Thinking of baking this sweet festive treat this year? Pick a traditional rum version, an alcohol-free option, or a local-inspired fruit cake using wolfberries and dried longans.
By Mrs Rose Eng, 66, housewife Makes four 1kg cakes INGREDIENTS 1.3kg dried fruit mix 250ml rum, plus more for drizzling 6 tbsp white sugar 12 tbsp evaporated milk 560g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 3 tsp mixed spice (rempah kueh) 1/2 tsp salt 300g walnuts, coarsely chopped 500g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature 350g brown sugar 8 large eggs 1 tbsp vanilla extract 125g green glazed cherries, halved 125g red glazed cherries, halved 100g whole almonds 2 tbsp apricot jam DIRECTIONS 1. Combine the dried fruit and 250ml of rum in a bowl and set aside for at least two days at room temperature. 2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 150 deg C and line four 15cm round cake tins with parchment paper. 3. In a saucepan set over medium heat, add white sugar and 4 tbsp of water. Bring mixture to a boil to caramelise the sugar. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a minute before pouring in the evaporated milk. Place the pan over low heat and stir until the mixture bubbles. Set aside. 4. Sift flour, baking powder, mixed spice (rempah kueh) and salt into a large bowl. Set aside. 5. Mix the chopped walnuts with the soaked fruit and 9 tbsp of the flour mixture. 6. Cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and pour the caramel sauce gradually into the batter. Add the remaining flour mixture. 7. Pour the batter into the bowl containing the dried fruit and walnuts and mix well. 8. Distribute batter among the four cake tins and level the tops with a spatula. 9. Decorate the cakes with red and green glazed cherries and almonds (pictured). 10. Bake for 21/2 hours. If the tops of the cakes get too brown, cover with aluminium foil. To check if the cakes are ready, insert a skewer into their centres. They are cooked when the skewer comes out clean. 11. Cool the cakes, still in their tins. When they are completely cool, turn them out (top facing down) onto a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Use a skewer to poke holes in the cakes and drizzle 5 to 6 tsp of rum over each cake. Flip them onto plates. 12. Mix the apricot jam with 2 tbsp of water in a saucepan, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add 1 tbsp of rum and stir. Brush the glaze on top of the cakes. Image: The Straits Times Read more: BAKING TIPS: What is the difference between cake flour, bread flour, all purpose flour and top flour? Read more: VIDEO RECIPE: How to make scrumptious red velvet cake By Mr Joseph Lim, 44, freelance writer and English tutor INGREDIENTS 300g dried figs, chopped into bite-sized chunks 100g sultanas 100g candied ginger 200g butter 90g jaggery (unrefined cane or palm sugar) or gula melaka 90ml honey 1 tsp ground mixed spice (a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) 2 tbsp cocoa powder 6 egg whites 200g almond flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 150 deg C. 2. Place the figs, sultanas, candied ginger, butter, jaggery, honey, mixed spice and cocoa powder in a pot over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Remove from heat, scoop the mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. 4. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 5. In another bowl, mix the almond flour, baking powder and baking soda. 6. With a spatula, fold the egg whites into the fruit mixture in three batches. Then fold in the flour mixture in three batches. 7. Grease a 28cm-long rectangle loaf tin. Pour the batter in and bake for 45 minutes. To check if the cake is ready, insert a skewer into its centre. It is cooked when the skewer comes out clean. 8. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack before removing from the tin and serving. Image: The Straits Times Read more: RECIPE: Learn how to make the famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake from Sydney's Black Star Pastry Read more: RECIPE: Easy coffee marble butter cake for dessert By Mr Sam Chek, 41, pastry chef from One Farrer Hotel & Spa INGREDIENTS 50ml rum 100ml brandy 100ml orange juice 50g dried orange peel, diced 50g dried apricot, diced 50g dried pineapple, diced 50g dried apple, diced 50g dried mango, diced 50g dried cranberries 22g dried longans 50g golden raisins 50g sultanas 22g wolfberries 270g all-purpose flour 4g baking powder 175g butter 135g brown sugar 180g eggs DIRECTIONS 1. In a bowl, mix the rum, 50ml of the brandy and orange juice together. Set aside. 2. Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch all the dried fruit for a few minutes. Drain well and place the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the rum mixture over and leave to soak in the fridge for at least 24 hours. 3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150 deg C. 4. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Set aside. 5. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. With the machine on, slowly add the eggs. Add half the flour mixture. 6. Add the remaining flour mixture to the drained fruit. Add this mixture to the batter. 7. Grease a 20cm round baking tin. Pour the batter into the tin. 8. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. If the top of the cake gets too brown, cover it with aluminium foil. To check if the cake is ready, insert a skewer into its centre. It is cooked when the skewer comes out clean. 9. When the cake is completely cool, pour the remaining 50ml of brandy over the cake and serve. Image: The Straits Times This story was originally published in The Straits Times. Read more: RECIPE: Easy Chocolate Sponge Cake Read more: Recipe: Bake a matcha lava cake in five steps, 30 minutes
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