A few years ago, a visit to Door County, Wisconsin, during the holiday season threw up some wonderful possibilities. The lake was a sheet of glass, the twinkling lights were everywhere, trees adorned with glimmering ornaments towered over us, the aromas of cinnamon and cocoa swathed us in a warm embrace everywhere we went, sparks flew from the hearth where wood was burning to a blue-tinged glow, and everything seemed fairytale-like.
Up for sampling one evening was a range of baked goodies, and a slice of fruitcake was naturally the strongest contender. It was there that we learnt that there was something called “holiday cake weather,” as dictated by the chiming of a distant church bell, clear as crystal as it cut through the cold air, with no bird call interruptions.
It isn’t often that you happen upon such details, and it’s these little things that make experiences richer and more fulfilling. We’ve had our share of Christmas cake samples around the world, and we carry slices of the stories that made them on our backs and into our kitchens, where the ovens are fired up for the annual tradition.
It’s never too late to bake a holiday cake or start a new tradition, and here’s a simple one that you can try this Christmas. You can serve it for New Year’s too, if you please. It’s a whole wheat fruit ‘n nut cake, moist, crumbly and just a touch cinnamony. Right now, we’re not just revisiting a holiday memory, but also a few recipes that have been tweaked and turned a little, to arrive at this one.
Season’s greetings to all!
Whole Wheat Fruit ‘n Nut Bundt Cake
(Makes 1 Bundt cake)
- 3 cups Whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered jaggery
- 1 cup organic/ sulphur free sugar, powdered
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 orange rind, cleaned and chopped fine
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup almond and pecan pieces
- 1/2 cup raisins and other chopped dry fruits (apricot, plum)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180° C.
- Grease a Bundt pan and dust it with flour.
- Mix whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt with a fork and set aside.
- Whisk the butter, jaggery, sugar and cinnamon powder until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well with each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and orange rind, mix gently.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk, ending with flour – mix gently with each addition.
- Add the nuts and dry fruits and fold them in very slowly.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool completely before transferring to a plate.
Note: Serve this cake warm, with hot cocoa or a glass of milk.