Since Kolkata was the capital of British India, the resident British inculcated the concept of Christmas cake into the general population. Bongs as they are, are always ready to pick up all sorts of food, especially if that is sweet.
Around Christmas during our childhood our parents used to buy these sweet cakes on their way back from work. One common source was the bakery of Great Eastern hotel in Waterloo Street. So we associate waterloo with cakes rather than with Napoleon. I still fondly remember those shiny yellow cellophane wrappers on those cakes.
Here’s how I now make them, sans the cellophane.
- 2 cups all purpose flour/maida
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- 200 gm. unsalted butter
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1/4th tsp. salt
- 1 cup candied fruit mix (available in baking section or online as here)
- Buttered parchment paper (available in all super markets).
- 1 cup of an assortments of dried fruits and nuts like raisins, currants, dried cranberries, apricot, fig cashew. almond.
Start the oven for preheating to 350 F. Then begin the work below.
Butter a 9 inch baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with buttered parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange juice and vanilla extract to it. Now fold this into all the candied and dried fruits and nuts.
In a separate bowl whisk flour, salt and baking powder and fold this into the cake batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake it in the oven for almost an hour. Insert a toothpick or a skewer, if it comes out clean it means your cake is done. If not reduce the temperature to 300F and continue baking for another 20-30 mins.
Remove from the oven and keep on a wire rack to cool completely.