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Red Plum Poppy Seed Cake

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Kerala Plum Cake – Simple Version

Here is an individual serving version of the plum cake. There are a lot of raisins and nuts held together by the soft cake. Savor it with a cup of coffee or tea for an utterly satisfying snack experience.

What is a plum cake?

Plum cakes in India especially Kerala do not have anything to do with plums. It is a spiced dark brown cake studded with dried fruits, mainly raisins. The only similarity that I can think of is the dark plum skin and the color of the black raisins. I suspect the name stayed because of the dark raisins and the overall spicy dark flavors of the cake.

Christmas Fruit Cakes

During Christmas time these take on a richer version, and become the Christmas fruit cake. Every year we make this traditional cake, and sometimes we run out of ingredients or time and make this easy version. I never feel that it is quite the same in terms of richness but the taste is very similar.

Why is plum cake so popular?

The traditional Plum cake recipes were created ages ago and handed down from generation to generation. It made use of the best available local ingredients. Everyone loves it as it is a fairly shelf-stable cake for tropical climates. The flavors are perfectly suited to a palate that is used to spices.

During Christmas, bakers make a richer version of this cake. Often this involved weeks and sometimes months of perpetrations. Things have changed quite a bit, and thankfully, we can make a very good cake with much less time and effort. But can it replace the original one? Definitely not, so if you have the time, I urge you to give the traditional Kerala Christmas Plum Cake a try.

Individual Plum Cakes

I loved the single-serving version of Kerala plum cakes as a child. So I make these when nostalgia hits. Slice a sheet cake into small rectangles to make the individual versions. Wrap each rectangle in a piece of wax paper like toffee. These individually wrapped versions are a big hit in the lunch box as well.

Another fun thing is that just a couple of substitutions is all it takes to make this into an energy bar. Find the substitutions to make energy bar at the end of the post.

A look at the Ingredient list

Looking at the fruit cake recipe and these are the ingredients you will notice

  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Citrus
  • Spices
  • Eggs
  • Alcohol

Yes, it is a party in there!

When I adapted this recipe for my one bowl, rather one mixing bowl, fruit cake, I wanted all the original flavors. In other words, this is a quick recipe, but not an egg free, alcohol free, or any free recipe. Some of the ‘free’ versions are really nice. I just don’t think it is a right to call them Traditional Christmas cake or Kerala Plum Cake.

Prepping the Fruit

Soak the dry fruits a to plump them up a little. Chop them small think 1/2 centimeter. Do not use a food processor, we do not want fruit paste. Big chunks of fruits tend to sink to the bottom, hence the chopping. Add a little warm orange juice to the fruit mix and give it a good stir. Set aside for 10 minutes. If you have fresh squeezed orange juice all the better!

If you have fresh oranges grate the zest and squeeze the fresh juice over the fruits. Packaged orange juice or apple juice will work as well, but won’t be as flavorful.

Making the Cake

As long as you start with room temperature ingredients the mixing will be easy. I use only one bowl for mixing the batter. Cream the butter and sugar until well mixed and pale. To this add eggs one by one and beat well. Keep beating until the egg mix increases in volume.

To this mix add the sifted dry ingredients. The trick is to beat the egg butter mix well until it is fluffy and mix the other ingredients with the minimum of mixing. The idea is to help the egg batter retain as much of the trapped air as possible. This will ensure that the cake will hold its volume well and with uniform distribution of fruits .