Ahhhh Plum cake, what to say about this wonderfully flavored, spongy, fruit delight. I just drool over this cake. Many memories of my childhood days are associated with xmas and the plum cake. The chilly winter mornings, collecting stuff for the making of the crib, hanging stars and putting up xmas trees, were all a joy. I used to eagerly wait for the vacations to have the fun and frolic at home with my cousins and the celebrations usually lasted till the new year. Plum cake was the hero during all these celebrations.
There used to be these tiny rectangular ones, which are wrapped up in butter paper. It used to taste so lip smacking that I always wondered how it was made so tasty. Even now I can retain and feel that aroma and flavor in me. The good old days!!!!!How I miss them:((. There’s one thing which I have noticed specifically. You can find these in different colors and flavors of icing. But these are getting extinct these days and find it hard to get in the markets. I just love these and dig into it if I get my hands on it even now.
Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. People ate the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to line their stomachs after a day of fasting. Soon dried fruit, spices and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and eventually it turned into Christmas pudding. In the 16th century, oatmeal was removed from the original recipe, and butter, wheat flour and eggs were added. These ingredients helped hold the mixture together, resulting in a boiled plum cake. Richer families with ovens began making fruit cakes with marzipan, an almond sugar paste, for Easter. For Christmas, they made a similar cake using seasonal dried fruit and spices. The spices represented the exotic eastern spices brought by the Wise Men. This cake became known as ‘Christmas cake’.
Christmas cakes are made many different ways, but generally they are variations on classic fruitcake. They can be light, dark, moist, dry, heavy, spongy, leavened, unleavened, and more. They are made in many different shapes, with frosting, glazing, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or plain. The trick with a great Christmas cake is in the timing. Many make them in November, keeping the cake upside down in an airtight container. A small amount of brandy, sherry or whisky is poured into holes in the cake every week until Christmas. This process is called ‘feeding’ the cake.
Theres no need to soak or do any preplanning other than the getting the raisins and peels.Mine turned out a little lesser in color this time as I did not caramelize it to rich dark brown color. I wanted a dark brown outer covering and a lighter color inside for the photoshoot purpose. Always cool down the caramel to normal room temperature before adding it in the cake. You can add a bit of cocoa powder to darken it even more. It depends on you, how you want it. I used mixed raises this time. Usually I go with black raisins only.
I turn out this spongy fruit flavored cake to a dessert by serving it with vanilla ice cream or butterscotch ice cream. Guys, you should try this out, I’m telling you its a deadly combination where you loose control!!!! So guys just try this out and make your season a nostalgic one.
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. Line a round baking tray with baking paper and keep ready.
Caramelize the sugar and keep down to cool. I used 2 cups of sugar to make one cup of caramel. Add boiling water to the sugar once caramelized and has attained the color you need.
Separate the yolks and whites from the egg. Beat the egg whites to stiff and keep aside.
Coat the raisins, peels and nuts with flour and keep ready.
Cream the ghee, butter until pale. Add the powdered sugar in batches
Beat till a light creamy mixture is got and there are no sugar crystals.
Add the yolks one by one until all the egg yolks ar incorporated well.
Increase the speed of the mixer after all the yolks are added.
Add the caramel first and then the rind and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. You will get a thick and the mixture will be stiff.
Sieve the all purpose flour with all the spice powders.
Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Gently fold in a quarter of the beaten egg whites to the batter. Combine and aerate the batter and go on to add the remaining egg whites.
Finally add the floured fruits and nuts and fold in gently.
Pour on to the baking dish and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.