Christmas is incomplete without a traditional fruitcake and the best kind are those baked at home with lots of love (and butter;) ) ! I’ve tried my hand at baking both rum and alcohol-free cakes and both are unique in their own way. This recipe here is non-alcoholic, needs no prior soaking and is my Indian twist to the English fruitcake. It has a lovely aroma and the essence of chai (tea) and spices in every bite – this is what chai lovers’ dreams are made of! These decadent cakes also make for a great holiday breakfast meal while you give the usual banana bread a break! So make my tried and tested chai fruitcake recipe and tag us on instagram! Let us know how you like it!
For soaking the dry fruits & nuts:
- Tea decoction – 1 cup
- Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Chopped dates – ½ cup
- Raisins – ½ cup
- Blackcurrants – ½ cup
- Dried cranberries or chopped plums – ¼ cup
- Dried apricots – ¼ cup
- Crushed pineapple (optional) – ¼ cup
- Chopped Mixed nuts – ¼ cup
- Candied ginger or minced raw ginger – 2 tablespoons
For the cake:
- Unsalted butter – 1 cup (softened at room temperature)
- Dark Brown sugar – 1 cup
- Eggs – 4
- Vanilla essence – 2 teaspoons
- All purpose flour (maida) – 2 cups
- Ground cinnamon – 2 tablespoons
- Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
- Honey – 2 teaspoons
- Prepare the dry fruits – The tea needs to be strong, 3 teaspoons of tea should suffice. In a large saucepan, heat the tea decoction and add in the sugar along with all the dried fruits, nuts and ginger. Gently mix so the decoction combines well with the dried fruits. Let it simmer on low heat for 2 minutes and turn off the stove. Let the fruits soak while you prepare the cake batter.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius). Line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper/butter paper and keep aside.
- Prepare the wet ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric hand mixer until pale in color & fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat well. As you beat the butter and sugar mixture, slowly incorporate the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition being mindful to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often. Pour the vanilla essence into the mixture and combine. If using pure vanilla extract, a couple of drops would suffice. Beat on high speed for a few seconds until the mixture is fluffy and bubbly.
- Incorporate the dry ingredients – Now is the time to add in your dry ingredients to the batter. Measure and add in the flour, cinnamon and baking soda all at once into the egg, sugar & butter mixture and using the electric mixture combine well until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth and creamy. This shouldn’t take long.
- You will know that the dry fruits have soaked up all the tea when there is no decoction left in the pan as you scoop up the fruits. Transfer the dry fruits to the cake batter and now using a spatula gently combine until the fruits are evenly incorporated. Be careful not to overmix!
- A little tip – before adding in the soaked fruits, sprinkle a bit of flour over them and combine until the flour coats the fruits. This will help the fruits not to sink to the bottom of the cake while baking! This tip was from my grandfather. 🙂
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothen the top and bake for 1 hour until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. Be mindful of the baking time as each oven varies. If you’re using a 28 litre OTG or less, reduce the baking time to 30-40 minutes (preheating is not necessary). Or if you’re using ovens that are 40-70 litres or more, 1 hour baking time would be ideal.
- Brush the top of the cake with honey and let it cool before slicing as the cake turns out moist and might crumble when you cut while it’s hot. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Lasts up to a week. Refrigeration is not advisable as the butter will firm up and make the cake hard. Enjoy your Christmas season!