Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Plum Cake

Christmas for me is incomplete without some serious plum cake eating. Since for the past year or so I have been baking with a vengeance I thought this year the Plum cake too should be home baked. 

Research on the hows, do's and dont's took me through various books, blog posts and videos and I finally figured out a recipe that I was reasonably sure would work for me and was close to the taste and texture I had in mind.

To me a good plum cake is a dark, well baked almost over baked, moist, filled with dry fruits kind of cake which is rich in spices and has a distinct aroma.

Sharing herewith the recipe. Do give it a try and let me know how it goes:

Ingredients:


To Soak the Fruits ( do this atleast 4 weeks before you expect to bake. Remember to stir it atleast twice every week)
2 cups - chopped dry fruits - include all that you like. and then some. Add lemon and orange peels if you can, they add a lovely fragrance
1 1/2 - cups liquor - I used dark Rum, you can choose to use red wine or brandy 

Caramel Syrup 
1 cup - Sugar
3/4 cup - hot water

Fruit Cake 
1 cup or 2 sticks -  butter at room temperature
2 cups and 2 tbsp- powdered sugar 
4 - eggs separate the yolk and whites 
   
2 ½ cups - refined flour (maida) 
3 tsp - baking powder 
2 tsp - baking soda 
1/2 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - Cinnamon powder 
1/4 tsp - Clove powder 
1/2 tsp - Cardamom powder
1/4 tsp - Nutmeg powder
1 tsp - Vanilla Extract 


5 medium tin foil tubs ( using this helps in non messy distribution of the cakes incase you plan to gift. Also you may choose to not add the liquor at the end to some so that you can feed children without guilt.)

Directions:

Caramel Syrup
Take a heavy bottom pan and melt 1 cup granulated sugar on low flame, stir at frequent intervals.  When it starts to get light brown in color add 1/2 cup warm water. Be careful, as the melted sugar is very hot and starts to splutter. Increase the flame to medium heat and let the syrup boil.  This will help the crystallized sugar to melt again. Keep stirring. Once its become a same strength syrup turn off the flame and let it cool.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices twice and keep aside.
Beat the butter with  2 cups powdered sugar till smooth and creamy.  
Add the egg yolks one at a time until the mix is creamy and fluffy. 
Add the Vanilla essence and Caramel syrup and smoothly combine everything together.
 Add 1/4 cup of hot water to the pan where the caramel syrup was made and bring to boil to dissolve any left over caramel.  
Let this liquid cool for 5 - 6 minutes.  
Add this light liquid to egg butter mix and beat for 30 seconds.
Now add the dry ingredients slowly and beat to mix well.
Strain the liquor soaked fruits and reserve the liquid.  Toss the fruits in 2 tbsp flour and fold into the batter.

Beat the Egg Whites and 2 tbsp. of powdered sugar in a separate clean mixing bowl until soft peaks form. This will need rigorous whipping so using a electric whip is recommended 
Gently fold in the whipped egg whites into the cake batter. Dont mix much
Preheat the oven at 185 degree centigrade for 5 minutes
Pour the cake batter into the greased cake pan(s)  and bake for 45 minutes or until a tooth pick/ wooden skewer comes out clean when tested on the center of the cake.
Let the cake rest in the oven for 10-15 minutes and then take it out and drizzle 2-3 tbsp. of the reserved liquor over the cake. Allow the cake to cool.
Use the lid of the tin tubs to close the pack and then wrap the thing in clean wrap and set aside. 


Ideally this cake should be allowed to 'sit' for some days before being consumed. Since I live in Delhi and its very cold here I let the cakes sit in a dark cabinet and am now waiting for it to be Christmas. :)

Merry Christmas!!!