Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fruit & Nut Cake -Eggless ( Inspired by Fall Colours & a Trip to Central Park , NY)


Hi Friends, Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving . I know I sound crazy when I ask you this almost a week late but it was just a very busy & fun filled Thanksgiving for me with almost 4 days of get-togethers. Belated but  I would really really like to thank you all today for being with me & supporting me the last 5 months ( That's when i started blogging) . Blogosphere has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life & let me thank you all by taking you on a virtual trip to Central Park, NY & on the way I have a Thanksgiving treat  for you that I  hope you all will  enjoy.

I have been living in NJ for the last 8 years & NY city which  is not too far is said to be one of the most happening cities in the world. But it just so happened that "G" & myself both worked in the city for a long time & commuting to & fro 1.5 hrs each way was enough to wear us out by the weekend & there was no way we would go back during the weekends to explore the city. The only excursion  trips we made to the city was with guests & what an irony- we never visited the Central Park which is said to be the most beautiful place during Fall & visitors from far & wide visit NY during this time to enjoy  the fall colours. So this year the Veteran's Day long weekend ( 11the Nov) provided us with the perfect opportunity to visit & capture some of the most beautiful fall colours . 

Central Park, NY  is spread in 843 acres & features 3 lakes . Here is one capture of the lake with a duck in it. 



This fruit & nut cake was inspired by the picture above but  let's get to the Ingredients: 

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour( maida)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
1 stick butter ( 112 grams)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup orange juice 
3/4 cup buttermilk ( I made buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk -let it sit for 5 minutes till the milk curdles) Can be substituted with 2 eggs 
3 cups of chopped mixed nuts & dried fruit ( I used dates, dry cranberries, raisins, apricots, figs, pistachios & walnuts)




Preparation:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F , line a 9x5 " inch baking pan with parchment paper. 
2.  Sift together 1st 7 ingredients ( flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg , cloves)  Keep aside
3. Soak the dates in a cup of lukewarm water so they become a little soft, chop all the dry fruit & nuts & sprinkle around a tablespoon of all purpose flour over the nuts to lightly coat them. This helps in the nuts & fruit to mix well  in the batter & not settle to the bottom. 
4.  In The bowl of an electric mixer , beat the butter & brown sugar until it becomes light & fluffy ( approx: 2 mins) scrape down the bowl, add the buttermilk, vanilla & orange zest & beat again until well combined
5. With the mixer on low add the flour & the orange juice alternately to the creamed  mixture & beat only until well combined .  By hand, fold in the dates( strain out the dates from the water before folding them into the mix) & all of the nuts & dry fruits. 
6. Transfer into the greased loaf pan & bake for approx: 50-60 mins or  until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 mins , then turn it out on a wire rack & let it cool completely.
Note: To make the orange zest grate just the yellow part of the  peel of a whole orange & the rest of the orange can be used for the juice , so one big orange is enough for this recipe.



The lake with the most beautiful colours.




Just look at the colours. 


How can our trip be complete without a walk in the city/ the most hip & happening Times Square.


Holland Tunnel- on our way back home.


Hope you enjoyed this trip with me .......Belated Thankgiving wishes to each one of my wonderful  friends.