Christmas is around the corner, and what’s better than making the Perfect Plum Cake for the celebration? I am sure you won’t be able to resist either baking or eating this cake. This cake has all the reasons to fall in love with it.
This delicious plum cake contains dry fruits, fresh juices, and warm spices. And the best thing is that it doesn’t have any alcohol in it so it is also suitable for kids and tastes exactly like the original one.
Not only Christmas but this cake can be baked on any occasion or time of the year. When the cake is baking, the aroma of warm spices fills the home, which captivates the desire to eat it sooner. So, bake this cake and make your Christmas Eve or any occasion merry.
Despite the name, this dry cake contains no form of plum. In the 16th century, every dry fruit was referred to as plum, not just the fruit plum specifically, hence the name “Plum Cake”. Over time, even when the recipe for this particular cake evolved worldwide, the name remained the same as plum cake.
Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- Flavor: This cake has a rich flavor from the combination of dry fruits and warm spices. Warm spices add depth to the cake, while the soaked fruits add a nice crunch.
- Texture: This cake has tender crumbs, which are soft, delicate and easy to cut into. This cake is on a slightly denser side, which adds to the cake’s richness. And when you bite into a piece of this cake, you get the delicious texture of chewiness from the fruits.
- Traditional: In many cultures, plum cake is a tradition in the holiday season during winter. In India, most households buy this cake from the local bakeries or bake it at home during Christman.
Important Ingredients Used in the Recipe
- Blackjack: Blackjack is the dark brown liquid syrup added to plum cake for its color, flavor and texture. It has a caramel-like scent and taste. It is mostly used for adding depth of color to the cake, which creates a visually striking effect by adding a dark brown hue.
- Orange zest: Orange zest adds a bright orange flavour to the cake. The zest flavor complements the sweetness of the dried fruits in the cake. It also contributes to the pleasant and fresh aroma of the cake, adding a little depth and complexity.
- Spices: I have used cinnamon powder, clove powder and dry ginger powder in this recipe. Not only do they infuse the cake with unique and warm flavors, but they also have delightful and comforting aromas. It helps balance the sweetness, preventing the cake from becoming too sweet.
- Christmas mix: Christmas mix is a mixture of dry fruits, warm spices and orange juice. Since it is a cake for kids, I have used the no-alcohol version of the mix. But you can use the Christmas mix that is made by adding fruits and spices in alcohol as well. Cinnamon powder, clove powder and all spices, raisins, cranberries, almonds and cashews are soaked in orange juice and kept for a year to make this Christmas mix.
- Butter: Salted butter is the primary source of fat in this recipe. It helps achieve softer crumbs with a slightly dense texture of the cake. You can also add unsalted butter if you do not have salted butter, but make sure to add salt separately and accordingly for better results for the cake.
- Fruit juice: I have used apple and orange juice for this delicious plum cake. Apple juice adds a slight sweetness and apple flavour to the cake, while orange juice adds a bright and citrus flavour. Orange juice also pairs well with the warm spices often used in plum cake. The apple juice contains natural sugar and mild acidity that helps tenderise the cake, creating a sift and a more tender crumb.
- Chopped dry fruits: I have added chopped almonds and cashews for more crunch and flavor. You can add any dry fruit or nuts you love or want to try in this recipe, making it versatile.
How to Make Plum Cake
Preparations: Gather all the ingredients listed in the recipe box. Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature, and weigh the ingredients through a kitchen weighing scale. Grease a 6-inch round baking tin by brushing butter and dusting flour. Dust away the excess by taping the tin upside down. Then, place the butter paper at the bottom. Also, preheat your oven to 180° C or 350° F (OTG mode: upper rod + lower rod + fan).
The blackjack method: To make the blackjack in a saucepan, add sugar and cook until it melts and turns amber in colour. Now remove from heat and add jaggery powder and hot water, then mix all the ingredients until there are no lumps and the mixture has a slight syrup-like texture. While making the blackjack, keep your eyes on the saucepan because once all the sugar melts, it turns darker in colour pretty fast, or you may end up with a bitter, dark caramel-like taste. Transfer it to a bowl and keep it aside.
For Plum Cake Batter
Sift in the dry ingredients: In a bowl, sift in the dry ingredients, which are all-purpose flour, natural cocoa powder, almond flour, baking powder, clove powder, cinnamon powder, and dry ginger powder, then set it aside. Sifting the dry ingredients will help us in getting a lump-free batter.
