You need not to worry if you didn’t soak fruits for the Christmas Plum Cake aka Fruit Cake. Today I am sharing an easy no soak and alcohol free plum cake recipe to bake and enjoy during Christmas holiday. I clicked the above picture last year and this is the only recipe I am following since long time when it comes to share with friends. I did bake and pack this cake several times to my mom and MIL’s place as shown in the picture below. The cakes went as it is as shown in the wraps :-). If you have chopped fruits then making this cake is quite easier.
You can finish in 2 hours of time (including baking time). Once done you can enjoy it immediately or let it sit to mature for 1-2 days after its baked. It tastes divine with the fresh aroma of homemade spice mix. Before going depth in to the post, here are few important points to note.
Either you can use brown sugar/regular sugar and cream with butter or use molasses or jaggery syrup. If using molasses or syrup no need to cream with butter and directly add after each flour addition. Will be discussing everything in detail. If you like to soak fruits then you need extra caramel syrup which is discussed under “how to soak fruits” and not specified in the recipe card/ingredient’s list.
Homemade Spice Mix
Ingredients (100gms powder)
Cinnamon (1 part), Fresh or dry ginger (1 part), cloves (1/4 part), Whole peppercorns (1/4 part) and cardamom (1/4 part) , salt – 1/2tsp, sugar – 3 tbsp
Cinnamon – 3″ of 12-15 Numbers (150gms)
Cloves – 3/4 Tbsp
Whole Pepper – 1.25 tsp
Cardamom – 8-10 Numbers
Fresh Ginger – 150grams/ replace with dry ginger powder
Salt – 1/2tsp
All Spice/Nutmeg Powder – 2.5 Tbsp
- Split Cinnamon rolls in to tiny pieces as possible(pic 1).
- Add whole cloves, nutmeg, whole pepper, Cardamom and a pinch of salt.
- Dry roast the ingredients in hot pan untill Cinnamon is crisp or you get nice aroma(pic 2).
- Either use ginger powder or fresh ginger to make Spice Mix.
- i used fresh ginger, peel the skin, wash ,dry then grate in a veg grater.
- You can share dry the grated ginger until it turns dry & crispy.
- For quicker version I squeezed ginger juice , sauteed the rest in low flame and once it turned crispy removed from heat.
- Add ginger (pic 3) to the previously fried other stuff , add 2 tbsp sugar and powder well.
- Use small hole strainer attached sifter, sift the ground powder(pic 4) and if needed grind residue(pic 5) couple more times
- I didn’t have whole nutmeg or powder so used a portion of “All Spice Mix” which has nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
- Let them cool and store in an air tight container(pic 6).
Instant Spice Mix
Cardamom Powder – .5tsp
Cinnamon Powder – 1tsp
Clove Powder – 1/2tsp (crush about 8-10 cloves)
Nutmeg Powder – 1/2 tsp
Dried Ginger Powder – 1tsp
Maze & Pepper Powder – 1/2tsp
How to Caramelize Sugar
Either you can prepare molasses or sugar syrup or use brown sugar. I detailed both the methods in the video at the end and explaining the same here. Molasses is heating the sugar with less water to make the sugar change to dark color/caramelize. This method is quicker than the liquid method, as soon as the sugar is exposed to heat, it begins to release liquid, and then the caramelization begins quickly (the video is super clear for beginners do check it out at the end of this post). Also unlike the next method you have to keep eyes on the progress of the sugar and stir sparingly.
- Take 1.5 cups of cane sugar/regular sugar in a wide flat bottom pan (pic 1).
- Add 3 Tbsp water to it (pic 1) and bring to boil in low medium flame.
- At one stage the sugar dissolves (pic 2) and gets into liquid.(pic 3).
- Stir the sugar once in a while and wait patiently until it slowly melts without any lumps.
- Once it foams (pic 4) , it forms a thick layer on top and sides slowly gets caramelized (refer video).
- Keep stirring on and off otherwise it stick to the pan (pic 5).
- The entire sugar caramelize (pic 6) and changes to dark brown as shown in pic 7&8.
- By this time pan is super hot remove from heat and carefully add 9tbsp (8tbsp +1tbsp) warm water (1.5 cup yields 3/4 cup molasses).
- It splashes(pic 9), it cooks for a while in that high temperature, keep stirring or place on cold water to not cook further then filter the impurities and use this in the cake as as recipe calls (pic 10).
