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CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE RECIPE 

There is not a single memory of Christmas without the amazing aroma of Christmas Fruit Cake baking in the house. For my family the Christmas season starts with getting all the ingredients together for baking this old British tradition.  During the winter season having a slice of fruit cake with a cup of tea is the usual breakfast. 

Holidays are all about the traditions, celebrating old ones and creating new traditions. Traditions teach us so much about who we are and what’s important to us. Today I am sharing a tradition that is very close to my heart. I hope you enjoy it!

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE?

The Christmas Fruit Cake is a type of cake made with a simple cake batter with warm spices and loads and loads of variety of dry fruits, candied fruits and a combination of nuts. There are many variations to the Fruit cake in different countries throughout the ages. 

Like many recipes it has evolved depending on availability of ingredients or just preference. Traditional Fruit Cakes are usually round, soaked in a good deal of alcohol to preserve the cake for an extended shelf life. They can also be covered in marzipan or royal icing.

Over the years experimenting and having so much Fruit Cake around Christmas I have gotten to know how my family likes to enjoy the Christmas Fruit Cake. I will share all the details in the notes here.

RECIPE NOTES 

THE TEXTURE OF FRUIT CAKE

Traditionally, the fruit cake was very dense. But I don’t like the cake to be so dense that it feels like you are cutting into fudge. For me it has to have a nice cake crumb that is moist. I have added butter for the flavor and oil which brings moistness to cakes.

ADDITION OF DRY FRUITS & NUTS

This is where you add what you like. You can buy prepackaged candied dry fruit, but I don’t prefer that. Usually, they are just soaked with high fructose corn syrup and all you taste is sugar not the dry fruit. There is no rule that you only have to add a certain combination or variety of dry fruits and nuts. There are many options, so try a few different ones. 

MIX-INS

  • cherries, cranberries add some tartness. 
  • raisins add sweetness.
  • orange flavor from juice, zest or peel works great with warm spice cakes. 
  • add chopped figs, dates, apricots, and crystallized ginger. 
  • almonds, walnuts 

HOW TO PREP DRY FRUITS & NUTS TO THE BATTER

The dry fruit has to be soaked before adding to the cake batter. If it’s not soaked once the cake starts to bake the dry fruit will soak moisture from the batter and that can result in a dry cake. There are few ways you can do this. 

Some people use a variety of brandy or rum to soak the dry fruits overnight, which is the traditional way. I like to use orange juice; you can also use apple juice or cranberry juice. Add the juice of choice over the dry fruits and microwave to warm it up than let it sit for about 20-30 minutes for the dry fruit to soak as much moisture as it can. I boiled the dry fruit and the orange juice together in a small saucepan for a few minutes then turned the heat off and let it rest till the raisins and currants were plump. Soaking overnight is not necessary especially for raisins. Make sure to drain the dry fruit before adding to the batter. For some reason if your cake batter is thinner, you don’t want the dry fruit and nuts to sink to the bottom of the cake as it bakes. You can toss the dry fruit and nuts in some flour before adding to the batter. 

LIGHT BROWN & DARK BROWN SUGAR 

I have made this cake with a combination of light and dark brown sugar and the flavor is great. This time I only used dark brown sugar. This has more molasses, so the flavor is rich, and the cake will have more of a darker brown caramel color. I also added some molasses, again this gives the cake a rich deep flavor. You can leave it out if you don’t have any on hand. I love the deep brown color you get with using the dark brown sugar. As the cake is baking and you think it’s browning too quickly you can cover the cake in foil as it continues to bake. 

BAKING TEMPERATURES

Make sure that your oven is always preheated. I baked at 320 degrees F for 1 hour 25 minutes. Keep in mind all oven temperatures are a little different. So, the baking time can vary. You don’t want to bake it on high, the top will burn, and the center will still be under baked. Towards the end of baking time if you see the cake color is getting too dark you can cover with foil. Cake will be done when you see the sides of the cake pull away from the pan. Also insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, it should come out with no wet batter.

BAKING PAN

I baked this in a 9×5 loaf pan. A 10-inch loaf pan may be too big. Usually, the standard loaf pans are 8×4 or 8×5 any of those should be fine. Line the pan with parchment paper.

HOW LONG DOES FRUIT CAKE LAST?

Like I mentioned before, fruit cake that has been cured or aged with some sort of alcohol will be preserved and can last up to 3 months. But usually, fruit cake has a lot of the dry fruits and nuts and sugar, so it is preserved and won’t spoil that quickly. I keep the fruit cake wrapped in foil and a clean kitchen towel in an airtight container. We enjoy it for a few weeks at room temperature. Since cakes can create rancid flavors and odors, you can refrigerate the fruit cake. 

CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
The Christmas Fruit Cake is a type of cake made with a simple warm spice and loads and loads of variety of dry fruits, candied fruits and a combination of nuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Have all your ingredients ready and measured out. Make sure the butter and eggs are at room temp. Go ahead and line baking pan with parchment paper. I used a handheld mixer.
  • In a small saucepan add orange juice and all the raisins. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes than turn heat off and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until the raisins are plump. Then drain the leftover orange juice and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Keep the rack right in the center of the oven.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and fluffy about 3 minutes.
  • Add the dark brown sugar and beat again till creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs, molasses, vanilla and oil. Beat until combined.
  • Sift in the flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Using a spatula mix until well combined. Batter should be thick.
  • Mix the soaked and drained raisins and the nuts together, than add to the cake batter. Mix well.
  • Pour cake batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. I would recommend that you keep an eye on the cake after 1 hour. If you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean or just with some dry crumbs the cake is done. If it starts to brown to much cover with foil until done. Make sure it's baking on the center rack.
  • Once cool enough to handle take out the cake from pan and let it completely cook before serving or storing it. Keep wrapped in foil and a clean kitchen towel in airtight container. Cake will be easy to slice once cooled using a serrated knife.
  • Enjoy with spread of butter, cream cheese or marmalade.
Author: Shazia
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British

 

 

chocolate chip cookies

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

Delicious easy chocolate chip cookies with a slight crispy edge and chewy center.  Fresh homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies are the next level when it comes to flavor and texture. This recipe is pretty straight forward with basic ingredients.

RECIPE NOTES

BUTTER: Make sure the butter is soft at room temperature and not melted. Before you start, leave the butter out for 1-2 hrs. Even if the butter still has a slight chill that will be fine. 

SUGAR: I have baked these cookies with light and dark brown sugars. I do feel that dark brown gives more flavor and chewiness to the cookies and also adds some color.

ESPRESSO: The instant espresso is optional. I like the flavor of espresso with chocolate, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

EGGS: Before you start baking, leave the eggs out so they can come to room temperature. Addition of the extra egg yolk helps give the cookies the moist chewy texture. 

SHOULD YOU CHILL THE DOUGH?

I did not feel the need to chill the dough. I bake them right away. If you feel the dough is very soft you can refrigerate then bake. You can freeze the dough. Just shape into individual size cookie balls and put on a tray let them freeze just enough to handle them. Then transfer to a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and let them thaw then bake accordingly.  I have not baked cookie dough from frozen.

BAKING TIMES

Do not over bake cookies, even a few minutes past baking time will overtake them. Once baked, take off the hot cookie sheet and cool on the rack. Keep in mind all ovens have a slightly different temperature. I baked these at 375 F. If you feel like your oven is very hot at this temperature, then bake at 350 F.

STORING COOKIES

Keep baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep cookie dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

BEST CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup butter soft at room temperature (leave out 1-2 hrs. to get to room temperature, do not melt)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Keep some extra to top the cookies.)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Mix well and set aside.
  • In separate medium bowl add butter and both sugars. With handheld mixer or stand mixer cream the butter and sugar. That should just take a few minutes, brown sugar can have clumps so mix well.
  • Add vanilla, espresso and eggs and mix well.
  • Now by hand mix in the dry flour mixture and chocolate chips.
  • Place 2 tbsp of cookie dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Top with extra chocolate chips.
  • Oven rack should be in the middle. Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Soon as you take the cookies out gently drop the cookie sheet on the counter few times. This will get rid of any doom that is on the cookies, will make them a little flat and create some crinkles. Cool cookies on a rack.
  • Enjoy them warm and keep in airtight container.
Author: Shazia
Course: Dessert

 

chocolate mousse

4 INGREDIENT COCONUT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE 

Easy decadent dessert with just four ingredients, no heavy cream and eggs. Make this thick, creamy and rich chocolate using coconut cream, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, served with fresh strawberries. 

This is such an easy delicious dessert that looks so elegant when served. It’s also the perfect make ahead dessert for any gathering. 

RECIPE NOTES

COCONUT CREAM: Use full fat coconut cream that has been refrigerated, preferably overnight.  When you scoop out the cream there will be coconut water below, so make sure not to shake the can. You can reserve the coconut water for smoothies.

POWDERED SUGAR: I found that using 1/4 cup of powdered sugar has the perfect amount of sweetness. Keep in mind powdered sugar, confectioner sugar & icing sugar are all similar and either can be used in this dessert. If you get the sweetened can of coconut cream adjust the sugar, you may not need the entire 1/4 cup of sugar.

COCOA POWDER: Cocoa powder you can find in the baking aisle of grocery stores. If you like more chocolate flavor increase the amount. 

GARNISH: I used strawberries but use whatever fruit you like. Raspberries and blueberries would also be great as a garnish. Right before serving sprinkle some powder sugar on the mousse. 

