Traditional Christmas Cake of Sri-Lanka
Traditional Christmas Cake of Sri-Lanka is supposed to be the richest and the most delicious of all Christmas cakes. We start making it around mid November and by Christmas it will be more delicious. You can try this out with small quantities first. Just try it once and you will never regret.
250 g seedless dark-raisins
350 g seedless golden raisins
250 g mixed glace fruit
250 g preserved ginger, drained
500 g (1 jar) chow chow preserves or melon and ginger jam, drained*
125 g mixed citrus peel (no pith)
250 g glaced cherries
250 g raw cashews or blanched almonds
1 cup brandy
3/4 cup butter
2 cups (granulated) sugar
12 egg yolks
6 egg whites
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons vanilla essence
1 tablespoon almond essence
2 teaspoons rose essence
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups semolina flour (lightly roasted with a little butter)
The day before :
- Chop raisins, mixed glace fruit, preserved ginger, chow chow preserves and citrus peel into small pieces.
- Cut glace cherries in halves.
- Chop nuts very finely.
- Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 of the brandy, cover and set aside for 24 hours to allow fruit to absorb more of the brandy.
- After 24 hours (or more), grease a 10-inch cake pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add grated lemon rind, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, almond, rose essence and honey and mix well.
- Add the semolina and mix until well combined.
- Add the brandied chopped fruit and nuts, stirring until fruit and nuts are dispersed evenly throughout the batter.
- 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 (130*C) oven for 2 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. (You may cover the 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.
- Sprinkle with remaining brandy & allow cake to cool completely, preferably overnight.
- Wrap cooled cake tightly in foil.
- Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy over the cake every week to keep it moist.
- You can keep this cake for a year or longer in an airtight container.
Serves 24 - 30
You may cover it with almond icing if desired.