Sunday, December 27, 2015

Eggless Plum Cake / Christmas Cake / Fruit & Nut Cake

Plum Cake aka Christmas Cake is a fruit cake loaded with various types of dried fruits, nuts and spices.

As per the English tradition, hundreds of years ago, Christmas Cake began as plum porridge. Over the years, they modified the original recipe by adding dried fruits, spices, butter, flour and eggs. Today these cakes are prepared in different ways and in different shapes and textures. The traditional cake is made well ahead of Christmas by soaking the dried fruits and nuts in brandy, sherry or rum for a period of time. Surprisingly, Plum cakes need not necessarily have plums in them; plums are now replaced with other dried fruits likes raisins.

On this Christmas eve, try this no egg, no alcohol Plum Cake aka Christmas Cake.


For Caramel:

White Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Hot Water - 1/3 cup

For Spice Mix:

Cardamom Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Clove Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Dry Ginger Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Fruits and Nuts Mixture:

Dry Fruits - 1 3/4 cups (I used apricot, plum, raisins, cranberries, dates and tutti frutti)
Dry Nuts - 1 1/4 cups (I used cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts)
All Purpose Flour - 2 teaspoons

Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks) + 1 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour (maida) - 4 cups  + for dusting
Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Hot Water - 3/4 cup
Dark Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
White Sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
Yogurt/Curd - 1 cup
Orange Zest - 2 teaspoons
Plum Jam - 3 tablespoons
Orange Juice - 1 tablespoon

Bundt cake pan or two 9" round cake pans


Prepare Caramel:

  1. Take sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Heat it on low flame until it browns and starts melting.
  2. When the mixture turns dark brown, turn off the heat.
  3. Carefully pour hot water, little by little. Take care as the syrup might splatter around when you pour hot water.
  4. Keep the syrup aside and let it cool down to room temperature.
Prepare Spice Mix:
  1. In a small bowl, take all the ingredients listed for Spice Mix and mix well. Keep aside.
Preparing Fruits and Nuts mixture:
  1. Chop all the dry fruits.
  2. Chop all the dry nuts.
  3. Take the chopped fruits and nuts in a bowl and dust them well with all purpose flour such that all the fruit and nut pieces are well coated with flour.

Preparing the cake:
  1. Melt all (1 cup + 1 teaspoon) the butter. Do not heat it until it becomes ghee; just melt it down.
  2. Take a teaspoon of melted butter, grease the cake pans and dust with some flour. Keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  4. In a bowl take all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and prepared salt mix. Sift the dry ingredients twice together or whisk well. Keep aside.
  5. In a large bowl, take hot water, dark brown sugar and white sugar. Whisk well until the sugar melts.
  6. Pour the prepared caramel syrup, whisk well.
  7. Pour melted butter, whisk well.
  8. Now add yogurt, vanilla extract, plum jam and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly until well combined.
  9. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and mix gently until well combined.
  10. Pour orange juice, mix gently until combined.
  11. Add the fruits and nuts mixture. Mix gently.
  12. Pour the cake batter into the greased and dusted cake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. 
  13. Reduce the temperature to 300F and bake for another 15 minutes or until the skewer inserted to center of the cake comes out clean. I used a single bundt cake pan. If you are using two round cake pans instead, the cake might take lesser time to bake to perfection.
  14. Remove the cake pan from the oven and let it cool down on a wire rack.
  15. Once the cake cool down to room temperature, cut into pieces and serve.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Plum Jam - Sweet, Sour & Spicy


Fresh Ripe Plums - 8
Sugar - 1 cup
Lemon Juice - 3 tablespoons
Orange Zest - 1 tablespoon (or use lemon zest)
Red Chili Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon


  1. Wash the plums and pat them dry.
  2. Pit the plums and chop them with their skin intact.
  3. In a thick bottomed pan, take chopped plum, sugar, salt and red chili powder. Cook until plum is soft and mushy.
  4. Add orange zest and lemon juice. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and loses all the liquid content. The mixture will start coming together but before it forms a lump, turn off the heat as the sugar in the jam will solidify slightly on cooling.
  5. Serve as required or store in air tight container to serve when needed.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kalakand - Easy and Quick Recipe with Condensed Milk


Fresh Paneer - 500gms
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 400ml
Cardamom Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Kewra Essence - 1/8 teaspoon (optional)
Saffron Stands - 6, soaked in 1 tablespoon warm milk + garnishing
Pistachios, slivered - 2 tablespoons
Almonds, slivered - 2 tablespoons

For Aid:

A square/rectangle container of atleast 1 1/2 - 2 inches depth, greased with little ghee or butter
A spatula greased with little ghee/butter


  1. If you are using home-made fresh paneer, crumble it thoroughly. If you are using store-bought paneer slab, grate it.
  2. In a thick bottomed pan, take crumbled/grated paneer, condensed milk, cardamom powder, saffron milk and kewra essence(if using).
  3. Place the pan on medium flame and keep stirring until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer into a greased container.
  5. Level the mixture with a greased spatula.
  6. Sprinkle slivered pistachios, almonds and saffron stands. Press them gently into the mixture.
  7. Serve once cooled or chilled.
  8. You can store the pieces in air tight box, refrigerated for 2 days.