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Christmas Fruit cake / Plum Cake

Allow the dry fruits to soak at least overnight.

Mixed Dry fruits:
1 cup ( date-dark raisin-golden raisin-apricot-dry cherry) or can use any dry fruits (tutty frutty) or even dried welch' dry fruits (US product)
Nuts: 1/2 cup of mix of cashew, almonds and pecans (add 1/2 tsp AP flour and coat well the nuts prevent not settling down in cake pan)
All purpose flour (maida): 1 cup
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Egg: 3 num
Butter: 1 stick (1/4 lb 0r approx 113 gm) (kept at room temperature)
Baking soda: 1/4 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Salt:1/2 tsp
All spice powder: 1 tsp or
Dry ginger- cinnamon-clove-nutmeg: 1/4 tsp in each spice powdered
Orange zest: 1 tbsp (from one orange)
Orange juice: soak the dry fruits , approxim just enough to cover the fruit (3/4 cup)
Rum extract :1 1/2 tsp
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

Before making the cake
Before start making the cake , try to soak the dry fruit for several hours, overnight or few days ahead, the more the merrier. I soaked for 24 hours and the juice are well absorbed by the dry fruits.
Warm the orange juice in microwave mix the dry fruits & rum extract and keep close the container for several hours, overnight or days! If it is soaked for days , try to stir time to time.

To make the caramel:

Sugar: 1/4 cup
Water: 1 tbsp
Warm water: 1/4 cup

How to make caramel?
Add sugar and 1 tbsp water keep in stove at low medium heat. When the sugar starts to caramelize , stir slowly with wooden spoon. The sugar will start to change color from light brown to dark. In between , keep in microwave the water for 1 min and warm it. When the sugar starts to turn brown , pour slowly the warm water keep ur face away! (caution: it splitter so be cautious!). Let it cool completly the caramel and add the vanilla essence.

To bake the cake
Preheat the oven at 35o degree, grease a small loaf pan and place a wax paper at the bottom.
Beat the butter, sugar until creamy add one by one the egg and beat until creamy, add the cooled caramel beat again.
Sift AP flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spice powder together.
Sprinkle the flour slowly in butter, sugar, egg caramel mixture and fold it.
Add the dry fruits only (if you ve little juice left keep it away or add in the cake mixture), nuts and orange zest. fold again.
Pour in grease pan and cook in middle of the rack for 40 to 50 minutes. If not cooked increase 10 min each time.
My cake was ready under 45 min! Depend of your oven!

Note: The alcohol is evaporated while baking so we can safely feed the kid. Rum is the key flavor and the extract do give the flavor of the original plum cake we get from the bakery. You can always skip the rum and soak in fruit juice but the flavor is different!

Some important tips before baking the cake:

Plan ahead for soaking!
Soak in advance the dry fruits in orange juice (with or without rum extract) or alcohol (if you wish)
There was pretty much 2 or 3 tbsp of orange juice was leftover after soaking the dry fruits, I added in my cake mixture (optional)
You can soak in alcohol or even skip it!
The cake takes a longtime to bake so line with wax paper.
If you don’t like any of the fruit listed in ingredients can be always substituted by the fruit and nuts of your choice.
Try to bake in reduce heat level (otherwise the cake tends to brown over the top )