4 INGREDIENT COCONUT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients

  • 2 13.66 oz cans of coconut cream, unsweetened (refrigerated)
  • 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Fresh sliced strawberries for garnish

Instructions 

  • Scoop out the cold coconut cream not the water at the bottom. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  • Using a handheld mixer.
  • Whip with a handheld blender. Whip the ingredients on medium high for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Taste and adjust the cocoa powder or sugar.
  • Pipe or divide into small dessert serving bowls.
  • Garnish with strawberries and powdered sugar before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Video

Author: Shazia
Course: Dessert

 

cupcakes with frosting

LEMON RASPBERRY CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE MASCARPONE WHIPPED FROSTING

I am excited to share one of my favorite combinations of cupcake and frosting.  Homemade lemon cupcakes are soft and moist, with fresh lemon flavor and a burst of raspberries in each bite.  Citrus flavors are perfect for this Spring weather and will make a great dessert for any celebration. 

RECIPE NOTES

When a recipe mentions to have ingredients at room temperature. This means keep these ingredients out on the counter till they reach room temperature. The batter will mix well if all ingredients mentioned are the same temperature. Make sure to use cupcake liners in the cupcake pan.

I used a handheld electric mixer for the batter & frosting.

This recipe makes 12 regular size cupcakes.

HOW BAKE AHEAD & STORE THESE CUPCAKES

Baked cupcakes that have been cooled can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Generally you want to avoid the urge to refrigerate cupcakes, they can dry out quickly.  Cupcakes that have a filling made with eggs or custard should be refrigerated.

Frosting can also be made ahead and kept refrigerated. Keep in mind refrigerated frosting may not be as fluffy as fresh. Let it come to room temperature and then whip it again before frosting the cupcakes. Cheese frostings should be kept refrigerated.

BUTTER: Make sure your butter is not melted for this recipe, just at room temperature. It can take about an hour or little longer for the butter to come to room temperature. Microwaving it can melt it and will not cream well with the sugar.

LEMON: I used the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and it had a perfect lemon flavor. If you like more lemon flavor adjust to your preference or just add less.

BUTTERMILK: I used buttermilk for the batter.  Buttermilk gives baked goods a soft texture. If you don’t have it just use whole milk instead.

RASPBERRIES: Cut the raspberries into chunks so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter once baked. You can also lightly dust the cut raspberries in all-purpose flour before folding them in the batter.

FROSTING DETAILS

CREAM CHEESE: Let cream cheese come to room temperature.  This recipe needs the block cream cheese. 

MASCARPONE CHEESE: This is an Italian cream cheese. It has a lighter texture and the taste is buttery, not as tangy as cream cheese. If you can’t find this you can omit it and just use the full 8 oz. block of cream cheese instead.

HEAVY CREAM: It’s important that the heavy cream is very chilled. If it’s not cold enough it may not whip up well.

POWDERED SUGAR: This is also called confectioners or icing sugar. 

Keep in mind that frosting with whipped cream is not that stable to withhold any decorations like flowers, etc.

I used the Wilton 1M or 2D decorating tips to frost the cupcakes. 

 

LEMON RASPBERRY CUPCAKES W/CREAM CHEESE, MASCARPONE WHIPPED FROSTING

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

CUPCAKE BATTER

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup 170 grams unsalted butter at room temperature (NOT MELTED)
  • 1 cup 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml milk or buttermilk (at room temperature )
  • 6 oz. pack 170 grams fresh raspberries

FOR FROSTING

  • 4 oz. 113 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 8 oz. 226 grams mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup 60 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 cup 250 ml heavy whipping cream, chilled

Instructions 

CUPCAKES

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C). Line a 12 count cupcake pan & set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add lemon zest, juice & egg and mix well. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl add flour, baking soda and salt, whisk well. Now add dry ingredients & the buttermilk or if using milk in increments to the butter and sugar. Mix slowly after each addition.
  • Take half of the raspberries and cut them into chunks, put few tbsp. flour in a bowl and gently toss the raspberries in the flour. Now add the raspberries to the batter and using a spatula gently fold into the batter.
  • Spoon the batter evenly into each liner, don't overfill, about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for about 24-30 minutes. Always check cupcakes for doneness at the minimum baking time because each oven temperature is a little different. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cupcake. If it comes out clean or with few crumbs they are done.
  • Once done take cupcakes out the pan and let them completely cool. If you try to frost warm cupcakes the frosting will melt. Store cooled cupcakes in airtight container for 1-2 days or till ready to frost.

FROSTING

  • In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the whip attachment, whip the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese until mixed well. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl add chilled heavy cream and powdered sugar & whip on high till stiff peaks form. Don't over whip or it can curdle.
  • Using a spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese and mascarpone.
  • Fill a pastry bag with frosting with your favorite pipping tip. Frost the cupcakes. You can also just use a small spatula or butter knife to frost the cupcakes.
  • Garnish each cupcake with a fresh raspberry.