While adding water be caution and better to stay away from direct contact. Now the molasses/caramel syrup is ready. How to use this is discussed in the next sub heading.
Brown Sugar Syrup
Its an easy version just boil brown sugar with a little more quantity of water.
- Take 2 cups water for 1.5 cups jaggery/brown sugar/nattu sarkarai (pic 1).
- Bring to boil and once sugar dissolves, (pic 2) filter the impurities and again bring it to boil once it foams and thickens do boil the fruits.
- Boiling fruits (pic 3&4) method is discussed in the next sub heading.
How to boil dry fruits
This is a no soak and quick method. I love this version. Take 1/2 portion of prepared caramel syrup plus 1/2-3/4 cup water, add the dry fruits (can chop prunes, fig in to tiny pieces). Allow the fruits to boil for 8-10 minutes in low medium flame until they plump. Don’t add dates and tutti frutti while boiling. Immediately filter and separate fruits and syrup apart. Mix the syrup with already reserved caramelized sugar, allow to cool and use in the cake batter.
- Take 1/2 portion of prepared caramel syrup plus 1to1.25 cup water ie dilute, mix it well (Pic 3 below).
- Make sure the assorted dry fruits for the recipe (Pic 3 above & Pic 1 below)
- Add the dry fruits (can chop prunes, fig in to tiny pieces, Pic 2 below).
- Allow the fruits to boil for 8-10 minutes in low medium flame until they plump (pic 4).
- Don’t add dates and tutti frutti while boiling.
- Also this fruit boiled syrup if it’s thick like shown in the video do use in the recipe along with reserved caramel.
- Immediately filter and separate plump fruits and syrup apart. Mix the syrup with already reserved caramelized sugar, allow to cool and use in the cake batter.
If using Brown Sugar syrup, then the process is same like above, I didn’t take a portion of syrup but if you feel too sweet do reserve half portion of syrup and dilute remaining with 1 cup water and then boil the fruits.
The advantage of boiling fruits is its a very time saving process and the natural sweetness from dried fruits comes out while boiling , so you can use a limited caramel and adjust the cake batter with butter milk or milk for the right batter consistency.
Can we boil fruits in hot water?
Yes you can plump the fruits in boiling plain water as well and use the prepared caramel syrup directly in the cake batter preparation.
Why fruits sink in the bottom of the pan?
If you make a gooey cake batter then fruits sink in the bottom, I never had that problem since the batter is of right consistency and if you follow this way of batter preparation then there is no chance of sinking fruits in the bottom of the cake pan.
Replacement for Chemical Agents
1 tsp Baking powder = 1/4 tsp Baking soda + 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar OR (1 tsp Vinegar or 1.25 Lemon Juice) So for
2 tsp baking powder = 1/2 tsp Baking Soda + 1 tsp Cream of Tartar OR (2 tsp Vinegar or 2.5 tsp Lemon Juice )
Note 1 Tbsp = 3 tsp
This recipe is for one 8″ or 9″ cake of 2″ height and bake @325F/170C for wheat flour. When you change the flour ie when you use apf/maida instead of wheat flour either bake in two separate 8″ cake pans or two 6″ cake pan at 350F, which is the right temperature for 1/2 filled cake pan. If it is 3/4th filled in one pan do increase the height of the pan using parchment paper and bake @325F/170C otherwise cake gets crack on top when you bake in high temperature in a crowded pan.
How much fruits you need for a Christmas Plum cake?
Some like light fruits in the fruit cake, some like more so I am mentioning what is light, medium and more quantity for this recipe.
Light – For 1 Cup Flour, 1 Cup Mixed Dry Fruits including tutti frutti and chopped nuts before Boiling/Soaking.
Medium – For 1 Cup Flour, 1.5 Cups of Mixed Fruits including tutti frutti and chopped nuts before Boiling/Soaking.
High – For 1 Cup Flour, 1.75-2 Cups of Mixed Fruits including tutti frutti and chopped nuts before Boiling/Soaking.
Ingredients For Soaking the Fruits
*Dry fruits – 1.5 Cups to 2 Cups (I use Golden Raisins – 1/2 Cup, Dates – 1/2 Cup, Cranberries, Cherries, Prunes, Fig as well
Orange Juice – 1/4-1/3 Cup
Caramel Syrup – 3/4 – 1 Cup
Christmas Plum Cake Preparation
- Chop all the dry fruits and place them in an airtight container.
