Friday, December 23, 2016

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe | Kerala Plum Cake | Christmas Fruit Cake | Christmas Special Recipes

The word plum cake is bringing me nostalgic childhood memories about Christmas. I grew up eating plum cakes from 'Greatest Bakery', 'Cake World' and 'British bakes' in Nagercoil for Christmas. When I was very young, I don't like the taste of plum cakes and hence, dad buys Vanilla Tutti Frutti Cake for me. After few years, I realised the taste of the plum cake and from then, I love it to the core. Making this delicious cake at home is a real dream come true moment for me and to my surprise it came out super awesome. 
This time I wanted to follow the traditional method and hence I soaked the nuts and fruits in rum. If you are looking for alcohol-free version then you can follow the same recipe by soaking the nuts and fruits in apple juice or orange juice or grape juice. In this case, just soak it for one day in the room temperature. I too will post the non-alcohol version as soon as possible. Do check out my Homemade Grape Wine too. Let us move on to the recipe:
Ingredients:
For Soaking:
Mixed fruits & Nuts - 3 cups(Nuts used - Walnut, Almonds & Cashews. Dry Fruits used - Sultanas, Currents, Raisins, Orange peel, Lemon Peel, Glazed Cherries, Tutti Frutti ) 
Rum/Brandy - 3/4 cup
For the Caramel:
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 tbsp
Warm water - 1/4 cup
For the Spice Powder:
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - a small piece
Nutmeg - a small piece 
For the Cake Batter:
Plain flour (maida) - 2 Cups
Eggs - 4
Unsalted Butter - 250 gms
Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
Powdered White Sugar - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp 
Baking powder - 1 and 1/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla essence - 2 tsp
Jam - 1 tbsp (I used strawberry)

Method:
For Soaking:
1. Chop and soak the dry fruits, nuts in the rum for around 1.5 months. Make sure the entire nuts and fruits are covered with rum.  If you were not able to soak longer, then try to soak for a minimum of 1 week. I soaked it for a month.
2. Soak it in a sterilised glass jar or container and try to shake the container once in a while. On the day of baking, drain the rum completely. Let it sit in the colander for some time, so that the entire rum is drained.
3. Toss the drained fruit in 1 to 2 tblsp of flour/maida. This is done to prevent the nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of the pan while baking.
For the Caramel:
4. In a pan, add the sugar and a tblsp of water. Heat it in medium flame and let the sugar melt. 
5. When the colour of the melted sugar becomes dark brown, reduce the flame to low and add the 1/4 cup of warm water.(the water tends to splash and be careful at this stage).
6.  Bring it to a boil and switch off the flame. Allow it to cool completely.
For the Cake Batter:
7. Get ready with the necessary ingredients. Sieve the flour along with the baking powder and the baking soda to ensure even mixing. Powder the items under 'For the spice powder' along with a tsp of sugar. Add this to the seived flour.
8. Whisk the spice powder and the flour well. Meanwhile, separate the egg whites and the yolk. Beat the egg whites until it forms a stiff peak. Keep it aside. In a wide mixing bowl, add the softened butter and the egg yolks.
9. Beat it well until it is creamy. Then add the brown sugar and the powdered white sugar.
10. Whisk everything together until it is well combined. Along with this add the vanilla essence and the caramel syrup.
11. Now, slowly add the flour in batches and mix it well until it is completely incorporated.
12. Add the jam and mix it well. Fold in the beaten egg whites until there are no white streaks available. Finally, add the soaked nuts and fruits. 
13. Now the batter is ready. Line the baking pan with baking paper and pour the batter into the pan. Preheat the oven @180 degrees for 10 minutes. Bake it in the preheated oven @ the same temperature for 40 to 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
14. For the mentioned quantity, I got a round cake and a loaf as shown below. Allow it to cool completely.
15. Once it is cooled, slice it and store it in an airtight container. It stays fresh for a week at room temperature and in the refrigerator for more than a month.
The flavour comes out well after 2 to 3 days of baking. The cake is delicious and highly addictive.

For the Alcohol-free Version:
Soak 3 Cups of dry fruits and nuts in 1.5 cups of Orange juice/grape juice or apple juice for only one day at room temperature and then follow the same process.
Points to remember:
  • The top of the cake browns very fast. I suggest you, cover the top of the cake with aluminium foil half way through baking. Make sure you are careful while doing this since it will be extremely hot.
  • You can replace the white sugar completely with brown sugar to get more colour to the cake. You can also use the white sugar completely instead of brown sugar.
  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature while baking.
  • The original recipe call for 1.5 cups of rum for soaking, but I find it is overpowering and hence I have reduced it to half. If you prefer you can use 1 or 2 tbsp of soaked rum in the batter. I have not used it.
  • Any combination of dry fruits and nuts can be used. Choose based on the availability.
  • The white of the egg will not whisk properly to get stiff peak if there is few drop of water in the bowl or the whisk. 
  • As mentioned earlier, you can replace rum with fruit juices and soak it only for a night.
Warm Regards,
Happy's Cook - Divya

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