This is the most delicious cake which has been in my family since 4 decades.My grandma was fond of the Christmas Cakes which she used to have at her friends' places and asked the recipe from them.From all recipes she got this is the best and gives a very delicious fruit cake.The cake can be made for general use or if it has to be turned into a Christmas Cake soak the fruits in 2 cups of brandy in a bowl for a week.In case of hot climates keep the bowl can be kept on the lowest rack of the refrigerator.You can also make this cake 2-3 months in advance for Christmas and keep sprinkling it with brandy once every week while you store it in the refrigerator in an airtight box.
The fruits can be got in any "Kirana" store in India under the name of "cherry" or "cake fruit".People in India can use plain maida while in other countries can use either all purpose flour or better still cake and pastry flour which gives a nice soft cake.I have made the cake in a Bundt Pan which is in a ring shape.You can use other pans or also bake it as a loaf cake.This recipe makes 18-20 pieces in a bundt or round pan.So here goes the recipe and its best enjoyed on cool rainy days with a hot cup of ginger-cardamom tea.
Preheat oven to 300F.Sift flour with baking powder,salt and nutmeg twice.Put all the fruits in a bowl and sprinkle with some flour and mix to coat.This prevents the fruits from sinking to the bottom and gives an equal distribution in the cake
Add oil and both sugars in a pan and beat with an electric beater or stand mixer till creamy.Add eggs one at a time beating very well after each addition.By the time you add the last egg the mixture should have doubled in volume.Add vanilla extract and beat again for a minute.
Now take a spatula to mix and start adding dry ingredients.Keep a tsp of fruits and nuts for the top.Begin by adding 2 tbsps of flour then 2 tbsps of fruit and some nuts and fold evenly.Repeat this step till all the flour,fruits and nuts have been used up.The mixture should be very thick and quite difficult to drop off a spoon.
Prepare the bundt pan.Spray with oil spray or soak a piece of cotton in oil or butter and rub the inside of the pan with that.Sprinkle some flour into the pan and if desired line with parchment.I used a silicon bundt pan so this was not needed.First line the base with the tsp fruits and nuts kept aside.Spoon mixture into pan and level with a spatula.Thump the pan to remove any air pockets and bake for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours till brown and a skewer or knife inserted inside comes out clean.
Cool the cake for 15-20 mins and remove from pan.This has a crunchy crust with a delicious soft fruity nutty centre.It can be served as a dessert by itself or with plain vanilla ice cream.Both ways delicious.