- Instead of Orange Juice you can use rum to soak fruits and you can soak 2-3 weeks in advance , for the detailed post refer HERE.
- Either you can soak the fruits overnight/8 hours or just boil with caramel syrup for 8-10 minutes in medium flame, both works well. I usually boil the syrup with fruits and spice mix in low flame.
- The raisin kind of fruits puff and absorbs the syrup very well.
- If you are not boiling the fruits with syrup then use the spice mix while preparing the cake batter.
- Anyways soak the fruits in required amount of caramel syrup.
- If you are using fruit boiling method let them cool before adding them in to the cake batter.
Yields :- 2 – 8 ” Cake
All Purpose Flour / Wheat Flour – 2 Cups minus 2 Tbsp
Cornstarch – 2 Tbsp
Butter – 1 and 1/2 Sticks (12 Tbsp, at room temperature)
Eggs Yolks – 3 Numbers (Large)
Orange Juice or Marmalade – 4 Tbsp
Almonds/ Walnuts/Cashew Nuts/Pecans – 1/2 Cup, Coarsely chopped or ground
Tutti Frutti/Candied Fruits – 1/2 Cup (optional replace with dry fruits)
Orange Zest -1-2 tsp
Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
Egg Whites – 3 Numbers (Large)
Powdered Sugar – 2 Tbsp (use while beating egg whites)
Baking powder – 1 and 3/4tsp
Baking soda – 1/2tsp
Salt – 1/4tsp
Prepared Spice Mix – 4tsp
*Sugar or Jaggery Powder – 1 ½ Cups OR
*Caramel Syrup – 3/4 Cup (Prepared Above)
Soaked or Boiled Fruits – As Mentioned Above
*If not soaking the fruits and using fruit boiling method can reduce the sugar or molasses quantity or skip either one and use only one. Do use another 1/2 cup caramel syrup for soaking fruits.
How to Whip Egg whites
- Separate the yolks and egg whites (Pic 1) when they are cold, its easy to separate when they are cold.
- Let the egg whites comes to room temperature before whipping it.
- Beat the Egg Whites in a clean bowl (Pic 2) and there should be no traces of yolks otherwise do start with another batch of eggs.
- Start beating it in low speed, once the protein breaks and starts foaming do add a pinch of cream of tartar (optional).
- The whole process 5-6 minutes in medium speed, once the foams leaves traces while whipping do start checking for the peaks (pic 3).
- The soft peaks are those with no peaks or peaks that disappear in the foam(do check the clear video at the end of the post).
- Now add 2 tbsp of powdered sugar and continue to beat until the peaks look stiff and glossy.
- The peaks stand straight which is called stiff peaks, the peaks bend down is called as the medium peaks.
- Once stiff peaks attained (Pic 4) keep aside and start preparing the batter quickly or otherwise you can whip the egg whites once you done until last step of cake batter preparation, either way works.
- In the last step do fold the whipped egg whites with prepared cake batter and bake.
CHRISTMAS PLUM CAKE BATTER PREPARATION
- Grease your cake pans and cover the bottom and sides (optional) with greased parchment paper (Pic 1).
- If using non stick cake pan then no need to use any parchment paper.
- Once the caramel and fruit mixture cools down start preparing the cake batter.
- If using wheat flour sift the flour and use the fine flour alone (Pic 2).
- Sift together all the dry ingredients like Flour, baking powder, powdered nuts/ meal(optional), baking soda, salt and spice powder or mix it well using hand whisk (Pic 3 &4).
- Beat the butter with brown sugar (or skip if using just molasses alone) until smooth and creamy (Pic 5).
- Add the egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated (Pic 6).
- Do add vanilla extract and cream the mixture.
- Add in the dry ingredients slowly and mix until combined (Pic 7).
- Alternate the dry ingredients with Orange Marmalade and Caramel syrup (Pic 8 & 9, add both in batches while alternating with flour and smoothly combine everything together (Pic 10).
- You can add few tbsp of flour to coat the fruits, its optional to avoid the fruits from sinking to bottom of cake.
- Add the boiled/soaked fruits into the cake batter (Pic 10).
- Gently add half of the whipped egg whites into the cake batter (Pic 11).
- To the remianing whipped egg whites add heavy cake batter and make it loose to ease the mixing process (Pic 12).
