Wish You all a 'Merry Christmas' and a prosperous NEW YEAR!
In India , during the Christmas we used to buy and distribute these rich plum cakes as gifts to our friends. This cake even without any frosting enjoys the center of attraction for everyone there. I have been longing to taste this fruit cake after coming here. But couldn't get that flavor.while googling I came across Cham's Fruit cake and Prema's Plum cake recipes. So I thought of trying it for this season. As a trial , I baked one and got it a big hit.
To my surprise , the end result was very similar to the Plum cakes sold in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli bakeries.
Chams and Premas recipes were much useful .Other than my variation, it is completely their recipe and I am just recording it for my future use.
water - 1tbsp + 1/2 cup
Add sugar and 1 tbsp water keep in stove at low to medium heat. When the sugar starts to turn brown , stir slowly .The sugar will start to change color from light brown to dark. In between , keep in microwave the water for 1 min and warm it. When the sugar starts to turn brown , pour slowly the warm water. Be cautious , as it may splutter .
Plum cake recipe:
My first fruit cake:) 2008 Christmas.
All purpose flour (maida)- 1 1/4 cup
sugar- 3/4 cup
butter- 1 stick (8 tbsp butter = 1/2 cup oil)
(I used 1/2 cup olive oil)
dried fruits-(dates, raisins, dried cherries,plums,pears, prunes and apricots)- 1 cup
dried nuts-(almonds, cashews and walnuts) - 1/2 cup
baking powder-1 tsp
baking soda-1/4 tsp
vanilla extract -1 tsp
candied lemon and orange peels- 1tbsp
(I crushed peels of an orange)
All spice powder(cinnamon, nutmeg,clove and dry ginger)- 1 tsp
(I used 1/4 tsp of each powder)
Rum or Brandy- 1/2 cup (or) Rum extract - 1 1/2 tsp
(or) grape juice- 1/4 cup + orange juice- 1/4 cup
(or) orange juice - 3/4 cup
Chop the dried fruits and soak them in Rum /Brandy or grape and orange juice for a few hours.
I soaked it in 3/4 cup orange juice for 3 days. (Not inside fridge, just in room temperature.stir it twice a day).
On the third day, add 3 tbsp of alcohol essence to the soaked fruits.
Do not waste the juice. we can use it while baking.
Step 1.Preheat the oven at 350 degree, grease a small loaf pan and place a parchment paper at the bottom.
Step 2:In a blender ,add 2 cloves, nutmeg powder ,1/2 inch cinnamon ,dry ginger powder , orange peel and crush them.
Then add olive oil , eggs, caramelized sugar,sugar, vanilla essence,salt and beat again.
Add all purpose flour, baking soda , baking powder together and run the blender again to get fluffy batter.
Pour it in a broad mixing bowl.
Step 3:Add the dry fruits only (if you ve little juice left keep it away or add in the cake mixture)and fold again.
step 4:Take 1 tbsp of AP flour and mix it with the broken nuts.
step 5:Pour in grease pan . Now spread the flour coated nuts (do not stir after adding the nuts)over the cake batter .
step 6:Cook in middle of the rack for 40 to 50 minutes in 350 deg C. If not cooked increase 10 min each time. The cake will be done in 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.
My cake got ready in 55 min (gas operated oven).
Cool completely before storing it.
I made some variations while trying the first time. They are :
1. Added my home made alcohol flavor to substitute the Rum extract.
2. Replaced the butter completely by 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
I.How to make the alcohol essence?
This plum cake recipe recommended the usage of rum extract and I thought of leaving that ingredient as we don't have the habit of consuming any alcohol.
Last week while preparing the batter for Aappam, I got an idea to find a substitute for rum. (Well prepared aappam batter smells like some liquor on the next morning).Eureka!!! I found something interesting.
So I searched for an alcohol substitute and got the following recipe from alcohol substitutes and many other sites. This makes nearly a cup of alcohol flavored essence. This is not an alcohol. But has some flavor similar to it. You can buy rum extract also.
Friends ! please educate me, if am going wrong.
Apple - 1 (big)
maple syrup - 1 tbsp
yeast - 1 tsp
sugar - 4 tsp
water - 1 cup.
Wash and remove the seeds of the apple. Crush it in a blender along with skin.
Add all the other ingredients and stir vigorously.
Then pour it into an air tight container and keep it in a warm place for 48 hours.
Do not open in between.(other wise , it will become vinegar).
Now carefully open the container (it will be under high pressure), by slowly releasing the cap.
Add 3 tbsp of this apple essense to the soaked the dry fruits while making the cake.
Refrigerate it and finish it within 15 days.
Nowadays I am simply using the orange juice with few spoons of apple juice and its giving a similar cake without alcohol or rum extract.