An excellent version of the traditionalChristmas cake of Sri Lanka. To gild the lily, so to speak, youcan ice this rich, moist cake with a mixture of almond pasteand fondant icing.
Recipe: Traditional ChristmasCake of Sri Lanka
8 ounces seedless dark raisins12 ounces seedless golden raisins8 ounces mixed glace fruit8 ounces preserved ginger, drained1 (16-ounce) jar chow chow preserves ormelon and ginger jam, drained*4 ounces mixed citrus peel (no pith)8 ounces glace cherries8 ounces raw cashews or blanched almonds1/4 cup brandy3/4 cup butter2 cups granulated sugar12 egg yolks2 teaspoons grated lemon rind1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom1 teaspoon grated nutmeg3/4 teaspoon ground cloves2 tablespoons vanilla extract1 tablespoon almond extract2 teaspoons rose essence1 tablespoon honey2 cups semolina flour6 egg whites
Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt cakepan and set aside.
Chop raisins, mixed glace fruit, preservedginger, chow chow preserves and citrus peel into small pieces.
Cut glace cherries in halves.
Chop nuts very finely, if possible usea nut mill or food processor.
Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl,sprinkle with brandy, cover and set aside. (This can be donethe day before to allow fruit to absorb more of the brandy.)
Cream the butter and sugar until lightand fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well aftereach addition. Add grated lemon rind, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves,vanilla extract, vanilla extract, rose essence and honey andmix well. Add the semolina and beat until well combined.
Place cake batter in a very large mixingbowl and add the brandied chopped fruit and nuts, stirring untilfruit and nuts are dispersed evenly throughout the batter (veryclean hands do the job even better than a sturdy wooden spoon).
In another mixing bowl, beat egg whitesuntil stiff.
Gently fold the beaten egg whites throughoutthe cake batter.
Turn into prepared cake pan.
Bake in a 275°F (135°C) oven for2 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, covering cake pan with foil after 30 minutesto prevent over-browning.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 to 20minutes, 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 longerin an airtight tin.
Serves 24 or more.
*Chow chow preserves or melon and gingerpreserves can be found at an Asian grocery or specialty foodstore.
An adapted version of a recipe by CharmaineSolomon from her Complete Asian Cookbook.
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