Last Sunday, I was itching to bake something. A few days earlier I’d made Jamie Oliver’s hot toddy from the latest number of delicious. magazine and the rum-soaked raisins tasted like more, so I figured I’d do something with dried fruit and rum (how can you ever go wrong with something that’s soaked in rum?). I ended up tweaking another delicious. recipe from a piece they did on Surinamese food in February 2011. In the article, the cake is called keksi and made with Dutch gin (jenever) and amaretto. Since I had neither of these, I used rum instead. In addition to raisins, I added dried abricots and dates. I also split the recipe in half, since it was originally for 20 servings and there’s just two of us. As a last addition, I substituted the regular sugar for coarse cane sugar (in the spirit of Jamie Oliver’s fantastic toddy).
The result was very nice. The cake is very fluffy, sponge-like even. To reach this effect, it’s important to use many eggs and beat them long enough, as instructed. The earthy spices, rum and dried fruit make it a very autumn-worthy cake. Since the recipe was still fit for 10 servings, we both took some to share at work, where it disappeared quickly.
This is the recipe I ended up using:
125 grams of butter (+ extra for buttering the cake tin)
125 grams of regular flour (+ extra for the cake tin)
6 large eggs
150 grams of cane sugar
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp of ground nutmeg (I didn’t split the cinnamon and nutmeg in half, in fact I always use more spices than indicated in a recipe)
2 tbsp of vanilla aroma (I’ve been making my own using vodka and vanilla beans – easy and way cheaper)
1 tbsp of almond aroma (I used a few drops of almond essence instead)
200 grams of mixed dried fruits such as raisons, abricots and dates, larger fruits cut into smaller pieces
100 ml of brown rum + more for the cake
Start in advance by soaking the dried fruit in rum: put the fruit in a bowl and top with rum until it is entirely covered. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease a 21 cm cake tin with butter, sprinkle with flour. In the original recipe they recommend not using a springform pan (the kind that’s in two pieces) because the batter is very liquid and it might run. I ignored this advice since I had no other useful tin and it worked fine, you just have to be a bit more careful. Don’t use if you know in advance that yours is leaky.
Clarify the butter by heating it slowly in a saucepan. When it has completely melted, you will notice that there are some white things floating on top and some white stuff on the bottom. This is the protein that’s in the butter. Using a spoon or a slotted spoon, carefully skim the white parts off. When this is done, pour over the liquid butter into a bowl, being careful to withhold the bottom white protein parts. Don’t throw this away, it can be kept in the fridge and it’s a tasteful addition to mashed potatoes, for example.
Mix the eggs in a clean, large bowl with a hand mixer or in a kitchen robot. Add in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond aromas (this is where I discovered I have no special grater for nutmeg and had to use my coarse cheese grater – whoops). Keep on mixing for at least 10 minutes, until the mixture runs from a spoon like a ribbon and has grown a lot bigger and airier. Slow the mixer down and add in the flour little by little, add a pinch of salt. Mix shortly until the flour is blended in and pour the batter into the tin.
Using a big spoon, drizzle in all but 3 tbsp of the clarified butter and blend it shortly with a spatula. Try not to lose the airiness of the batter. Lastly, put the soaked dried fruit through a sieve above a bowl (keep the rum in the bowl for later) then distribute it over the batter. I just dropped it in, which made it go straight to the bottom. Therefore, what later became the upside of my cake was covered with a dried fruit layer. If you want them spread throughout the cake, roll them in flour first and they won’t sink all the way to the bottom.
Bake the cake in the oven for 35 minutes. Then, cover the cake with the 3 extra tablespoons of clarified butter and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and flip it upside down on a plate, take the cake tin off. You don’t have to flip it necessarily, but if your fruit has sunken to the bottom this has a nice effect. Drizzle with the leftover rum from the fruit and some extra to taste. Enjoy!