Quick fruit cake (boiled fruit cake)!

“Oh, these people’s minds work in strange ways, Petunia, they’re not like you and me,” said Uncle Vernon, trying to knock in a nail with the piece of fruitcake Aunt Petunia had just brought him.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 

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I haven’t really made fruit cakes until now. And not because I was worried my husband would use them to knock nails in! 

Because I don’t like dried fruits. Yup. I am the person who orders the sundaes which don’t have chopped nuts on top , the one who meticulously picks out all the raisins from my kheer and the one who wrinkles her nose at dates. I have never really enjoyed a slice of christmas or fruit cake. One of the things people find strange about me!

But I realised with all the people writing in for the last few months , that I couldn’t keep away from the fruitcake this Christmas! Hey , change is good !

I also realised another disturbing piece of truth . Making a true christmas fruit cake required a level of commitment and patience that was probably not for me. For best results , fruits need to be soaked months in advance.  Months. I am the kind of person who decides to make a chicken sandwich, opens the fridge , sees no chicken , sees egg , decides to make egg sandwich , searches kitchen , finds no bread , makes an omelette. I am also the kind of person who simply HAS to make a layer cake at 12.15 in the night. See the problem here? If there is anything stored or jarred  in my kitchen for months , you can bet that it is an un-intentionally forgotten jar of something and is probably growing new kinds of mold as we speak. 

quick or boiled fruitcake

So when I read about this fast version of fruitcake – the boiled christmas cake or boiled fruitcake , I was so glad. Instead of soaking fruits in liquor or juice for long durations, the dry fruits are given a quick plumping up by boiling with water , sugar and butter. The eggs and flour mixed right in , so you don’t need to bother with creaming or beating. It bakes up in a fraction of the time that the traditional plum cake does.

I thought perfect ! Lets make a fruitcake for lazy and last minute people like me . Lets rephrase that. Lets make a fruitcake for impulsive bakers who are short on time (like me ?) . I didn’t have to look further than Joy of Baking‘s recipe , Stephanie is really a Godsend for all bakers (lazy or otherwise!). I followed her recipe almost as is , just used a mix of dried prunes , cranberries , golden raisins and black raisins for the boiling and then chucked in some candied fruit. For spices , I used only cinnamon and that too not a whole lot as we don’t like our cakes very spiced. I also baked it in a square pan as I thought squares would be easier to dole out at work and it also bakes up a lot quicker. Choose fruits , spices and pan of your choice ! 

Everything about this cake seems strange. The name for instance – “boiled” cake? Doesn’t exactly sound appetising huh? The manner of making it is weird  and the batter looks funny enough that you say a little prayer before popping it into the oven. This couldn’t possibly become a  cake. But it does. And delicious cake at that.

And when a self-professed dry-fruit-hater calls a fruitcake delicious , how could you not want to try it!

Quick fruit cake (boiled fruit cake)
Serves 16
A fast and delicious fruit cake that needs no alcohol or soaking !
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Ingredients
  1. 250 grams or about 2 cups dried fruits (raisins , prunes, plums , berries etc)
  2. 50 grams or 1/4 cup candied fruit or fruit peel (tutti fruity)
  3. 200 grams or 1 packed cup brown sugar
  4. 56 grams or 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  5. 240 ml or 1 cup water
  6. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 185 grams or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  10. 1 tsp baking soda
  11. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F. Butter or grease an 8 inch square tin . Dust well with flour and line bottom with parchment .
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt , baking soda and cinnamon . Keep aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Keep aside.
  4. In a saucepan , measure out the dried fruit , sugar , butter and water. On high heat , bring to boil.
  5. Once the butter melts and the mixture is boiling , simmer on low heat for 10 minutes , stirring occasionally.
  6. Take off heat and let cool down for few minutes.
  7. Add in the candied fruit if using.
  8. Add the whisked eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  9. Add the flour and mix until you have a thick flow batter.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 28 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and unmould to cool completely on wire rack.
Notes
  1. This cake is best eaten the next day and can be stored wrapped well for 10 days or longer.
  2. If you wish , you can feed (brush) the cake with rum or orange juice .
  3. Make sure your fruit are chopped small or they will sink to the bottom (like some of my plums have!).
  4. Also make sure they are deseeded !
  5. You can cool the boiled mixture completely but if you'd rather not wait that long , cool for few minutes. Keep whisking as you add eggs so they don't get cooked . Add the flour immediately after the eggs are incorporated.
  6. You can increase the spices to upto 3-4 tsp and use cinnamon , powdered ginger , powdered clove, mixed spice etc.
http://floursandfrostings.com/
quick or boiled fruitcake

First things first .. this cake is NOT as rich or dense as a traditional fruit cake.  And I realised the pictures of my fruitcake squares are far from festive . That said , its an easier version for a beginner to try and a much quicker one for anyone else. ! Its moist and has a great texture and flavour. It is definitely tasty and fruity enough for  any fruitcake connoisseur. 

For the non- believers , I will probably be trying my hands at a more traditional christmas cake soon – richer and boozier. Let me go soak my fruits now so I don’t change my mind. You better go boil yours and get back to me.. Happy baking all!

 

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