When we talk of the tropics and flavors, exotic fruits readily come to mind. Fruits such as pineapple, mango, coconut, tangerine, kiwi, papapya, mandarin, Barbados cherry, grapes, guava and many more. These fruits provide the bedrock for some of the best Christmas cake recipes from the tropics.
What better time to enjoy these fruity goodness in a cake than this Christmas? In that vein, the best time to start preparing for that is now or a couple of weeks from now. Stay with us and you’ll understand why you should start preparing your best Christmas cake recipes from the tropics now.
What’s more, you can add these exotic flavor-rich cakes to your Christmas hampers. Trust me, the recipients wouldn’t forget in a hurry!
Best Christmas Cake Recipes From The Tropics – Tools Needed
If you haven’t baked a cake before and you want to try out the recipe we’ll share in this article, you need to know a few basics.
These basics include the tools you need. We would give you a list of the basic tools you need but you can also research for more details about these tools.
The tools needed include the following:-
Baking Pans ( Preferably loaf pans or square pans although you can also use round baking pans)
Best Christmas Cake Recipes From The Tropics – Getting Started
Note that in making any Christmas cake, you have to prepare some ingredients ahead. While it is true that there are shortcut and emergency Christmas cake recipes, the best ones are ones that follow the due process of time.
So even if you have not gotten all the tools enumerated above, you can still go ahead and check out recipes. There’s just one material that you need at this point; a storage case with cover. This would be used to soak the fruits. Some health conscious veterans have advised that the best storage containers to use is glass. This is because they feel that the chemicals used in making plastic would seep into the fruits as it soaks.
I however, have been careful to always use FDA approved BPA free products. This ensures that there is no danger of contamination of any sort.
So now, on to the recipe!
Best Christmas Cake Recipes From The Tropics – Recipe
Fruits To Soak Before Hand
200g Dried Pineapple
200g Dried Mango
100g Mixed Dried Tropical Fruits (of your choice)
250g Raisins and Sultanas
50g Brazil Nuts
500 ml Dark Red Wine
250g Cognac (I use 501 Brandy)
4 Cups Dark Rum
Ingredients For Cake Batter
2 Cups, 450g or 16oz Sugar
2 Cups, 4 Sticks, 1 lb., 450g or 16 oz. Butter
3 Cups or 360 g Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
One Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
One Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 Teaspoon Mixed Essence
Fresh Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Burnt Sugar to taste
½ Teaspoon Salt (Omit this if you are using salted butter)
This recipe is already rich all by itself. We normally wouldn’t bother with any frosting (icing). However, some folks might want to dress up the cake for some pictures or Christmas memoirs. We have a compilation of different frostings for all types of cake. Check it out and pick any one that catches your fancy.
If you want to add this cake to your Christmas gift basket, you need not bother about frosting it (personal opinion though).
Steps For Preparation
Prepare Ahead – Make the Burnt Sugar
Measure 3 cups of sugar into a nonstick saucepan. Place on low heat and allow it to caramelize. When all the sugar is caramelized to a very dark brown(it should be look burnt at this point) add about 1 cup of water and allow it to boil until it become thick and syrupy. Preparing burnt sugar takes a little practice. You may not get it right the first time but after one or two tries, you’ll know what to expect.
Please note that the sugar may look bad at the point before you add water. Just add the water and let it boil for about 10 to 15 minutes it would become syrupy.
Another thing to note is that you should not stir the sugar while it is caramelizing. The right point to add water is when the sugar is a very dark brown. Be careful however, not to allow the sugar to char. This means you have to keep an eye on the sugar.
Some people prefer to use store bought browning but I’ve discovered that burnt sugar gives the cake a distinctive flavor. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination, you can skip this step and buy browning from the store. The cake would still taste great.
Soak The Fruits
This is where you need the storage container with cover.
(i) Dice all your fruits to the size of the raisins and place them in the storage container. Then mix all the alcohol stated in the recipe in a separate container. Next you pour the mixed drinks over the fruits until the whole fruit is submerged in the alcohol.
