Rich Fruit Cake or Plum Cake (3rd recipe, with thick caramel syrup and without alcohol)
All the ingredients should be at room temperature and please use standard measuring cups and teaspoons. Here I ‘ve used Indian standard measuring cup of 100 ml / 4 oz capacity. Please follow the recipe ingredients carefully and do not make any changes. Do not open the oven door (OTG) often when baking time.
The cake needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the fruits and nuts. Not using enough flour in your recipe will make the dried fruit sink to the bottom. To prevent this, dust the dried fruit in flour before adding to the mixture. Source – thekitchn.com and ehow.
How To Caramelize Sugar for thick sugar syrup?
Please use same measuring cup to measure sugar and water.
100 ml (1/2 cup / 4 oz) sugar
100 ml (1/2 cup / 4oz) hot water
When it melts (smooth and clear solution and there won’t be any sugar crystals), color changes from yellow to dark brown. Approximate time for this process (till melting on a low to medium heat) 12 – 15 minutes.
Do not stir or shake the kadai / pan. Switch off the heat and please wait for 2 minutes. Maintain a safe distance from the gas stove when mixing with water. Gently add 100 ml hot water. Do not stir now. Keep aside for 1/2 hour. You will get a clear syrup of 70 - 80 ml. Do not use thick sugar crystal.
Collect clear sugar syrup and boil again on a low heat for another 10 - 12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Caramelize sugar syrup is ready now (quantity will be reduced and it will become thick syrup / approximately 55 - 65 ml thick syrup, like honey). Switch off the heat and keep aside.
For the flour:
130 ml (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) all purpose flour ( maida ) (please use fresh all purpose flour) Indian standard measuring cup of 100 ml / 4 oz capacity.
½ level teaspoon + 1 pinch baking powder
One pinch salt
¼ level teaspoon clove powder
¼ level teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ level teaspoon nutmeg powder
75 g unsalted soft butter @ room temperature (not melted)
110 ml sugar (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons), measure sugar and then powder
2 eggs (net weight of 2 eggs are 110 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon shajeera (cake jeera)
65 g (1/2 cup) raisins
3 dried orange peel, finely chopped into ¼ - inch pieces
6 cashew nuts, chopped
6 seedless dates, finely chopped (net weight of dry fruits is 125 g – any dry fruit of your choice, like black currants, sultanas, figs..)
60 ml thick Caramel sugar syrup
8 cashew nut splits (to decorate cake) optional
8 raisins (to decorate cake) optional
2 tablespoon flour ( to dust fruits)
1 teaspoon extra butter ( to greasing baking pan )
1 tablespoon extra flour dusting ( to grease baking dish )
Dust fruits ( cashew nuts, dates, raisins & orange peel ) and shajeera with 2 tablespoons of flour and keep aside in a separate container for 1 hour. Mix well with a thick tablespoon. Flour should nicely coat on fruits and there won’t be any water content.
Grease baking dish with 1 teaspoon butter and dust with 1 tablespoon flour ( sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of flour inside a cake pan and shake to coat all greased surface. Turn pan upside down to tap out the excess flour ).
Pre heat oven at 170 * C or 325 * F.
2 nd stage:
Sieve thrice flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, clove powder and nutmeg powder.
In a big bowl, beat unsalted soft butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add egg one by one and beat until smooth and creamy (use electric beater).
Gently add dusted fruits and shajeera (do not add leftover flour). Mix it well slowly with the help of a thick tablespoon (do not use electric beater).
Add vanilla essence and honey. Gently fold sieved flour mixture in 3 batches. Stir it slowly till blended with the help of thick tablespoon.
First add 3 tablespoon (45 ml) thick caramel syrup and mix gently. Final cake batter should be a medium thick batter. If the mixture too thick and difficult to stir, then add again 2 - 3 teaspoon caramel sugar syrup. Cake batter should not be very thin. If the liquid is more, it won't bake properly. Do not add leftover syrup / milk / water ....
Transfer this cake mixture into a greased baking pan ( or paper lined ). Spread it evenly with a spatula, carefully decorate cashew nut splits and raisins on the top the cake batter and bake at 170 * C or 325 * F for 50 minutes or till golden brown or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean / leaves from the sides of the pan. Keep aside to cool for one hour.
Run a knife round inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and then invert the pan. Keep aside to cool on a wire rack for one hour and later cut into desired shape and size (or when it reaches normal temperature / once it cools, keep in refrigerator for 2 hours and later cut into desired shape and size).
Cake cutting tip:
Heat a knife first before cutting a cake for crumble-free slices. To heat the knife, you can run the knife under very hot water (or heat a knife directly) then wipe with a clean and dry kitchen towel.