The best thing about the holiday season is probably the wide range of alcoholic cakes. The booze in the cakes not only keeps you warm, but also keeps you happy. And when two nice things meet, the result is simply amazing.
The history of alcoholic cakes, especially fruit cakes will take you back to the Victorian times. Fruit cakes would be made well in advance during the holiday season and would be stored in cheesecloths soaked in brandy. Over time, these cloths would be re-soaked in brandy and then wrapped around the cakes to keep them moist.
There are three techniques to using alcohol in cakes. The first is to use dry fruits soaked in rum, the second is to either use a cheesecloth soaked in rum and wrap it around the cake or to make small holes in the cake and pour alcohol in it. The third way is to use both the techniques. It all depends on the area and the traditions.
Traditionally, one only uses dark spirits like rum, whiskey, brandy, cognac and even wine in their Christmas bakes. Dark spirits have a higher sugar content when compared to white spirits. And even after a while, the sugars don’t evaporate and they add to the depth and dimension of the cake.
The concept of an alcohol cake is not Indian. Typically, alcohol was added to cakes in colder regions. In India as such we don’t really require that sort of warmth, but it adds to the taste... so why not?
— As told to Priyanka Praveen
Red Wine Cake
This cake could well be the tool you need to make lots of friends over Christmas; but it could also double up as the friend you seek on a lonely night.
- 250 gm butter
- 250 gm castor sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- � tsp baking powder
- 100 gm semi sweet chocolate chips
- 150 ml red wine
- 25 gm cocoa powder
- 225 gm flour
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180�C. Sieve together the flour and baking powder and keep aside. In a large bowl begin by beating the butter and sugar together. When it looks light and fluffy, add the eggs one by one and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and chocolate chips and mix well. Add the flour and baking powder mix to the egg and sugar mix and fold in gently. Add the red wine and mix, but not for too long. Add the cocoa powder and mix again. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Rum, fruit and nut cake
Ingredients (For fruits and nuts)
- 750 gm to 1 kg dry fruits and nuts (raisins, dark raisins, seedless dates, pitted prunes, glazed cherries, tutti frutti, orange peel and candied ginger, walnuts and cashew nuts)
- 1 cup rum
- 1 cup caramel syrup (preferably a mixture of sugar and jaggery)
- For the batter
- 500 gm flour
- 250 gm butter
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup caramel syrup
- 1� tsp vanilla essence.
- 1� tsp spice powder prepared by using nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Few finely chopped nuts
Rum soaked fruits
Chop the fruits and nuts mixture into small pieces and marinate them in a mixture of one cup caramel syrup and rum for two weeks, or at least for a few days. Keep mixing on a regular basis.
For the batter
Cream the butter with a blender and add the powdered sugar to it and then add the eggs one at a time and blend properly. Sieve the flour, baking powder and spice powder and add it little by little to the butter-egg mix and start mixing. Add the caramel syrup and mix it thoroughly. Add the vanilla essence and finish mixing the batter properly. To the cake batter add the fruits soaked in rum little by little by folding it in.
Sprinkle little flour in the finely chopped nuts (cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts) and add it to the cake batter bit by bit while mixing. Pre-heat the oven to 180� C. Pour the batter into a greased cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Take out the cake from the oven and let it cool completely.
Using a toothpick, prick the top and sides of the cake and brush with rum. Wrap the cake tightly with cling firm. Slice it after a week.