(ii) Cover the container and store in a cool, dry and dark place. I would normally soak the fruits for a minimum of two weeks. I’ve soaked fruits for up to three months others or more but one month would be just perfect for this recipe!
Prepare The Batter – Stage 1
(i) On D- day, grease two 9 inch round pans and line with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F, 170C for convection oven, 150C for fan oven and 3 for Gas.
(ii) Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy.
(iii) Add the eggs on at a time, mixing well after each addition. Remember to scrap down the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl so that all the ingredients would be well incorporated.
(iv) Add the flavoring.
(v) Sift all the dry ingredients together. Add the lemon and orange zest to the dry ingredients and slowly add them to the mix. Do this at low speed.
(i) When the batter is fully mixed, add the burnt sugar a little at a time until you get the desired color. I usually taste the batter at this point till I get my desired taste. (It does taste good lol). If you can’t taste the batter just go by the desired color. Bear in mind that the cake would get darker after baking.
(ii) Scoop out the fruits from the alcohol and mix with the batter. This stage is best done by hand; I don’t use the mixer. Additionally, I would usually measure the fruits to be sure I have at least 5 cups. Sometimes it may be a little more or less but I don’t use less than 4 cups of fruit(after soaking). Sorry, I eyeball stuff a lot while baking.
(iii) The way I soak my fruits, I would usually ensure that the fruits are totally submerged in the alcohol to about an inch high. That means that I have alcohol that’s infused with all the fruity goodness (sorry I digress). Add a cup of the left over alcohol. The batter may look a bit thin but don’t worry, the alcohol would evaporate during baking.
Bake The Cake
(i) Bake for 90 minutes to two hours. But start to check the cake at the 90 minutes mark. Do not be in a hurry while baking this cake. It is best baked on low heat. Your cake is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs.
(ii) Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the pans. Brush with some rum while it is cooling.
(iii) Remove the cakes from the pans after 10 minutes and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack
(iv) When your cake is totally cool, brush all over with rum and wrap in foil. And place in a cool dry cabinet.
(v) Always revisit every day to brush the cake with rum and re wrap in foil. You can do this for about a week. But if you baked the cake a day to when you want to serve it, there’s no problem. It would still taste good. It’s just that the more it matures, the better it tastes (my opinion though) some of my folks prefer it straight from the oven!
Tips and Notes
If you want to experiment with this recipe to try it out yourself, it is best to half the recipe.
(i) Remember that all your ingredients should be at room temperature.
(ii) If you want to bake this cake and gift it to friends and family, you don’t need to freeze it. Just follow the last step in the method for preparation until when you are ready to send it off to them. Some people prefer to bake the cake in loaf pans, others use bundt pans. Remember that the bakeware you use would determine the temperature of the oven. But always bear in mind that this recipe calls for low heat (slow cooking).
(iii) You can always adapt this recipe to suit your taste as far as fruits go. Some people with nut allergies, omit all the nuts. If you do, just add more tropical fruits.
(iv) The burnt sugar is what gives the cake its rich, dark look and also that distinctive taste. If you opt to use store bought browning, you’ll have to use a considerable quantity to achieve the same effect. But be careful so that you don’t use too much and make the cake bitter.
Best Christmas Cake Recipes From The Tropics – Wrapping As Gift For Friends and Family
Looking for something from the heart for your friends and family this Christmas? You can’t go wrong with this Christmas cake. Even if they do not have sweet tooth, this would make a great dessert for Christmas dessert or potluck.
If you want to wrap up this fruity delight for your friends and family at Christmas, you can make it plain or with a little dressing up.
You can wrap it up with fancy hamper nylon (plastic wrapper) and colorful Christmas ribbons. You can also top it with a drizzle of poured fondant and some multi colored cherries.
We would have shared one more Christmas recipes from the tropics but time and space forbids. Click here to check out some of these recipes for more inspiration.