Recently I stood in Half Way Tree in an eternally long ABM line. Observing the traffic both on the road and in the plaza (mall) and realized that Christmas was upon us. In light of that I figured I would share a few of my mother’s and other women I know with really great Christmas recipes. Fruitcakes are an integral part of the Jamaican Christmas experience. Even in houses where mommies didn’t bake or cook for that matter, they always had cakes and sorrel at home for when the inevitable visitors stopped by. I still have fond childhood memories of being the official mixer, to which I always got a stern warning every year.
“Nuh change the direction yu a mix in or yu a go spoil mi cake!”
The kitchen was always warm and filled with the aroma of cakes or meats and other traditional Christmas foods. I never liked the taste of batter but my little sister went crazy for it so instead of batter as payment for my labours, I’d get the tester cake. This is a really small cake one would bake usually before to ensure that everything was satisfactory. But in my house the tester cake was usually the last to get baked partly because my mother made it from the leftover batter and also as an incentive to get me to wash the dishes. So without further delay her is the recipe (please just don’t tell my mother I gave it to you).
2 cups flour
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup (250g) soft margarine
1 cup (250g) sugar
250g (1/2 pound) soaked raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ cup mixed peel blended
125g (4 ozs) cherries
125g (1/4 pound) prunes chopped
2 cups Tia Maria
2 cups red wine
1 cup sherry
1 cup brandy
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Finely grated rind of 1 lime/lemon
2-3 tablespoons browning
1. Cream margarine, sugar and browning until soft and very fluffy.
2. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
3. Sift all dry ingredients and combine bread crumbs. Add to cream mixture alternately with wet (wine, brandy etc.)
4. Add browning and fold in soaked fruits
5. Pour into greased, (Optional) lined 9” round cake pan
6. Bake at 3500F for 1 ½ hours (or just stick a clean knife in the center of the cake when it smells really nice if it comes out clean then the cake is done).
Oh yeah I forgot to mention the fruits used in our traditional fruit cakes are usually soaking in rum or what ever booze of choice for about a year before. If you don’t have that luxury, fruits can be boiled for a short time then left in water to cool. Strain and place fruits in rum and wine mixture. The important thing is that the fruits are blended out properly. So go try it and tell me all about how your Fruit Cakes turned out babies and what substitutions you made if any.
As always sending my seen. babies lots of sunshine and hugs till next time.