Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snow, Snow and more Snow: Solution? - A Moist Christmas Fruit cake

I've been in the US for about 6yrs now and have never seen so much snow. It started early yesterday morning and continued for more than a day. Everything is now covered with snow here, in Colorado. My car got stuck in the driveway yesterday and leaving it out was a big mistake. This morning I woke up to find my car completely buried in snow. It took about 4hrs of shoveling and finally my fiance and I managed to pull the car out and clear part of the driveway. As a result of the drifting snow we saw about 3 to 4 feet of snow in some places and it was very difficult clearing it. The amount of snow that most of Colorado received was about 25 inches and in some places, upto 50 inches. That is a lot of snow for one day. The Denver International Airport closed yesterday and will remain closed till about noon tomorrow. There are about 5000 people stuck at the airport and are waiting to reach their destination in time for Christmas. All news channels have been covering this and have also named it "THE HOLIDAY BLIZZARD" but honestly it doesn't feel very holiday at all. Here are a few pictures from this morning.


First look from my garage

A neighbor having a fun ride in his snowmobile

The lump in the middle and the black spot are the only indications of my car.


Finally my car breathes fresh air again

The roads in our community have still not been cleared which simply means, if you don't have a truck you have to stay indoors for a day or two. Staying inside means, I get to finish most of Christmas treats now. Nothing cheers me up better than a freshly baked sweet treat, so decided to make a fruit cake. I baked about 2 big cakes and cut each into halves and packed them to be given as gifts for Christmas to a few friends. This is a simple fruit cake recipe that my mom makes every yr and I've made this for the past couple of yrs. It does not have a dark color to it, as it uses normal sugar instead of brown sugar (which I've never seen in Indian shops). I did make a few changes to the cake but for the most part its the exact same recipe as my mom's. I soaked the dry fruits in brandy for about 3 days and added a cup of orange juice, 3hrs before baking. This ensures that the fruits become very moist. Also the liquid can be used for brushing the cake after baking.



Ingredients:

Flour (maida) - 250gm
Sugar - 250gm
Butter - 250gm
Eggs - 5 (I used 6 eggs to compensate for the high altitude baking)
Vanilla essence - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp (for coating the baking pan)
Maida - 2 tbsp (for coating the baking pan and sprinkling on the fruits)
Candied fruits/peels, Chopped dates, raisins & dried plums - 2 cups
Fruit flavored liquor or brandy or orange juice - 1 cup

Method:

Soak the chopped fruits in liquor or rum or orange juice for two to three days. Drain the fruits and sprinkle a tbsp of flour on top, as this stops the fruits from sinking to bottom of the cake while baking. Save the drained liquid for latter use. Beat together, room temperature butter and sugar till creamy (about 15min). I use powdered sugar as it mixes fast with the butter. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating till all the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is creamy (about 10min). Add the vanilla essence and mix. Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt. This helps to prevent lumps. Fold in the flour mix to the wet creamy mixture in small batches. Finally fold in the fruits and bake in a 350F oven. Baking time depends on the size of your baking pan (about 20-30min usually). Bake till the top surface of the cake turns light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Finally after the cake cools down, you can brush it with the saved drained liquor. This adds moisture to the cake. You can continue brushing the cake with the liquor for a couple more days and that helps it stay fresh longer.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Thats a lot of snow! saw this on the news. Stay indoors and have fun.

Merry X'mas and happy new year.

Manisha said...

Thought of you this morning and wondered how you were doing. Stuck in your own driveway is much better than stuck out on the streets somewhere. Good thing you made it home!

We dug out a lot of cars as various neighbors made it home taking them 2-3 hours instead of the usual 20-30 minutes. We made tracks and got several cars into their driveways and garages! Every time a car got stuck, out came everyone with picks and shovels - it was like a challenge! We didn't want to leave any cars in the street! Our street got 'plowed' today. There's as much snow on the streets as there was before it came through!

The kids are all off from school as Boulder Valley School District closed for winter break. We were lucky that we didn't have to scramble to school to pick them up. They had a blast in the snow, despite the wind, and an even better time today - sledding and playing in the snow.

Stay warm and keep baking all those goodies!

Asha said...

Hey Deepz.Glad to hear that you are in one piece!:D We used to live in MN,we have seen worse.-60 wind chill in 1995 blizzard,very dangerous.Nothing in NC,temp in 50s!
Fruit cake looks wonderfully moist! Soaked in Brandy sounds for this weather!:))Have fun,happy hoildays.

Deepz said...

Anonymous: Thanks. Merry Christmas and Happy New Yr to you too.

Manisha: Yup too much snow all arnd but the kids r definitely having fun. I had to come to work today and got stuck again but all the main roads r pretty clear. So what r ure plans for the holidays?

Asha: Happy holidays to you too. I lived in Minneapolis for about 3yrs before moving to Colorado and I know how cold it can get in Minn. Here the cold was not too bad but the amount of snow that was dumped was difficult to remove. I would still prefer CO to MN cos the sun shines almost every other day here.

Manisha said...

Hey Deepz, my sister and her family arrive from NJ tomorrow and will be here till the 31st. I'm hoping to be able to finally bake a fruitcake using Archana's recipe. I dropped the dry fruits that I had soaking in OJ and whisky for 3 days, on the day of the blizzard. I was able to get more stuff only this weekend so I'm hoping that this time, things won't go wrong. Although yesterday they almost did. My microwave gave up as I was heating the dry fruits in OJ and the door wouldn't open. Luckily it was not a disaster as we were able to force the door open and since the stores were still open, I got a snazzy new microwave! Yay!

Loved the diamond cuts and ribbon pakodas. I love ribbon pakodas!

Merry Christmas to you and your fiancé!

gayu said...

Thanks for sharing this receipe. This was a big hit. Awesome