Cake, Wild Sourdough Spelt or Khorasan Christmas Cake
This is a dense fruitcake which has a more complex flavour than traditional fruitcake because it is naturally fermented with sourdough culture.
It is naturally easier to digest than a traditional fruit cake. This cake relies on the sweetness of the dried fruit rather than refined sugar.
Author: YOKE MARDEWI, WILD SOURDOUGH
Fruit and Liqueur mixture - prepare at least a day before and up to 2 months
125gramssmall dark raisins (muscatels) or sultanas
75gramsdried black cherries or cranberries
25gramscandied peels (candied orange and candied citron)
50gramsactivated nuts of your choiceoptional
50gramsbrandy, whisky or your liqueur of choice
Flour and spice mixture
125gramsorganic white spelt flour or khorasan flourYou can use wheat if you prefer
1-2tspmixed spiceSpeculaas spice is a favorite
1/4tspground ginger or clovesoptional
1/4tspfine sea salt
125gramsbutter, softened at room temperature
150gramsdark brown or rapadura sugar
1tspvanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and scraped
3large organic eggs (150g without shell) at room temperature
250gramswhite spelt or kamut sourdough starter
Mix fruit and liqueur
Prepare the fruit and liqueur mixture at least a day before you plan to make the Christmas cake. You can also prepare the mixture a few weeks beforehand for a stronger flavour.
Mix the ingredients together and leave to marinate at least overnight. The next day, drain the mixture, separating it into fruit and liquid. The fruit will be added to the cake, while the liquid will be used to glaze it once baked.
Put the flour and spice mixture ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until the flour mixture is well distributed. Put aside.
Beat/Whisk soft butter, the two sugars and vanilla in a bowl until light and creamy. This will take a few minutes by hand.
Scrape down sides frequently to make sure the ingredients are well mixed.
Slowly add eggs one by one and stop mixing once the mixture looks curdled. Scrape sides of bowl.
Add sourdough starter and molasses and mix well but gently. Scrape sides of bowl.
Gently mix in the pre-mixed flour and spice mixture. Do not over-mix or you will end up with a tough cake. Scrape sides of bowl.
Cover and ferment your cake mixture for 4–6 hours. The cake mixture will rise about 1¼–1½ its original volume.
Prepare cake tins
Line cake tins with butter then line with silicone coated baking or parchment paper (e.g. Gladbake). You have the option of using:
• 20cm diameter (8in) round cake tin – each holds 1kg of mixture, or
• 2 x 12.5cm (5in) round cake tin – each holds 500–550g of mixture, or
• 8–10 muffins – each holds 120–150g of mixture.
Add and mix
Add drained fruit to fermented cake mixture, making sure the fruit is well distributed.
If you have decided to use baking powder to make the cake lighter, add the baking powder now. I prefer the cake without the baking powder as I like my fruitcake dense.
Pour into lined tin or tins. You should only fill two-thirds of the tin or the cake mixture will overflow during baking.
Put the cake inside a cold oven and set the temperature to 165°C (329°F).
Here are the baking times depending on the size of cake tin you used:
For 20cm (8in) tins
Bake on lower third rack for 45 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F). Then reduce heat to 150°C (302°F) and bake for a further 1 ½–2 hours until golden brown. If the cake top browns too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil.
For 12.5cm (5in) tins
Bake on lower third rack for 1 hour 15 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F).
Bake on lower third rack for 40–45 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F).
Remove cake from the oven and brush generously with the leftover liqueur. You can brush your cake with any liqueur of your choice (brandy, rum, whisky, Cointreau) every few days for a month before Christmas. This will make your cake so delicious and moist.
Leave to cool before cutting.
Best kept wrapped tightly in waxed paper and aluminium foil. Leave in the coolest part of your house and it will keep for 1–2 months or alternatively it can be frozen for up to 3 months.