Creaming: In a bowl, beat butter and brown sugar along with the orange zest to cream them until they’re pale in color, light, and fluffy in texture. Use room-temperature butter for the best result. Also, add the orange zest in the creaming process only. This way, the flavor of orange will bloom more than adding the rest of the ingredients. You can do the creaming process using an electric hand beater or a stand mixer.
Add egg and blackjack: After the sugar, butter and orange zest have creamed properly, add the egg and mix. Then add in blackjack and mix to get a homogenous mixture. Use a blackjack once it has cooled down. Do not let it rest for too long, or it will get thicker and be a little difficult to mix with butter mixture and egg.
Add in the dry Ingredients: After the egg and butter mixture has mixed properly, fold in the dry ingredients. Add in gradually and mix properly to get a smooth batter free of any lump. Mix until there are no dry ingredients, and avoid over-mixing.
Add in the nuts: Fold the nuts and dry fruits that are chopped cashews, chopped almonds and Christmas mix. While folding the dry ingredients, coat them with all-purpose flour so they do not sink at the bottom while baking.
Add juices: Now add the juices that are apple juice and orange juice, then give the batter a final mix until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Baking: Finally, pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. And bake it at 180° C or 350° F (OTG mode: lower rod mode only) for 35 – 40 minutes.
Chef’s Tips For The Recipe
While making blackjack, ensure you do not let the caramel turn darker than the amber colour, or the taste will be too bitter.
Use only jaggery in powder or shredded form, or it won’t mix easily with sugar.
Coat the dry fruits and nuts with all-purpose flour to prevent them from sinking.
Do not over-cream butter and sugar, or it will lose the air pockets, which may ruin the cake’s texture.
Add orange zest to the butter and castor sugar to enhance the citrus orange flavor.
How To Store Plum Cake
Since it is a dry cake, it has a longer shelf life than a frosted cake. It can be stored at room temperature for 4 – 5 days. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container.
It can be stored in the freezer for 2 weeks.
More Easy Recipes
Check out our recipes that you can bake for the upcoming holiday season:
Frequently Asked Questions
Apart from the basic ingredients, to make a classic plum cake, we need warm spices like cinnamon powder, clove powder, etc., along with dry fruits and nuts, dry fruits soaked in alcohol or fruit juice.
If the plum cake turns too dry, soak it with orange or apple juice. And if you are making an alcohol version, you can soak it with some simple syrup with alcohol in it.
Absolutely! You can decorate the cake any way you want. After the cake has cooled down completely, dust the top with icing sugar a bit.
For Black Jack
- 25 g Castor sugar
- 25 g Jaggery powder
- 17 g Hot water
- 180 g Salted butter
- 36 g Brown sugar
- 1 tsp Orange zest
- 40 g Blackjack
- 100 g Eggs
- ½ tsp Clove powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp Dry ginger powder
- 100 g All-purpose flour
- 10 g Almond flour
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- 16 g Cocoa powder
- 40 g Chopped almonds
- 40 g Chopped cashews
- 140 g Christmas mix
- 60 g Orange juice
- 60 g Apple juice
For Black Jack
- To make the blackjack, in a saucepan, add sugar and cook until it melts and turns amber in colour.
- Now remove from heat and add jaggery powder and hot water, then mix all the ingredients until there are no lumps and the mixture has a slight syrup-like texture.
- Transfer it to a bowl and keep it aside.
- Grease a 6-inch round baking tin by brushing butter and dusting flour. Dust away the excess by taping the tin upside down. Then, place the butter paper at the bottom. Also, preheat your oven to 180° C or 350° F (OTG mode: upper rod + lower rod + fan).
- In a bowl, sift in the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, natural cocoa powder, almond flour, baking powder, clove powder, cinnamon powder, and dry ginger powder, then set it aside.
- In a bowl, beat butter and brown sugar along with orange zest to cream them until it’s pale in colour and light and fluffy in texture.
- Add in egg and give it a mix. Then add in blackjack and mix to get a homogenous mixture.
- Fold in the dry ingredients in parts.
- Fold in the nuts and dry fruits of chopped cashews, chopped almonds and Christmas mix.
- Now add in the apple juice and orange juice juices, then give the batter a final mix until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Finally, pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. And bake it at 180° C or 350° F (OTG mode: lower rod mode only) for 35 – 40 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes