Fruit Cake

My mother used to make three types of cakes before her old fashioned oven broke down on her. The regular butter-cake, Mango cake and Fruit cake. Fruit cake was the special of them all reserved for birthdays and special requests. We used to love it. It never lasted for more than two days. It never does. I have no clue why people complain of fruit cakes sitting idly in the fridge for years. This version gives awesome results. In fact if I am asked to choose between Warrior -fruit cake and Mom's fruit cake I did be confused. Both are equally good.

A word about Warrior bakery, Rajajinagar, Bangalore. Well after the old oven broke down, Mom never took to baking much and she never appreciated the fancy 'Lexus OTG' much. Then it was all about Warrior. It is one of the best know bakeries of the old world Bangalore, much like Indian Coffee House and Koshys. I love the fruit cake they make. We had to be at the bakery at the right time, else they would run out of it, quite some 'hot cakes' they were. On the day I did leave home for university, my father would get me this huge loaf of fruit cake. Back at my university hostel, I would keep this one thing from my friends. I would eat it a small piece at a time. By the time I am half way through the cake, tears would roll down my cheeks while eating, partly missing my home and my folks and partly the fast disappearing cake!

For now it is the home made version! Photographs never quite justly the goodness of this cake, after umpteen number of shots and styling efforts I give up. This is the best I could do

We will need,

Dried cherry 50 grams
raisins 50 grams
cashew 50 grams
Tutty Fruity 50 gram
Date 50 grams
All purpose flour 140 grams
Salt a pinch
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Sugar 100 grams
Butter 100 grams
Eggs 2
Vanilla 1 tsp
Instant coffee powder 1 tbsp
Caramel 2 tsp
Cloves and Cinnamon (ground) 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg (ground) a pinch
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Lemon zest of 1 lemon

  • Butter a loaf pan and line it with wax paper on all sides and the bottom.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Chop all the dried fruits and cashew finely and set it aside.
  • Shift the flour with baking powder and salt multiple time. Toss the fruits in the flour and set it aside.
  • Cream the butter till it is soft and add sugar. Cream till sugar is almost dissolved.
  • Crack one egg and beat till well combined, crack the second egg and beat again till well combined.
  • Throw in the Vanilla, coffee, lemon zest, lemon juice, ground spices and caramel. Mix it well.
  • Now carefully stir in gently the flour and nut-fruit mixture. Mix till well combined and do not over mix it.
  • Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan.And pop it into the hot oven. Bake till a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 40 minutes. If the cake is browning rapidly on the top, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • The original recipe calls for shortening instead of butter, I hate shortening and therefore never used it.
  • I substitute caramel for honey most of the times, this time, I had some maple syrup, so used it. I also substituted instant coffee powder for some Espresso (that is what I had on hand)
  • Use any combination of fruits and nuts. I had run out of cashews so used almonds instead and the results were fabulous.
  • I have used dried apricots, figs, cranberries before and they turn out very well. Just to keep the measurements correct, the total fruits and nuts used must be equal to 250 grams. Most often then not, I soak the fruits in some kind of alcohol overnight. I have tried Grand Marnier, Rum, this time about 40 ml Limoncello.It adds a another dimension to the fruit cake.
  • Lining the loaf pan with wax paper is very important else, the edges will be charred and bitter by the time the center of the loaf is done.
  • If you want a light colored fruit cake omit the coffee powder.

Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney is the staple chutney amongst us Kannadigas. We probably eat a tonne or so of this chutney every year! Well obviously, we are people who have at least one to two coconut trees in the backyard and we make the best use of our resources. Therefore there are not many dishes which does not call for coconut. The recent 'eat-healthy' trend has damped our love for coconut a bit, but mine is coming back with vengeance!! I heart coconut.. Cannola oil lobby 'go to hell'.

Typically this chutney is served at breakfast with Idlis, Dose, Chapati, Rotti and every other bread imaginable. Coconut is cracked open, the flesh grated and then combined with other spices and ground in a huge mortar-pestle we call "Rubbo Gundu" the stone grinder. The resulting goodness is heavenly in texture, perfectly combined, neither too rough, not too smooth, and it does not bleed water. That kind of perfect consistency is not achievable in a blender, mixie. The heat for the motor generally causes the essential oils in the spices and coconut to breakdown and therefore the resulting chutney is way inferior to the stone ground version. But modern convince is something, not many apartments in Bangalore has a stone grinder anyway. 

The best chutney I ever had is one the we regularly ate at Kyatsandra, near Tumkur on NH 4. Unlike the regular Darshinis, Idlis here are served with Chutney and Saagu not thechutney-sambar combo. These Idlis there are super soft, and chutney is so heavenly that we will not miss the sambar at all. During my growing up years, Kyatsandra a small town near Tumkur in Karnataka (Now grown into a suburb of Tumkur) is known for the famous Siddaganga Mutt and his holiness Sri Shivakumara Swamy and of course the Idlis... 

We will need,

Green Chillies 10
Curry Leaves 25
Coconut 1/2
Roasted Channa 3 tbsp
Tamarind (size of a chickpea)
Coriander 1/4 cup
Garlic clove 1 small

  • Heat a heavy skillet. Roast the chillies on the hot dry skillet till blisters appears. Remove and set it aside.
  • Throw curry leaves into the skillet and toast till fragrant about 30 seconds or so. 
  • Combine all the ingredients with little water in a blender / mixie and grind till it resemble coarse.
  • Serve it with hot Idlies, Dose or a bread of your choice.