Plum cakes are just so special. Christmas all around the world is always so festive and beautiful. I love the old city charms, snow and the gorgeous decorations everywhere. Though, things were pretty festive while I was growing up but in a little different way. I went to catholic convent school and Christmas was always celebrated in an awesome way. The teachers, nuns and students would always put up a grand show on the last day before the Christmas break. One of the teachers would dress up as Santa Claus and distribute gifts to everyone.
What also made me look forward to Christmas in India was Plum cake. For some reason, Plum cake was always made only during the Christmas season. A local and very popular bakery in my hometown made delicious Plum cake and my father made sure he gets ample supply for the family because we all loved it and it was only available for a short period of time. Not just that, I would always look forward to visiting my Christian friends on Christmas and would love their awesome cake preparations on Christmas. Being a Muslim, we couldn’t eat Plum cake everywhere, since most people soak their dry fruits in Rum for a month or more and we could never try those. Thank God! the bakery was owned by a Muslim family.
I could never figure out what exactly they soak their dry fruits in and how exactly they make it so delicious, yet not adding any alcohol and making it exactly the same way as its traditionally made was simply amazing. But, of course, no baker would ever share the recipe, Right? and so, we would just enjoy the yummy Plum cake while the season lasted. After getting married, I discovered that Bangalore’s Iyengar bakeries have a non stop flow of Plum cakes all year round and since, we were travelling to India only during summer. Not just that, we also searched almost all bakeries in Indian areas in New Jersey only to find out that Plum cakes are not in demand so they don’t make it.
Most recipes you search will always ask you to soak the dry fruits in Rum or some other kind of alcoholic beverage and there is no alternative to it. Finally, I got this recipe from a friend’s aunt who happens to bake a traditional Plum cake for the family every Christmas and does not use alcohol. Initially I wasn’t so sure how the cake would turn out, because a few things in the recipe are not hard but slightly tricky but, once you get the hang of it, its a walk in the park. Just make sure you red and follow all the directions mentioned. I promise the cake will make you relive those beautiful childhood memories.
|Prep Time||10 minutes|
|Cook Time||50-55 minutes|
- 1.25 cup All purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Cashews
- 1/2 cup Walnut
- 1/4 cup Black raisins
- 1/4 cup dry cherries
- 1.25 cup granulated Sugar 1/2 cup for the syrup + 3/4 cup batter
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 3 No. eggs
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla essence
- 1/4 tsp Orange extract
- 1 pinch Salt
- Keep the Cashews and Walnuts in a ziploc and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Mix in the broken nuts, raisins and cherries.
- Add in 1/4 cup of the flour to the dry fruits and mix well.
- In a pan add the 1/2 cup sugar for the syrup and cook on low to medium heat.
- Keep stirring till the sugar caramelizes and turns dark golden in color. At this point, turn off the heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of water. Be careful because the sugar splatters at this point.
- The sugar will crystallize so turn the heat back on and cook slowly. Keep cooking till the crystals melt. This is when your caramel for the cake is ready. Let it cool down.
- Add the cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and baking powder to the flour and mix well.
- Mix in butter with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and beat till its light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and the Orange extract.
- Add one of the eggs and mix well.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixed with spices and mix. Keep alternating the egg with the flour-spice mix.
- Add the caramel and mix well.
- Add in the dry fruits and gently mix in.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the batter to a pre greased pan and smoothen the top. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
- Decorate with some tutti futti and sprinkle some castor sugar on top.
- Serve by itself or with some tea/coffee.