- Then add the loose mixture in to the cake batter, gently fold to incorporate egg whites evenly in the cake batter (Pic 12).
- While folding add the rest of the ingredients like add the coarsely powdered or chopped almond/walnut mixture, Tutti Frutti and chopped dates (Pic 13).
- Use a large wooden spoon to fold/mix the fruits into the cake evenly.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pans (Pic 14) and bake in preheated oven at 325 F for Wheat Flour 30-40 minutes or till its done (Pic 15).
- I have used several mini pans to pack easily so choose the pan as you wish (Pic 11).
- For 2 cups of wheat flour 1- 8″ cake pan is enough and bake @325F/170C, for all purpose flour or wheat combo do use 2- 6 inch or 2 -8 inch cake pans for this recipe @350F or a Bundt pan @325F.
- If you use different size pan then the baking temperature varies, do check “Baking Temperature” sub heading for more details, it should leave the sides and the cake tester inserted at center should comes out clean (Pic 16 above).
The below picture are the goodies which I packed to my extended family.
For another version of my Fruit Cake do refer HERE.
- Though its best to soak the fruits several months in advance, soaking them for just 2-3 days is also quite sufficient. They will still absorb and the fruits will be juicy and moist.
- If there is any left over of fruit soaked syrup, you can brush over the baked cake.
- The Spice mix really adds a lot of flavor to the cake, so don’t skip it. You may reduce the quantity if you prefer.
- If the cake takes longer to bake then cover the cake top with aluminum foil.
- Mine is homemade Tutti frutti with light raw cane sugar syrup and you can replace it with any dry fruits.
- The Cake flavor and color matures more and more each day. So wait for at least 1 or 2 days after the cake is baked.
- To blanch Almonds, in well boiled water add the whole almonds, let it sit for 3 minutes then take it off and immediately peel/remove the skin.
- Wheat Flour – 2 Cups minus 2 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- Butter – 1 and 1/2 Sticks 12 Tbsp, at room temperature
- Eggs Yolks – 3 Numbers Large
- Orange Juice or Marmalade – 4 Tbsp
- Dry Fruits – 1.5 to 2 Cups
- Assorted Nuts – 1/2 Cup
- Tutti Frutti/Candied Fruits – 1/2 Cup
- Orange Zest – 1-2 tsp
- Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
- Egg Whites – 3 Numbers Large
- Powdered Sugar – 2 Tbsp
- Baking Powder – 1.75tsp
- Baking Soda – 1/2tsp
- Salt – 1/4tsp
- Prepared Spice Mix – 4 tsp
- *Sugar or Jaggery Powder – 1 ½ Cups OR
- *Caramel Syrup – 3/4 Cup
Grease your cake pans and cover the bottom and sides (optional) with greased parchment paper.
Once the caramel and fruit mixture cool down add the orange zest and keep aside.
If using non stick cake pan then no need to use any parchment paper.
Sift together all the dry ingredients like Flour, baking powder, powdered nuts/ meal(optional), baking soda, salt and spice powder.
Beat the butter with brown sugar (or skip if using just molasses alone) until smooth and creamy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated.
Do add vanilla extract and cream the mixture.
Add in the dry ingredients slowly and mix until combined.
Alternate the dry ingredients with Orange Marmalade and Caramel syrup ( reserve 3 tbsp and if needed add later for right batter consistency) and smoothly combine everything together.
You can add few tbsp of flour to coat the fruits, its optional to avoid the fruits from sinking to bottom of cake.
And add the fruits into the cake batter.
Beat the Egg Whites (in a clean bowl) until soft peaks form , then add 2 tbsp powdered sugar and continue to beat until the peaks look stiff and glossy and gently fold half of it into the cake batter.
Use a large wooden spoon to fold/mix the fruits into the cake evenly.
Also fold the remaining whipped egg whites in to the cake batter, while folding add the rest of the ingredients like add the coarsely powdered or chopped almond/walnut mixture, Tutti Frutti and chopped dates.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or till its done.
I have used several mini pans to pack easily so choose the pan as you wish.
For 2 cups of wheat flour 1- 8″ cake pan is enough and bake @325F/170C, for all purpose flour or wheat combo do use 2- 6 inch or 2 -8 inch cake pans for this recipe @350F or a Bundt pan @325F.
If you use different size pan then the baking temperature varies, do check “Baking Temperature” sub heading for more details, it should leave the sides and the cake tester inserted at center should comes out clean .