By Mrs Rose Eng, 66, housewife
Makes four 1kg cakes
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
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
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By Mr Joseph Lim, 44, freelance writer and English tutor
300g dried figs, chopped into bite-sized chunks
100g candied ginger
90g jaggery (unrefined cane or palm sugar) or gula melaka
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
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
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By Mr Sam Chek, 41, pastry chef from One Farrer Hotel & Spa
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
270g all-purpose flour
4g baking powder
135g brown sugar
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.
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