Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt
3. Add the caramel to the batter when it is still hot..if you let it cool it will turn sticky and soon into a hard mess. Adding the caramel while it is still boiling hot wont scramble the eggs in the batter, don't worry :)


26 comments:

  1. Wow Shir! This cake looks yummy..
    Will try it some time.
    First I need to make the honeycomb cake. Have stocked things but just cant find time to make it. Check it out on Ria's.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey lady! I didn't know you tried this one out :) Looks fabulously moist! I am always waiting for Christmas just so that I can bake a fruit cake and make some homemade wine :)

    So glad you liked it!


    Thanks Giggi, I hope you finally found sometime to make it :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks so delicious. Have never made an xmas cake.....tempted to try one! My Jamaican walking partner gave me a big chunk of her xmas cake. I was feeling tipsy after I bite .....it was soo good but she eyeballs the whole thing so no recipe and am sure it was the Jamaican rum which really hit me.
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Shireen, I tried your cake and it came out really well. Everyone liked it a lot. Thanks a lot for the recipe. It tasted heavenly ..... Very Merry Christmas to you and your family and a wonderful New year....cheers... Reshma

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Shireen. Once again many congratulations on the arrival of the rightly called Princess in your lives, she's truly gorgeous. I'm really lucky to be related to you, because there are so many blogs out there and somehow I discovered most of them through yours, but yours is extremely special to me, because I don't get personalised tips on any other ;-). There are people who walk in to our lives and introduce us to new passions or help us discover passions, as in my case- BAKING. I thought baking was rocket science, the most difficult activity, even more crazy than science experiments, but as I tried your recipes one after another, it just felt like I was born to bake. A big thanks to you for being there, guiding me and laughing through my few disasters, remember the baking soda fiasco ;-). The Christmas cake I baked following this recipe is a huge hit, thanks once again and revel in the joys of that little beauty. mwaaaah.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! Shireen- just imagine prepping all this and then baking it in a small OTG!
    Now that's what I call a super chef! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you Shruti!! U r too kind with your compliment :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://desouzajoy.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/kokkisanroce-cookiesrose-cookies.html

    hey Shireen- do check this out - I thought I should alert you to this possible plagiarism!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This came out really good. Thanks Shireen..
    How many days can I store this cake?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Anonymous: Thanks so much, you can store the cake in a cool place for about a week (if you have used rum at the soaking stage and splashed some more on the freshly baked cake) - it will keep longer when refrigerated

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey shireen- this cake looks heavenly!!! can't wait for christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @mw2988 - thanks and pls let me know how you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, the cake looks nice! :) I am definitely going to try baking fruit cake this time. But I am curious to know if the cake rise, like normal cakes. Waiting for the reply!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey! The cake looks yumm! Just a small question. Will the cake rise like normal cakes?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Viju, Well, since there is a leavening agent (baking powder), the cake will definitely rise, but since it is loaded with dry fruits it won't have a fluffy texture like a sponge cake but will be dense & thick

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you, Shireen! Oh, the cake should be 'dense and thick' ;) Was wondering if I could put the whole batter in a 9" cake pan, as the height of the pan is a little more than 2". Otherwise, I have to halve the recipe, as I can't put two cake pans into my oven. You know how cumbersome it can be! :|

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey Viju...don't be tempted to put the whole batter in one tin. I suggest you buy another tin of 9'' or just divide and bake it twice like I did once. I used to have a tiny oven (OTG) and one Christmas I just put the cake batter in whatever sized cake tins I had...the cumbersome part was to check on the cakes now & again as each cake baked differently owing to the pan size

    ReplyDelete
  18. I do have another pan, but I can't put them both into my oven. Do you think I could prepare the batter once and keep half of it in the fridge for later(after the first one is baked?)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes, thats what I meant...u can bake it one after the other. Place the pan in the fridge till then...i have done it several times without even placing the pan in the fridge...the batter won't go bad that easily. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh ok! I thought it wouldn't rise, if I kept the batter out, for a long time! Thank you! Hope you have a great Christmas! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. For big gingers like me you should not mislead by not giving full information. You never mentioned in what the dry fruits have to be soaked. I soaked them in water. If it has to be rum you have not mentioned the quantity. Please take care of this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Al: I doubt if you have read the recipe properly at all, because if you did, you would know what I have clearly mentioned above "Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked' ". Please read again what the rest of the ingredients are -

    2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
    1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
    90gm /6 tbsp sugar
    75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
    15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)

    Kindly do not falsely accuse me of misleading you when you have not taken care to even read the recipe. If you see I have even mentioned how much rum to be used!!!

    And by the way, I guess you meant beginner, not big ginger!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha....u never mentioned water anywhere...guess the guy is in love....coz love makes someone blind...

