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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Mumbai Food News > Article > Mumbai based bakers share handy tips and tricks to bake the Christmas cake

Mumbai based-bakers share handy tips and tricks to bake the Christmas cake

Updated on: 24 November,2023 05:56 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Tanishka D’Lyma |

Preparing the prized Christmas cake requires time and patience, so with just a month left for the festival, we invite city bakers to reveal their tricks to get it right

Mumbai based-bakers share handy tips and tricks to bake the Christmas cake

Representation Pic

It isn’t too early to be thinking about Christmas cake, some might even say you’re late. Christmas cake experts across the city, many of whom open shop once a year for the festive season, already have their raisins soaked and pre-orders jotted down. And if you’re trying your hand at baking a traditional rum, plum or rich fruit cake, they’ve got some tips for you.

Bringing in the Christmas magic

The cake on Vasai-based entrepreneur Debbie Daruwalla’s festive menu is one that she has perfected over a decade of Christmas cake-making. The recipe is tweaked from celebrity chef Nigella Lawson’s traditional fruit cake, and prepared using her grandparent’s 1960 Kenwood stand mixer that her family discovered packed away in a cupboard for 60 years. Food has always been about tradition and heirloom recipes, but Daruwalla makes the cake with this familial treasure that she lovingly Call: s Kenny. Founder of Debbie’s Homemade, Daruwalla adds, “This recipe is great for beginners because it doesn’t need a lot of pre-soaking of the fruits, just one night of steeping.”

Rum and dried fruits
Rum and dried fruits

Debbie’s tips:

1 If you want a good cake, add good ingredients. Quality is key, so don’t substitute butter for oil or margarine. Use real rum, brandy or liquor of your choice, but don’t use rum essence because it will give the cake a bad and bitter flavour.

2 Keep tasting the batter at regular intervals. If it tastes bad, you can be sure the cake will taste the same.

3 Make sure to turn off the top heating element in your oven so as to not burn the cake. If you find the top of your cake browning too quickly, cover it with a sheet of foil.

To order: Undecorated rum-soaked Christmas fruit cake
Log on to: @debseq
Cost: Rs 900/500 gms
Call: 9821444882

Perfecting cake craft

Neysha Pereira from Neysha’s Delicacies in Malad tells us that it’s not too late to begin pre-soaking the dried fruits for the cake. “You have time to begin soaking the raisins and other additions. Pre-soaking at least a month in advance will allow the flavour of the rum or brandy to enrich the fruits. But if you start late, there’s always Plan B,” she notes.

Decorated and undecorated rich fruit cake
Decorated and undecorated rich fruit cake

Neysha’s tips:

1 Substitute the alcohol with orange juice. Cook the raisins with the juice and sugar and allow it to cool overnight. Apart from this change, any Christmas cake recipe and method will remain the same.

2 A successful cake is a moist cake. Once baked, pierce the cake with a skewer and pour the leftover juice or rum from the soaking over it.

3 Taste regularly and tweak the proportion of your spice mix to the results and flavours you like.

To order: Rich rum fruit cake, decorated with marzipan and fondant
Cost: Rs 2,000/one kg
Call: 9820280767

Honey, I forgot to soak the raisins

Pic Courtesy/The Cake Jeanie
Pic Courtesy/The Cake Jeanie

The Goan baath cake is always made for Christmas, is simpler to prepare than Christmas cake, and there’s no pre-soaking involved,” explain Mohan and Mary Pais from Malad’s M & M’s Kitchen. Sharing another bonus, the Paises reveal that the decade-old venture is open year-round to take orders for this semolina and 
coconut delight.

Baking with the Paises:

Baath cake
Baath cake

1 Ensure you whisk the eggs until you get soft peaks before adding them to the dry ingredients. This will give you a soft and fluffy cake.

2 Dissolve the sugar completely in the wet mixture and ensure that there are no lumps or grains left.

3 Don’t go overboard with the vanilla essence or your cake will be bitter. A drop or two is enough.

4 Don’t open the oven frequently to check on the cake because the heat will escape and cook the cake unevenly.

To order: Baath cake
log on to: @m.n.m.s_kitchen
Cost: Rs 900 onwards for one kg 
Call: 9821239101

Debbie Daruwalla’s tricked-up recipe from Nigella Lawson

>> 700 gms raisins
>> 300 gms currants
>> 100 gms glacé cherries
>> 150 gms chopped pecans (or walnuts)
>> 400 ml bourbon (or brandy)
>> 300 gms butter
>> 180 gms dark brown sugar
>> 2 tsp lemon zest, grated
>> 4 large eggs
>> 2 tbsp black treacle or molasses
>> 1 tsp almond essence
>> 300 gms plain flour
>> 150 gms ground almonds
>> 1/2 tsp ground cloves
>> 1 tsp ground cinnamon
>> 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Boil the dried fruit bourbon or brandy in a saucepan. Cool, cover and steep overnight. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees while you prepare your cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in grated lemon zest. Add eggs, beating each addition. You can substitute the molasses and black treacle for homemade water-based caramel. Add this with almond essence. Sift the dry ingredients. Mix the soaked fruit with the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, combining well. Fold in chopped pecans. Bake for about 105 to 195 minutes. Brush the cake with tablespoons of bourbon or brandy. Wrap the cake in foil to trap heat and soften the top of the cake. Cool and store.

Cake paradise

>> The Cake Jeanie
log on to: @thecake_jeanie
Cost: Rs 900 onwards for half kg (decorated rich fruit cake with rum); Rs 700 for six Christmas cupcakes 
Call: 9819491102

>> Gail’s Cakes
Cost: Rs 2,010/250 gms (Jamaican Christmas cake); Rs 390/250 gms (rich plum cake with rum and vanilla glaze) 
Call: 9820934167

>> Fi’s Delicacies
Cost: Rs 450 for half kg (coconut baath cake) 
Call: 9833095655

>> Rochelle and Clayton
Cost: Rs 650 for half kg (rich fruit cake)
Call: 9987252923

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