Video

Author: Shazia
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

 

bowl of pudding

Seviyan Kheer is a very popular South Asian dessert.  It’s very similar in taste and texture to a pudding.  The flavors are a delicious combination of milk, heavy cream and vermicelli noodles flavored with cardamom and sugar.  With just a few ingredients you will be surprised how quickly this dessert comes together.  Keep in mind this dessert has many variations across the region.

A delicious Chocolate Cake never goes out of style. I’m taking you back to a simple moist Chocolate Cake with simple ingredients you probably already have. No buttermilk or sour cream is used in this recipe. If you are making this for kids than you don’t have to worry about coffee in a Chocolate Cake.  The cake is frosted with chocolaty, silky smooth Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. This is one of the easiest frosting you will make.

This will be your “go to” Chocolate Cake no matter your baking level. I hope you get to bake this for your loved ones.

Tiramisu is an Italian decadent dessert of espresso-soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone, cream cheese and sweetened whipped cream. Classic Tiramisu is made with eggs, but I am showing you the easy no-bake version, it has bold flavors with simple ingredients. Since it requires no-baking it’s a perfect make ahead dessert and serves a big crowd. I have gotten so many compliments every time I have served this delicious dessert!

berry pie

EASY BERRY BAKED DESSERT

This gorgeous summer dessert is perfect for any occasion. Using seasonal sweet strawberries, raspberries, blueberries & blackberries, baked using a premade pie crust, so it’s simple and fancy.  

This dessert is similar to cobblers, crumbles, crisps & galette. They all are similar to a pie; all have some sort of fruit fillings. Cobblers have a biscuit topping; crisps have oat streusel topping and a crumble is similar to a crisp just without the oats in the topping. Galette is a rustic looking pie, has the pie pastry bottom with fruit piled in the middle and the sides of the pastry folded or wrapped over the fruit, it can be made sweet or savory.

RECIPE NOTES

This recipe is perfect if you are looking for something easy and delicious. This is a great make ahead dessert, because as it sets the juices thicken more. This dessert is delicious served cold or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

PIE CRUST: I used the premade Pillsbury brand pie crust to save time.  It was not frozen; you get 2 pie crusts in 1 pack.  For the top I only used 1 pie crust. If you want thin cut strips for a more detailed design, go ahead and use the 2nd pie crust. Or just use 1 pie and cut strips very thin.

BERRIES: Use different varieties of berries, just make sure the total number of berries is 6 cups. You can definitely use some more berries if you are using a larger baking dish. I have also used frozen berries with this recipe. If the berries are very sweet, cut down on the amount of sugar. 

LEMON JUICE: The lemon juice will soften the berries and also enhance the flavor. 

CORNSTARCH: If you don’t have cornstarch use all-purpose flour. The cornstarch will help thicken all the juices from the berries. 

EGG WASH: This will help caramelize the crust and prevent the pie crust from becoming soggy. 

LATTICE PATTERN: You don’t have to make any pattern. Keep it simple by just cutting the pie crust into strips and any easy pattern. For the lattice pattern please see the recipe box for the details. 

 

EASY BERRY BAKED DESSERT

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 -10

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar (if your berries are not that sweet adjust the sugar. I also like some tartness of the fruit.)
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. any raw coarse sugar for sprinkling

Egg wash

  • 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp. water to brush pastry

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • In a large bowl. Mix the berries with cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Gently mix the berries.
  • Spread this mixture into a lightly greased baking dish close to 11x7 size.
  • Unroll the premade pastry dough. If it's sticking to your surface use some flour.
  • Using a pastry cutter or knife cut into 1/2 inch-1-inch-wide stripes. (Depending on how detailed you want the pattern to be. You don't have to do the (weave) pattern, you could just lay the strips down)
  • Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. Mixture will be bubbly and berry juices will be thick.
  • Serve warm or cold with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

LATTICE PATTERN

  • I kept my rectangle dish in a vertical position.
  • lay the strips diagonally across the berries. Keep some gap in between depending on if you are using 1 or 2 pie crusts. Line the short strips towards the edges and longer strips in the middle.
  • I first made the top half pattern than the bottom.
  • To weave the lattice pattern. Pull back halfway every other strip that you just laid and place a new strip perpendicular to the strips you have down already. Then lay back the strips you first pulled back.
  • Than do the same with the next set of strips, pull back every other strip. Entire surface will be covered in this weave pattern. Trim any edges of the long strips.
  • Make a border using any scrapes with cookie cutter.
Author: Shazia
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

 

 

Summer is not complete unless you have had funnel cakes at least once.  Funnel cakes may seem like it’s a treat only to be enjoyed at fairs/carnivals,  theme parks or board walks at the beach.  But they are actually so easy to make that you can enjoy these fluffy, sugar dusted fried cakes anytime you please.