      Delete
  23. Hi Shireen. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Can you tell how should the temperature of the caramel be when adding to the batter-Sheeba

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Shireen. Tks for the lovely recipe. How hot should the caramel be while adding to the batter. The other day when I cooled it a bit, it became sticky like a glue stick!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. @ Sheeba Nalini: The caramel should be added immediately to the batter - when it is still hot and bubbly. Once it cools down it begins to turn sticky and hard and then you may have to discard it. So always add when it is still in its liquid state

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt
3. Add the caramel to the batter when it is still hot..if you let it cool it will turn sticky and soon into a hard mess. Adding the caramel while it is still boiling hot wont scramble the eggs in the batter, don't worry :)


26 comments:

  1. Wow Shir! This cake looks yummy..
    Will try it some time.
    First I need to make the honeycomb cake. Have stocked things but just cant find time to make it. Check it out on Ria's.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey lady! I didn't know you tried this one out :) Looks fabulously moist! I am always waiting for Christmas just so that I can bake a fruit cake and make some homemade wine :)

    So glad you liked it!


    Thanks Giggi, I hope you finally found sometime to make it :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks so delicious. Have never made an xmas cake.....tempted to try one! My Jamaican walking partner gave me a big chunk of her xmas cake. I was feeling tipsy after I bite .....it was soo good but she eyeballs the whole thing so no recipe and am sure it was the Jamaican rum which really hit me.
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Shireen, I tried your cake and it came out really well. Everyone liked it a lot. Thanks a lot for the recipe. It tasted heavenly ..... Very Merry Christmas to you and your family and a wonderful New year....cheers... Reshma

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Shireen. Once again many congratulations on the arrival of the rightly called Princess in your lives, she's truly gorgeous. I'm really lucky to be related to you, because there are so many blogs out there and somehow I discovered most of them through yours, but yours is extremely special to me, because I don't get personalised tips on any other ;-). There are people who walk in to our lives and introduce us to new passions or help us discover passions, as in my case- BAKING. I thought baking was rocket science, the most difficult activity, even more crazy than science experiments, but as I tried your recipes one after another, it just felt like I was born to bake. A big thanks to you for being there, guiding me and laughing through my few disasters, remember the baking soda fiasco ;-). The Christmas cake I baked following this recipe is a huge hit, thanks once again and revel in the joys of that little beauty. mwaaaah.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! Shireen- just imagine prepping all this and then baking it in a small OTG!
    Now that's what I call a super chef! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you Shruti!! U r too kind with your compliment :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://desouzajoy.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/kokkisanroce-cookiesrose-cookies.html

    hey Shireen- do check this out - I thought I should alert you to this possible plagiarism!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This came out really good. Thanks Shireen..
    How many days can I store this cake?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Anonymous: Thanks so much, you can store the cake in a cool place for about a week (if you have used rum at the soaking stage and splashed some more on the freshly baked cake) - it will keep longer when refrigerated

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey shireen- this cake looks heavenly!!! can't wait for christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  12. @mw2988 - thanks and pls let me know how you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, the cake looks nice! :) I am definitely going to try baking fruit cake this time. But I am curious to know if the cake rise, like normal cakes. Waiting for the reply!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey! The cake looks yumm! Just a small question. Will the cake rise like normal cakes?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Viju, Well, since there is a leavening agent (baking powder), the cake will definitely rise, but since it is loaded with dry fruits it won't have a fluffy texture like a sponge cake but will be dense & thick

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you, Shireen! Oh, the cake should be 'dense and thick' ;) Was wondering if I could put the whole batter in a 9" cake pan, as the height of the pan is a little more than 2". Otherwise, I have to halve the recipe, as I can't put two cake pans into my oven. You know how cumbersome it can be! :|

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey Viju...don't be tempted to put the whole batter in one tin. I suggest you buy another tin of 9'' or just divide and bake it twice like I did once. I used to have a tiny oven (OTG) and one Christmas I just put the cake batter in whatever sized cake tins I had...the cumbersome part was to check on the cakes now & again as each cake baked differently owing to the pan size

    ReplyDelete
  18. I do have another pan, but I can't put them both into my oven. Do you think I could prepare the batter once and keep half of it in the fridge for later(after the first one is baked?)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes, thats what I meant...u can bake it one after the other. Place the pan in the fridge till then...i have done it several times without even placing the pan in the fridge...the batter won't go bad that easily. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh ok! I thought it wouldn't rise, if I kept the batter out, for a long time! Thank you! Hope you have a great Christmas! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. For big gingers like me you should not mislead by not giving full information. You never mentioned in what the dry fruits have to be soaked. I soaked them in water. If it has to be rum you have not mentioned the quantity. Please take care of this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Al: I doubt if you have read the recipe properly at all, because if you did, you would know what I have clearly mentioned above "Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked' ". Please read again what the rest of the ingredients are -

    2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
    1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
    90gm /6 tbsp sugar
    75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
    15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)

    Kindly do not falsely accuse me of misleading you when you have not taken care to even read the recipe. If you see I have even mentioned how much rum to be used!!!

    And by the way, I guess you meant beginner, not big ginger!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha....u never mentioned water anywhere...guess the guy is in love....coz love makes someone blind...

      Delete
  23. Hi Shireen. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Can you tell how should the temperature of the caramel be when adding to the batter-Sheeba

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Shireen. Tks for the lovely recipe. How hot should the caramel be while adding to the batter. The other day when I cooled it a bit, it became sticky like a glue stick!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. @ Sheeba Nalini: The caramel should be added immediately to the batter - when it is still hot and bubbly. Once it cools down it begins to turn sticky and hard and then you may have to discard it. So always add when it is still in its liquid state

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)