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These plum cake recipes will make all your festive dreams come true

Plum cakes are characteristic to Christmas. A dense, moist cake, usually with a bit of rum (thanks to the soaked fruit), the cake feels like a warm hug on a cold Christmas evening. As the festival approaches, we have some plum cake recipes for you, to allow you to get a head start on the preparations.

Christmas is incomplete without some plum cake and eggnog. The cake is a warm, indulgent recipe which uses dried plums soaked in rum (in most recipes). When baked, they release the most delicious flavour into the cake, and complete with the addition of spices and vanilla, make for a fragrant, delicious treat.

Plum cakes are like tea cakes or pound cakes, in the sense that these come without frosting or icing. The cake itself, thus, is a dense cake moistened with the addition of butter/oil and liquids. Even if not for Christmas, it tastes amazing when paired with either tea or coffee, which it why it should be a must-have in your pantry or snack cupboard.

As Christmas is approaching, we’ve listed down some plum cake recipes for you – with alcohol, without alcohol and eggless versions, to cater to everyone’s needs.

Plum cake recipes to try this winter

Traditional plum cake

plum cake recipes
Image: Courtesy of Jill Heyer/Unsplash

A traditional plum cake uses dried fruit (plums, raisins, cranberries and more) soaked in good quality rum for about three weeks. The rum is topped off every week or so and the cake is rested for about a week before it’s eaten. So, anytime from now is ideal to start the baking process to have a delicious cake ready by Christmas!

Recipe Courtesy: Ginger Skillet

Ingredients

For the fruit soak:

  • 500 grams mixed dried fruits (prunes/plums, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, blueberries etc.)
  • 150 ml good quality rum
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

For the cake:

  • 180 grams unsalted butter
  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp molasses or treacle (optional)
  • 180 grams flour
  • 50 grams ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)

Method

  • Mix all your fruits and add to an airtight jar. Top with rum, orange and lemon, and let it infuse for up to 20 days. You can add more rum if needed. In case you cannot soak the fruit for three weeks, give it as much time as possible, the minimum being overnight.
  • The day you are baking your cake, preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius and butter a nine-inch baking pan.
  • Measure out your dry ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly break in your eggs into the mixture and continue to whisk until pale and airy. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients, being careful to fold it in gently so as to keep some of the fluffiness intact.
  • Once combined, add the soaked fruits and alcohol mixture. Fold again, and transfer into the baking tin.
  • Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool, slice and serve with whipped cream or marmalade, alongside hot chocolate or some tea (or even eggnog).

Eggless/vegan plum cake

plum cake recipes
Image: Courtesy of Ricardo Díaz/Unsplash

Even if you’re a vegetarian or are allergic to eggs, you can still indulge in a good old plum cake. This recipe is eggless (and vegan) and will make for a delicious treat for your Christmas do!

Ingredients

For the fruit soak:

  • 400 grams chopped dry fruits (plums, almond, raisins, sultanas, walnuts, dried berries, candied orange peels, dates)
  • 1 cup good quality rum

For the cake:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup neutral flavoured oil
  • 1.4 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

Method

  • Soak your fruits in apple juice overnight in the refrigerator. Take it out and let it come to room temperature the next morning, before you begin baking.
  • Mix all your dried ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl.
  • Whisk your sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and mix well. Slowly add your dry ingredients and fold until combined.
  • Mix well, add your soaked fruits and transfer to a greased and lined baking tin.
  • Bake it in a 180 degree preheated oven for an hour to 75 minutes, until the cake is cooked and the top is golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack and serve warm with some caramel or ice cream, or with a hot beverage.

Non alcoholic plum cake

plum cake recipes
Image: Courtesy of Prince Abid/Unsplash

If you have kids in the house, or if you yourself do not drink alcohol, you can still enjoy a delicious Christmas cake. There are several plum cake recipes without the alcohol available on the internet, which give you the same warmth without the booze. This recipe is eggless and uses a caramel to enhance the sweetness. If you want, you can use the basic sugar and oil/butter recipe if you don’t want to make the sauce. You can also use the recipe with eggs (on top) and replace the alcohol with apple juice or apple cider.

Ingredients

For the fruit soak:

  • 300 grams dried fruits (plums, cranberries, raisins, sultanas, candied oranges and mixed berries)
  • 1 cup apple juice

For the cake:

  • 1/3 cup neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plus two tablespoons water
  • 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour (we recommend a mix of all purpose and whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (for added flavour)

Method

  • Soak your dried fruit in apple juice overnight. Next morning, remove from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.
  • In a pan, add your sugar and two tablespoons water. Heat gently until the sugar melts and caramelises. Keep cleaning the sides of the pan to ensure the sugar does not crystallise.
  • Next, add a cup of water and stir until the caramel dissolves completely. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line your baking tin.
  • Now, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the caramel. Add fruits, mix and transfer to a baking tin.
  • Bake for about 70 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.

(Hero and featured image credit: Jill Heyer/Unsplash & Prchi Palwe/Unsplash)

These plum cake recipes will make all your festive dreams come true

Anushka Goel

Anushka has worked with publications such as Times of India and Being Indian. A graduate from Xavier Institute of Communicatios, she specialises in entertainment, food and travel. She also likes to write about sustainability and beauty. When not working, you can catch her reading a book, tending to her plants, cooking or playing an instrument.

   

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