3 cups dates
2 cups raisins
2 cups cherries
2 cups broken nuts
½ cup orange and lemon peel
1 cup tutty fruity or other candied fruits (optional)
½ cup brandy or rum (chop the fruits fine. Soak them in the alcohol along with nuts and peels and keep in an air tight container for a couple of weeks)
2 cups all purpose flour/Maida
3 cups powdered sugar (1 cup for caramelizing the sugar)
250 gms butter
2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of salt (to adjust the sweetness)
3 tsp powdered spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger)
2 tbsp orange juice
Caramelize 1 cup of sugar. It can be done by heating a medium saucepan with 1 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp water. Stir in continuously and use only medium heat. The sugar will melt first, and then gradually becomes molten syrup. As it gets hotter, it’ll turn into dark colored caramel syrup. Now slowly add ½ cup of water and stir well immediately before it crystallizes back. (Be careful while doing it, for it can splash and may cause severe burns). Stir it well to dissolve completely and allow it to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, sift the baking powder and flour thoroughly two or three times. Now mix the powdered spices and the soaked fruits to the flour. Mix well with a spatula and keep aside. Beat butter and powdered sugar till light and fluffy. Now add the eggs one at a time to the beaten sugar butter mixture with a teaspoon of flour after each egg. Beat well. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the cooled caramel and fold in. Remember do not whisk-this can break the fruits. Lastly add vanilla essence, orange juice and 1 tsp of brandy. Mix everything well using a wooden spatula preferably to one side. Pour it into a lined baking pan (lined with parchment paper or brown paper). Bake it in the oven for 45 mins. Check by inserting a tooth pick and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. If it’s not done, reduce the heat to 250 F and bake for another 10-15 mins or until done. When the cake is baked, remove and immediately sprinkle 1 tbsp of brandy over it. This can enhance the flavor and increases its life span. Let it cool. Cut it and serve.