how to make plum cake recipe

Plum Cake Recipe

Here’s how to make a traditional plum cake. I know it’s great for Christmas, but it’s one of my favourite dishes so I make it all year round! 🙂

Ingredients for a traditional plum cake

  • 150g dark raisins
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 50g golden raisins
  • ¼ cup rum
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 Cardamom Pods
  • ½ tbsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp instant coffee
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • zest of half lime
  • zest of half orange
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 50g butter
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 210g flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

How to Make a Traditional Plum Cake

  1. In a non-metallic bowl, add the rum to the chopped fruits and leave them to soak for at least one day.
  2. Roast cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg,cardamom, coriander and cumin and grind to a fine powder.
  3. In a large bowl, add the soaked fruits, roasted spice powder, coffee, ginger, lime zest, orange zest, water, butter, baking powder and sugar.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  5. Whisk the eggs and add them to the fruit mixture. Mix well.
  6. Add flour and baking soda.
  7. Line a baking pan with baking paper. Transfer the cake mixture to the pan.
  8. Bake for about 1 hour until firm to touch, or when a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  9. Leave to cool and eat, at any opportunity for 2-3 weeks. Keep in an airtight container.

More About This Recipe

This is a recipe for life.  Bring it out for Christmas, or if you become rather addicted to the warm, comforting spices in this cake, use it for all the celebrations you have!  Add this bit of history to your dining table conversations, and delight your guests with your culinary knowledge of this cake!

The Christmas Cake originally took form in medieval England.  It was taken from a “porridge like” recipe that was eaten on Christmas Eve.  It was believed to line the stomach after a good period of fasting, in preparation for the impending overindulgence of the Christmas period!  Full of oats, spices and dried fruit, it was called a Plum Pudding, or Christmas Plum Cake and was traditionally boiled.  This version still gets used for a “pudding” on Christmas Day in England.

Over the years, the cake began to evolve and have the addition of wheat and flours added.  By the 16th Century, it resembled the cake we see more in modern times.  Households were beginning to own ovens where the traditional boiling became replaced with baking and marzipan and icing was added.  It is rather a mystery as to why the term “Plum Cake” was ever used, as there is no history of the cake ever having the addition of plums!  We can only assume it was from the dried fruits used.

By the 19th Century, these cakes were being sent out of England weeks or even months, before Christmas.  They were added to hampers as gifts for family and friends as it kept and travelled so well.  This tradition became more and more widespread and families began to make their own versions.  They added nuts, soaked fruit in wine, sherry or brandy, added citrus fruit peel and even added cream cheese!

Today, across the world, this cake is well known and the aromas provoke memories of celebration, family time and over indulgence.  Have a go at this recipe and keep it safe…you’ll be making it for years!


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