Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake / Kerala Plum Cake

It’s been some time right? No, this time I wasnt lazy, I was a bit busy. I myself cant believe that I was busy, some of my friends were saying “even Maria is so busy these days, what has the world come to” ;) Looks like it’ll be like this for the next few days too… So I thought I’ll just drop in and say hi and share this recipe for the traditional Christmas Fruit Cake.

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Coming to think of it, I was always a hard core tea cake fan and used to wonder how can somebody like plum cake/fruit cake. It was changed only a few years ago when I baked a fruit cake myself just for the heck of it and I became an instant convert at the first bite itself. But I still don’t like the store bought plum cakes that we get back home in Kerala. I think they are overloaded/crowded with raisins. This recipe suits me well, it has fruits but not overpowering the cake portion.

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Before going into the details of this recipe, let me ask you something. Did you notice our new look? How’s it?

Well, if you’re thinking I was busy working on the new outfit for MariasMenu, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s all done by Jose, wait I did my part, actually what I’m good at. Just demanding what I want in the site ;) So if you like it, the credit goes to you know who… me, because the idea is mine right ;)

We’ve added some new pages like upcoming book, Buzz section & reader’s T&T (tried & tested). Please check out when time permits, ok?

So what were we talking about…. right, fruit cake. I got this recipe a few months back from my friend Sumi. It’s her mom’s recipe. I had this when I visited her and I made sure that she mailed me the recipe in a few days :) I made it first with dates, since I was flooded with dates at that time & was very happy with the result.

One another thing I’m happy about is the color of the cake. The color of the cake very much depends on the color of the caramel you make. I used to play it safe with caramel and always ended up with golden brown color caramel. But in this recipe, it was specifically stated to make a dark caramel & I decided to let my hair loose.

When I tasted the caramel, it had a slight bitter taste and I was worried whether it’ll spoil the cake, but nothing like that happened & in fact I’m very happy with the color, texture & almost everything :) Thanks a ton Sumi for sharing your mom’s wonderful recipe with me.

Kerala Christmas Fruit Plum Cake
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Update on 13/12/2011: I’ve got many queries asking about using fruit juice instead of alcohol. One of the readers, Bindu tried an alcohol free version & she was kind enough to share it here. I’ve given a alcohol free version update in the end. Also please refer to Bindu’s comment below. Thank you so much Bindu!

Please see the picture of Fruit cake made by Anupama Antony, based on the above recipe. Thanks a lot Anupama :)

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Check out other Xmas recipes:

Also check out the Christmas Menu.

Here goes the recipe:

You can see step by step pictures of Caramel Syrup preparation here

Drain the soaked fruits & keep aside. Retain 4 tbsp from the drained liquor. Toss the drained fruits in 1-2 tbsp of flour. (This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake)…

Step 1- Kerala Fruit Cake
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 Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Keep aside…

Step 2 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Beat the egg yolks & add the softened butter to it…

Step 3 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Beat it till it forms a smooth paste. Add powdered sugar to this, gradually. Beat after each addition. When it becomes smooth add vanilla essence & cooled caramel & spice powder & beat again…

Step 4 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Add the sifted flour in 2 batches. Beat after each addition…

Step 5 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Add jam & combine…

Step 6 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Fold in the beaten egg whites in 2 parts & combine till no white streaks are visible…

Step 7 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Fold in the soaked fruits & 4 tbsp of retained liquor…

Step 8 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Grease the baking dish (refer notes) & line with baking paper. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 mins or until the skewer inserted comes out clean…

Step 9 - Kerala Fruit Cake
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Christmas / Xmas Fruit Cake/ Kerala Plum Cake

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 -15
Author: Maria Jose

Ingredients

For Soaking:

  • 3 cups Mixed fruits
  • 1.5 cups Rum / Brandy (I used dark rum)

For Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1/4 cup Warm water

For Cake:

  • 2 cups Plain flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 250 gms Unsalted Butter (1 cup + 2 tbsp, approx @ room temp)
  • 4 Eggs (@ room temp)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp Jam (I used apricot)

For Spice Powder:

  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom
  • A small piece Cinnamon
  • A small piece Nutmeg

Instructions

  • Soaking of Fruits
  • I used a combination of sultanas, seedless raisins,currants & candied orange & lemon peel. I didn't chop the fruits & used it as such. You can use dried fruits of your choice. If you are using dates/apricots etc; chop it into small pieces & soak it. I soaked it for almost 1.5 months. Try to soak it for a minimum of 1 week, at least. Shake the jar of soaked fruits once in a while.
  • Caramel Preparation:
  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar & 1 tbsp water in a sauce pan. Heat it & let the sugar melt. When the color of the melted sugar becomes dark brown, remove the pan from fire & add 1/4 cup warm water to this. You need to be very careful at this stage since the water tends to splash & can cause burns. Bring it back to the heat & boil for a few more mins, 3-4 mins. Remove from fire & let it cool completely. You can prepare the caramel in advance & refrigerate it. Check out the caramel picture at Annita's place, if you want to get an idea about the colour.
  • Spice Powder:
  • Grind all the spices with a pinch of sugar, to a fine powder & keep aside.
  • Cake Preparation:
  • Preheat the oven @ 180 C for 10-15 mins, before baking.
  • Drain the soaked fruits & keep aside. Retain 4 tbsp from the drained liquor. Toss the drained fruits in 1-2 tbsp of flour. (This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Sift the plain flour with baking powder & baking soda. Powder the sugar & keep aside. Separate the yolks & white of the eggs. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Keep aside. Beat the egg yolks & add the softened butter to it. Beat it till it forms a smooth paste. Add powdered sugar to this, gradually. Beat after each addition. When it becomes smooth add vanilla essence & cooled caramel & spice powder & beat again. Add the sifted flour in 2 batches. Beat after each addition. Add jam & combine.
  • Fold in the beaten egg whites in 2 parts & combine till no white streaks are visible. Fold in the soaked fruits & 4 tbsp of retained liquor. Grease the baking dish (refer notes) & line with baking paper. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake in the pre heated oven for 40-45 mins or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. The baking time can vary depending on the oven & also the size of the tin used.
  • Alcohol free version:
  • Soak 3 cups of fruits in 1.5 cups of fresh orange juice. Leave it overnight @ room temp. The rest of the recipe is same.

Notes

Updated Notes as on 07/12/2015:
You can use same qty of soft light brown sugar instead of white sugar for more colour. You can also add 1 tbsp fresh orange zest along with the dry fruits. Also, you can brush the left over rum over the top of the cake for 2-3 days.
I used a 9 inch round tin & 9 inch loaf tin for baking the above qty. If you feel that the top of the cake is getting over browned, cover it loosely with aluminium foil.You can store the cake @ room temp, in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. However you can refrigerate it for a month in an air tight container.
The 4tbsp of retained rum added in the end along with the fruits, can be reduced to suit your taste. I like that extra rum taste ;) and hence added 4 tbsp. You can add anything between 1-4 tbsp or skip.
For Bahrain Readers:
I used Heritage brand Mixed fruit packet from Al Jazira supermarket & I used Captain Morgan dark rum for soaking the fruits.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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