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.
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.
Grind all the spices with a pinch of sugar, to a fine powder & keep aside.
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.
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.
This Christmas / Xmas Fruit Cake/ Kerala Plum Cake was printed from https://mariasmenu.com/desserts/christmas-xmas-fruit-cake.
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