Christmas Fruit/Plum Cake (Alcohol-Free)

This is an easy Christmas fruit cake which is delicious, spice rich and perfect for Christmas all year round. I always make two batches of fruit cake at home every year. One is for my husband’s colleagues and the other is for us and close friends. The whole house gets filled with this lovely aroma of the cake when it is baking in the oven. The house screams of Christmas! December is the month of Christmas wherein every catholic household in Mangalore starts preparing Kuswars (traditional sweets) and Christmas cakes. The ladies in the house are always busy during this month. I remember my mom always starts her preparation of making Kuswars when the month starts. And we as kids joined her in making them. It was fun, and major bonding happens during this time. My mom always shared her childhood memories of making Kuswars at home. It’s a moment to cherish all those memories and make new memories every year. I seriously miss those days.

This Fruit cake is made without alcohol. Since I stay in Qatar, it is very difficult to buy liquors and you need to have a license to buy them. Back in India, I made these cakes with rum, where the fruits are soaked in rum for a month. Since I do not have the liberty to use alcohol I replaced the rum with orange juice. And trust me guys I never missed the flavour of rum in this cake. It still tasted the same as the alcohol version. It was perfect.

I soaked the mixed fruits in freshly squeezed orange juice for a day. The other most important aspect of making this cake is to use caramel. This gives a deep rich brown colour to the cake. When making the caramel make sure you keep an eye on it because they get burnt very easily and quickly.

This cake turned out to be moist and fluffy and is best eaten over a glass of red wine. The more longer you store this cake, the deeper and richer the flavour becomes. That is because of the spices added to the cake. I always make this cake a week before Christmas and I store it in the fridge.

This cake stays fresh for 2-3 weeks. Make sure that you wrap the cake tightly with a cling wrap and store it in the fridge.


Christmas Fruit/Plum Cake

Preparation time:1 day (for soaking fruits) + 10 min

Baking time:35 min

Ingredients

For soaking

  • 1/4 cup Cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black raisins
  • 1/2 cup tutti fruti
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used navel oranges)

For Caramel

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4-5 tbsp hot water

For the Cake

  • 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Cake Spices

  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom
  • a small piece of(1/2 inch) cinnamon
  • small piece of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Soaking Of Fruits-In a bowl add all the ingredients mentioned for soaking. Cover the bowl and keep it at room temperature for a day for the fruits to soak up the juice.
  2. For Caramel– Take a pan, and on a low flame (make sure that the flame is very low) add the sugar and 1 tbsp water. The sugar will start to change colour at the edges of the pan. Stir the sugar with a spoon. Once all the sugar is melted and turns into a dark brown colour. Add the warm water. When the water is added the syrup will harden. With the flame on low continue stirring the syrup till all the sugar is dissolved. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool.
  3. In a blender, add 1/2 cup sugar, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Grind it to a fine powder. Keep it aside.
  4. Preheat your oven to 180-degree celsius. And grease your loaf pan. I used an 8.5-inch loaf tin.
  5. Drain the soaked fruits. Do not discard the orange juice. To the drained fruits add 2 tbsp of flour and mix it well. Keep it aside.
  6. In a bowl, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix it well.
  7. In another bowl, add the melted butter, and powdered sugar. Whisk it well. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of the reserved orange juice (the leftover orange juice from the soaked fruits). Mix everything well.
  8. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients little by little and fold the batter with a spatula. Mix till all the flour is just combined.
  9. Add the soaked fruits. And mix till everything is well combined.
  10. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake the cake for 30-35 min. Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Notes:

  • For soaking fruits you can use any dried fruits of your choice like prunes, dried cherries, candied oranges/ginger.
  • For an alcohol version. Soak the fruits in 1 cup of rum for a month or a week.

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