Indulge yourself to a Holiday Treat, loaded with Fruits n Nuts soaked in Rum… an Old fashioned Christmas Fruit Cake aka Kerala Style Plum Cake…! Moist, Rich, and Luscious… just how you would have wished your perfect fruit cake to be… Happy Holidays…!
So, another eventful year is coming to an end with a lot of excitement over the time, and I am here writing my last recipe before the holidays; wrapping up on a sweet note with a Traditional, Old Fashioned Christmas Fruit Cake, aka Plum Cake. With a backdrop of my hometown, Plum cake races me back to my childhood days and memories, as it is a very famous dessert in Kerala, especially during Christmas. I do not know the history behind its origin, but I believe it was the Britishers who brought the original dried fruit variety of the cake to India. A common misunderstanding of the cake going by its name is it being made of the fruit Plum, but actually it refers to its plumped ingredients; the dry fruits which swell up over its soaking period. Funny, isn’t it?
The highlight of this cake is the aroma of the spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg), and the alcohol soaked fruits. The longer the fruits n nuts being soaked, the better it’s flavours. I recommend soaking them for a minimum of 2 days before baking the cake, so that the flavours sum up. This Christmas I started my preparations earlier, and hence got a chance to soak my fruits for a month. You can even keep them for up to 6 months; now that would be heavenly, right?
There is usually no icing on a traditional Christmas cake, but variations with Cream Cheese or Whipped Cream are also popular. The cake is intensely rich and moist and is a perfect balance of sweetness from the smoky caramel syrup and the dry fruits. This cake makes a great addition to your holiday table as a dessert, or as a Christmas gift for your family and friends.
And if you planned to go this year with a non-alcoholic version, check out my Non Alcoholic Christmas Fruit Cake recipe, Trust me…it’s the Best!
Here are a few ingredients options for you before you plan your bake, I highly recommend going through them:
- Dry Fruits varieties: Raisins / sultanas, apricots, dates (seedless), prunes, currants, figs, tutti fruit, glazed cherries, dried unsweetened cranberries.
- Nuts: Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Pecans.
- Soaking liquid (alcoholic): Rum, Brandy, Cognac, Amarula, Baileys Irish Cream.
- Soaking liquid (non-alcoholic): 100% grape juice, apple juice, orange juice, or water.
- Spices: Dry Ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom.
Enjoy baking, Merry Christmas…!!!
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Indulge yourself to a Holiday Treat, loaded with Fruits n Nuts soaked in Rum… an Old fashioned Christmas Fruit Cake aka Kerala Style Plum Cake…! Moist, Rich, and Luscious… just how you would have wished your perfect fruit cake to be…!
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 6-8 apricots
- 5 dates (seedless)
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 cup rum (or more)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 cup flour + 2tbsp
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
- 1½ cup powdered sugar
- 4 eggs (at room temperature)
- zest of one orange
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp dry ginger powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp rum (from the soaked dry fruits)
Chop dry fruits n nuts into bite size pieces, and transfer to a dry glass container. Pour the rum into the container and ensure that the contents are completely immersed in it. Place its lid and keep the container tightly closed.
Soak the fruits for at least 2 days, you can even preserve them up to 6 months; I soaked mine for 4 weeks. Shake the jar every alternative day and keep refilling it with extra rum as the fruits start absorbing it.
You can use 2 to 2 ½ cups of soaked fruits and nuts while baking a cake.
For soaking instructions and other tips, refer the notes section below.
As the sugar melts, turns golden in color, and bubbles, lower the flame and give it a quick stir. When the color changes to dark brown, switch off the flame and take the pan off the heat.
Now carefully add the rest of the water a tablespoon at a time and stir. Your dark colored caramel syrup is ready. Keep it aside to cool down.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 inch nonstick springform pan with parchment paper; on the bottom and and along the sides extending 2 inches above the rim of the pan. Butter the paper thoroughly and set aside.
Drain the rum soaked fruits and keep the liquid aside for later use. To the drained fruits, add 2 tbsp flour and mix to coat the fruits; this helps preventing them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking. Keep aside.
Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, set aside.
Prepare the dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Keep aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, this helps to mix it evenly.
Add egg yolks followed by grated orange zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, nutmeg and dry ginger powder. Beat well.
Add the cooled caramel syrup, dry ingredients, and the beaten egg whites in two batches, beat lightly until well combined.
Now add the flour coated dry fruits into the batter along with 2tbsp of the drained rum. Do not beat, instead fold in all the ingredients thoroughly with a spatula. The batter is ready, it will have a slightly thick consistency.
Pour the batter carefully into the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour and 55-65 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Gently run a knife around the edges of the pan and then unlock it. Move the cake to a wire rack keeping the lined parchment paper intact and let it cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar (optional).
Once cooled you can remove the paper, and the cake is now ready to be served.
To store, you can wrap the cake in an aluminum foil and keep in an air tight container at room temperature for a week. Refrigerate thereafter.
1. Soak dry fruits in alcohol to enhance the flavour. I recommend soaking for at least 48hrs but you may do so for days, weeks, or even up to 6 months. The more it soaks, the better it tastes.
2. Chop the fruits to be soaked into bite sized pieces. Use a clean air tight glass container to soak and store. Shake the jar or stir every alternate day as it helps to rehydrate the fruits and not dry out. Fill with extra rum as needed.
3. After draining the soaked dry fruits before baking the cake, coat them in a few spoons of flour. This helps the fruits to stick on to the batter while baking and prevents from setting down to the bottom.
4. Be cautious while preparing the caramel syrup, the melted sugar is very hot and will boil intensely when water is added. It can burn you if not carefully handled, also ensure to remove the pan from the flame when adding water.
5. After removing the baked cake from the pan, allow it sit on a wire rack to cool down at room temperature. Do not remove the parchment paper from the pan when the cake is hot, it might crumble.
6. Wrapping the cake in an aluminum foil helps it to retain moisture and prevent drying out.
7. You can keep the cake in an air tight container at room temperature for a week. Refrigerate thereafter.