Traditional Christmas Cake of Sri Lanka
An excellent version of the traditional Christmas cake of Sri Lanka. To gild the lily, so to speak, you can ice this rich, moist cake with a mixture of almond paste and fondant icing.
8 ounces seedless dark raisins
12 ounces seedless golden raisins
8 ounces mixed glacé fruit
8 ounces preserved ginger, drained
1 (16-ounce) jar chow chow preserves or melon and ginger jam, drained*
4 ounces mixed citrus peel (no pith)
8 ounces glacé cherries
8 ounces raw cashews or blanched almonds
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
2 teaspoons rose essence
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups semolina flour
6 egg whites
- Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt cake pan and set aside.
- Chop raisins, mixed glacé fruit, preserved ginger, chow chow preserves and citrus peel into small pieces.
- Cut glacé cherries in halves.
- Chop nuts very finely, if possible use a nut mill or food processor.
- Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl, sprinkle with brandy, cover and set aside. (This can be done the day before to allow fruit to absorb more of the brandy.)
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add grated lemon rind, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla extract, vanilla extract, rose essence and honey and mix well. Add the semolina and beat until well combined.
- Place cake batter in a very large mixing bowl and add the brandied chopped fruit and nuts, stirring until fruit and nuts are dispersed evenly throughout the batter (very clean hands do the job even better than a sturdy wooden spoon).
- In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
- Gently fold the beaten egg whites throughout the cake batter.
- Turn into prepared cake pan.
- Bake in a 275°F (135°C) oven for 2 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, covering cake pan with foil after 30 minutes to prevent over-browning.
- Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove cake from pan. Allow cake to cool completely, preferably overnight.
- Wrap cooled cake tightly in foil. If desired, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons brand over cake before wrapping.
- This cake will keep for a year or longer in an airtight tin.
Makes 24 servings.
*Chow chow preserves or melon and ginger preserves can be found at an Asian grocery or specialty food store.
An adapted version of a recipe by Charmaine Solomon from her Complete Asian Cookbook.