This is a summery variation on the Sri Lankan Christmas cake (http://food52.com/recipes...), one of our trusted family recipes. It does require some (a minor understatement) chopping efforts, but it will pay off handsomely and last for a long time. It just gets better with age and with every additional drop of brandy you put in. —QueenSashy
Chop the nuts, sultanas and candied fruits into small pieces. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, brandy and half of the rose water and vanilla extract. Mix well and leave in a jar for a day.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg yolks. Add the orange zest, lemon zest and remaining rose water and vanilla extract, and continue to beat until combined. Add the semolina and allspice and mix until well combined.
Transfer the batter to a large bowl, add the brandied fruit mixture, and stir well until fruits and nuts are dispersed evenly throughout the batter.
Bit the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the whites into the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 250F. Prepare two 13x9 inch cake pans. (If using non-stick pans, line with parchment paper.). Turn the batter into the pans and bake for about 2 ½ - 3 hours.
When done, remove the cake from the oven. Let it cool in the pan for about 30min and then remove from the pan.
Drizzle the cake with additional brandy and let it cool completely. Wrap the cake tightly in aluminum foil and store for at least a week before serving. (The cake gets better as it ages, and my optimal aging time is 8-12 weeks. The cake can be kept for a year in an airtight container. And you can keep on drizzling the brandy to keep it moist!)
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.