Whatever the festival, nothing conveys our love and gratitude for family and friends like homemade gifts. Richly spiced plum cake is a perfect gift for all celebrations. This classic cake, which has now become known as fruitcake, has many versions all over the world since the meaning of the word ‘plum’ has changed overtime. This particular recipe is derived from the Anglo Indian style plum cake with of spices, semolina and orange juice.
The Anglo Indian version uses rum which I have replaced with orange juice in my recipe. Also for the classic fruit cakes, the fruits and nuts are soaked overnight or for many days in alchahol or fruit juices to enrich the flavour. To cut the prep time short, I cook the fruits and nuts with orange juice and ginger to achieve that depth of flavour. That is why I call it Easy Plum Cake as I don’t have to start making it days ahead of the occasion.
I remember when I was a child, only one bakery in Lahore used to bake this cake and my father always brought it for formal tea parties. I looked forward to sink my teeth into a thick slice that seemed to be straight out of children’s classic storybooks.
Sweet and sour plums, dried fruits and nuts cooked in orange-ginger syrup, folded in flour and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg make a rich, moist and decadent cake, delicious enough to create lasting sweet memories.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons spice mix of ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
2 tablespoons semolina
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1+1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon orange peel
)2 cups mixed nuts and dried fruits( dried plums, black currents, raisins, walnuts, cashews, candied fruits
2 tablespoons butter
This Is What You Do:
Put a layer of non-stick baking parchment in the base of the tin. Line the sides of the tin with a double layer because this cake cooks for a little no time and we don’t want the sides to get burnt or too dark before the cake is baked in the middle.
Heat orange juice, brown sugar, ginger, butter and more than half of dried fruits and nuts in a saucepan.
Cook on medium heat till the sauce thickens slightly, but is still thinner than pancake syrup. Remove from heat, set aside.
Add flour to a big mixing bowl. Mix baking powder and baking soda with flour.
Add beaten eggs and vanilla essence to flour and mix thoroughly.
Add the orange juice sauce and dried fruit mix to the flour, save 1/4 cup of the liquid sauce and set aside. Mix everything.
Add semolina, milk and vegetable oil. Mix till everything is properly combined.
Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining dried fruits and nuts on top.
Cover the pan tightly with foil.
Bake covered for 50 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes till the cake has a nice, rich brown colour on top.
Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup sauce over warm cake.
Cool completely before removing from the pan.
Slice and serve with tea or coffee.