For preparing xmas fruit cake, first dice the fruits and keep in rum/brandy.
Add rum and mix well.
Keep this at room temperature over night.
Dice or crush the nuts into small pieces.
:- You can do these steps the day before you plan to make the cake.
Place the eggs and butter at room temperature the night before you make the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Measure and keep ready the flour, sugar and the flavorings.
:- To make the caramel, use a white enameled pot, if you have one. The light surface will help to see exactly the caramelizing process. If you don't have one, use a medium saucepan.
Place 1 cup of sugar in the saucepan.
Turn the stove to high and place the pan on the stove and let it boil.
:- Do not stir the contents at all. As sugar melts and caramelizes, you may swirl the pan a bit once or twice.
Within 7 - 10 mins, a cherry wood colored caramel forms.
Immediately, remove the pan from the stove and very carefully add 1 cup of water to the caramel.
:- You may hold the pan above the sink and slowly add the water, for it may splash.
Stir the contents well to dissolve the caramel. Keep this aside.
Sift flour and baking powder and all dry spices, a couple of times. Then add 2 cups of fruits which is soaked in rum and coat it well.
In a large container, whisk butter first and then add 4 cups of sugar and whisk again, until it is creamy.
Add egg yolk one by one and whisk well.
Pour in the caramel syrup, salt and vanilla extract and mix everything together.
Add the coated fruit-flour mix and fold this in with a wooden or plastic spatula or spoon.
Spoon this into a 10 inch non stick loaf pan.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degree F and then reduce temp to 300 and bake for another 50 minutes.
:- You may line the pan with parchment paper or brown paper.
:- Check for done by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for another 10 - 15 mins and check again.
Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rake.
Pierce the cake with toothpick, and pour Brandy(about 3-4 tablespoon on each) on top and let it soak(Optional)
:- This will enhance the flavor and gives a longer shelf life.
Remove the cake from the pan only after it is allowed to cool completely.
Before storing, cover the cake completely with wax paper first and then with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator.