|my cute little christmas plum cake|
So Christmas came and went. We welcomed it on 24th midnight and made it merry in our own Punjabi way over a get together with family and friends. 25th day was quite usual, however I did plan to make the evening special by baking a cake. Afterall, what is Christmas without the sweetness of a home-baked plum cake right?
Now, there are quite a few variations of a plum cake, some use rum, wine and brandy while others are good with orange juice. The authentic recipe required a lot of work (read: soaking of dry fruits in a concoction of rum and red wine a few days prior to Christmas) and I just did not get the time to do that. Therefore, on 25th evening post work a charged me decided to follow the alcohol free recipe of a Christmas plum cake (the variation with orange juice) and added a bit of my own twist to it.
I got a handful of walnuts, dates, raisins and tutti frutti and chopped them roughly. Then I started working on my batter. My sis-in-law (Tii) joined in the Christmas spirit and helped me with the cake. While I was sifting the flour with baking powder and salt, I asked Tii to start mixing the butter and sugar till it looked fluffy. We added two glorious eggs (one at a time) to the butter and whisked them well. We squeezed out the juice of an orange and added some to the butter mix. We roughly tore a few pieces of the orange rind and mixed it with the chopped dry fruits. Since I did not have the Christmas mixed spice handy, I made some at home by grinding cloves, cinnamon and mace together. I added this to the butter mix and to add a twist we grated some ginger in it. The dry fruits were added to the flour. And the flour mix was added to the butter mix slowly in shifts with some milk. Once the batter was ready I grated some nutmeg into it and gave it all a final whisk; Tii greased a bowl for me and I added the batter to it.
The bowl was shoved into the oven and left to bake for 30-40 minutes at 160 degree Celsius.
After the allotted time I took the cake out of the oven. I could whiff the aroma of all the flavours in the kitchen. The sweetness of sugar, the tanginess of orange and sharpness of spices all blended in together so beautifully. I left the cake on a rack to cool. Once it came to room temperature I decorated it with some tutti frutti (that was the only thing I could get hold of).
Post dinner we decided to enjoy the Christmas plum cake with some coffee.
My father-in-law found it amazingly soft and my mother-in-law too liked it. My husband who was expecting an authentic plum cake in one hour said “it is an amazing cake we had on Christmas but it is not a Christmas plum cake. I mean it is very christmasyyy BUT it is not a Christmas plum cake”. Tii and I chose to differ and enjoyed the delicious cake.
1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1.25 cups of brown sugar
6 tbsp of room temperature butter
2 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Handful of walnuts (roughly chopped)
Handful of raisins
3-4 dates (roughly chopped)
Handful of tutti frutti
.25 cup of orange juice
Few pieces of orange rind (roughly chopped)
1 tbsp of grated ginger
Mixed spice (powdered mix of 2 sticks of cinnamon, 2 cloves and a piece of mace)
Half grated nutmeg
½ cup of milk
To get your own sweet Christmas plum cake follow
Preheat the oven at 160 degree Celsius for ten minutes.
Mix butter and sugar together till fluffy. Add an egg and whisk well. Then add the other egg and whisk it again. Add orange juice, mixed spice and grated ginger to this and bring it all together.
Sift together flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add the chopped nuts to it.
Add the flour mix to the butter-egg mix in three shifts. With every shift add a little milk and stir the mix well.
Grease an oven proof bowl with some butter and coat it with a thin layer of flour. Add the batter to it and put the bowl in the preheated oven and bake at 160 degree Celsius for 30-40 minutes.
Once done, check if the cake is done by putting a toothpick in the middle. If the cake is done the toothpick will come out clean.
Take the cake out on a rack and let it cool. Decorate it with tutti frutti and other nuts and serve.
P.S.: The “plum cake-coffee” combo is heavenly.
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