottles to soak. In this way, I don’t have to buy new bottles and I am able to finish the old stocks.
Cake Mixing Ceremony At The Park, New Delhi
The Park, New Delhi never fails to make any occasion grand. In association with KitchenAid, the International Brand for Kitchenware and Appliances, this luxury property organised its annual Cake Mixing Ceremony at its award-winning restaurant, Fire.
On this occasion, the Executive Chef of Fire Restaurant, Chef Abhishek Basu and his team demonstrated four easy season’s special recipes like Italian classic Tiramisu, Gluten-free Flourless Chocolate Cake, season’s favourite Plum Pudding and Mince Pie. Chef Basu and his team made the session lively with his witty quips and interaction with the audience. Throughout the session, he happily obliged the questions put up the guests and shared many of his baking tips & tricks.
The recipe demonstration session was quickly followed by the Cake Mixing Ceremony where the hotel staff brought in a large number of fruits and nuts to be soaked in a variety of liquor, including Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Brandy, Wine, to name a few. Quickly hands dipped in these alcohol mixed fruits to give them a proper shuffle, and the entire room became aromatic with the spices which went along with everything into the mix. A single snuffle was enough to make one go dizzy with the thought of these fruits going into the oven and coming out as a rich and luxurious Christmas Plum Cake.