Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake/ Plum Cake Recipe


Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake/ Plum Cake Recipe

Fruit cakes are traditional holiday cakes and look festive and colorful. Kerala style fruit cakes are delicious, moist, and perfectly balanced in flavor. It has a distinct flavor, loaded with fruits and laced with the flavor of rum and aromatic spices. This cake is rich, and there is so much that goes into the cake- dried fruits, candied fruits, nuts, rum, molasses, spices, caramel syrup, and butter. It is delicious and worth a try! Each slice of this cake looks festive, with delicious, flavorful fruits in each bite. The cake is perfect for the holiday table, and it is easier to prepare in your kitchen.

Kerala Christmas celebration is not complete without fruit cake/plum cake and homemade grape wine. There is a nostalgic feel when it comes to baking a fruit cake. There is a time-honored tradition in making fruit cakes, and it is a beautiful process. I still remember my grandmother, preparing candied orange peel, ginger candy, tutti frutti well ahead of time to add to the Christmas Cake. The yearly tradition of soaking fruits in rum starts a few weeks before Christmas. The longer the fruits are soaked, the better the flavor and taste of the cake. The fruits will hydrate and plump up, and you will be rewarded, with a dark, moist, and rich fruit cake. This recipe uses a wide variety of dried fruit and nuts like cashew nuts, almonds, dates, glazed cherries, golden raisins, dark raisins, figs, apricots, candied orange, and lemon peel, and candied ginger.

The flavors in the cake meld and deepen over time. It is always good to soak the fruits ahead of time. This Christmas, I started my preparations early, and hence got a chance to soak the fruits three weeks before baking. The soaked fruits have a long shelf life and will last for up to a year. So you can always make a big batch. You can soak the fruits in liquor or make it alcohol-free. The rum will make the fruitcake more fragrant and delicious and will help it last longer. You can brush the cake with rum once it is out of the oven. If you want to store the cake for longer, it is always a good idea to feed the cake. It is a commonly used term for brushing the cake with liquor and warping the cake with butter paper or rum soaked cheesecloth or linen so that its stays moist, and you can enjoy the cake throughout the holiday season. So with just a little planning and prepping in advance, and you can make the perfect fruit cake for Christmas dinner, or as a gift for your friends.

Dry  fruits for soaking.
Dark raisins- 1/2 cup
Golden raisins- 1/2 cup
Dates- 8-10
Dried figs- 4-5
Glazed cherries- 1/3 cup
Cranberries- 1/3 cup
Candied ginger- 1 tsp
Candied Orange- 2 tbs
Candied Lemon- 1 tsp
Mix of apricot and prunes- 1/2 cup
Rum or liquor- 3/4 cup

Dates, golden raisins, dark raisins, candied orange are the most important dried fruits for Kerala plum Cake. You can use your favorite medley of dried and candied fruits. Chop the larger ones like dates, fig, and cherries. Take a sterilized dry bottle or a glass jar and add all the fruits. Add rum or any liquor and store it in a dark place. Stir the fruits at least once a day with a wooden spoon. For best results soak the fruits for a month.

Making a quick alcohol free fruit mix
To make a quick fruit mix add all the fruits into a pan and add one cup of orange juice or any fruit juice. Cook it in medium flame till all the moisture is absorbed. Let it cool down completely, and you can add this to the cake. It is good to make this a day before you bake the cake. You can also steam the dried fruits to make them soft and plump.

The spice powder
Adding spices is optional. The whole spices, I have used are dried Ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom. You can also use pumpkin spice or allspice.
Cardamom- 4, cinnamon- 1 inch thick, clove- 4-5, nutmeg a small piece, dried ginger- 1/2 inch thick piece.
 Gently roast the spices in a low flame till it is aromatic. Use a coffee grinder and make a fine powder.

Caramelizing the sugar
In a pan on medium heat, melt 1 cup of white sugar slowly. The edges will slowly change color, and the sugar will start melting. Keep stirring and let it turn a deep dark amber color. Make sure the sugar does not burn. Switch off the flame and carefully add 1/2 cup of hot water. It will bubble up. Put this back on the heat and allow the sugar to melt completely and the syrup to thick. Allow this to cool down completely.


 Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake/ Plum Cake Recipe

All purpose flour- 2 cups
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Brown Sugar- 3/4 cup
Spice powder- 1 1/2 tsp (see recipe above)
Soaked fruits- 3 cups ( see recipe above)
Chopped cashew nuts and almonds – 3/4 cups
Caramel Syrup- 1 cup (see recipe above)
Orange juice- 1/2 cup
Butter- 1 stick
Orange zest- 1 tsp
Orange marmalade- 1 tbs
Molasses- 1 tbs (optional)
Rum – 1 tbs

For the glaze
Sugar- 1 tbs
Orange marmalade- 1 tbs
Water- 1/3 cup
Add these ingredients into a saucepan and mix well. Let this come to a boil and set aside to cool

Preheat oven to 300 F. Grease pan with butter and layer the bottom and the sides with parchment paper. Again grease with butter and dust with flour, and set aside. Drain the fruits from the syrup and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, spices, and salt until well combined and set aside.
Beat room temperature butter and a half cup of sugar till light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and whisk lightly until the mixture is pale and thick. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and fold in. Add caramel syrup, marmalade, molasses, rum, and orange juice and gently fold in. Add the rest of the flour and fold in. Finally, add the soaked fruits and the nuts and mix well. Transfer the prepared batter into the cake tin. Bake for about one hour and fifteen minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and brush with the glaze the let the cake cool down completely.

See Also

You might also like,

Kulkul- Goan Christmas Sweet
Homemade Grape Wine/ Munthiri Wine- Kerala Christmas Recipe
Butter Bun/ Cream Bun- Kerala Bakery Style
Kerala Black Halwa/ Karutha Halwa/ Rice Flour Halwa
Chocolate Rum Balls
Karikku Appam/Tender Coconut Appam

Like to try more Kerala Christmas recipes  

Check my post 25 Delicious Kerala Christmas Recipes 


Try it,

Hope you will all enjoy!   

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