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Kerala style Alcohol - Free Plum Cake

Kerala style Alcohol - Free Plum Cake

Recently I have been venturing into a bit of cake decorating and the likes, thanks to the idle days of maternity leave when the Baby is well behaving and  I could actually sneak out to the kitchen without her wailing for me. Growing up, I was used to the nice aroma of Mom's kitchen, there was always something she baked, either for the family or neighbours. Even though she taught me how to bake since I was probably 10 years old, it is amazing how I never learnt much about cake decorating. Twenty years later, I am happy to say that my cakes usually turn out good, but my decorating still needs a long,long way to go. So I made a plan to bake more regularly, which gives me the good excuse to  learn how to decorate the cake as well.

Hubby has been longing for his childhood favourite cake, Kerala Plum cake ever since our dating days, and even suggested Plum cake for our tiered wedding cakes. Unfortunately, my favourite chocolate flavour was chosen for the wedding cake, so I promised him that I would bake the Plum cake myself in the comfort of our home. So almost two years later, I delivered my promise which was well received with much delight as it tasted as good as the ones he had during his childhood days! The plum cake was  a good base as I wanted to decor it with my fondant and sugarpaste roses.

Kerala style Alcohol - Free Plum Cake

My mom bakes almost a similar version of this cake, which is steamed instead of baked; her fruitcake is always a hit at our family parties and gatherings. For religious reasons our fruit cakes are obviously alcohol-free, but they taste amazingly good that even my English friends in uni prefer the recipe than their traditional alcohol glazed Christmas fruitcake. I tweaked the old recipe here and there to get a perfect version that hubby likes, and fermented my fruits with orange juice for a week prior to baking the cake.

Kerala style Alcohol - Free Plum Cake

The cake can be kept for up to a month, or longer but it never lasted that long in our household. It is a good base for cake decorating, as covering it with fondant or royal icing actually helps to 'lock' its moisture, besides, complements the sweet marzipan and fondant taste. I would even recommend this for tiered wedding cakes, just as the British traditional wedding cake flavour. 

Few tips that I learned for fruit cake:

Always mix your fruit with the flour so the fruis will be scattered all over instead of sinking in the bottom of the cake. 

Try to preserve the fruits with apple or orange juice for about a week prior to making the cake, as the flavour will be more amalgamated and makes the cake tastes better.

Ensure caramel is brown but not burnt (!) as this distinctly determines the flavour of the cake.

So, here's the recipe. Try it once, and maybe you will definitely be convinced to make it again , just in time for Christmas and New Year!


  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs-separated
  • 1/2 cup mixed peel
  • 1/2 cup glace cherries
  • 3/4 cup raisins 
  • 1/4 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • (A pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)

For the caramel

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

( Melt the sugar and water on medium heat until it turns golden brown and concentrates into a 1/2 cup caramel)


1. Mix all the fruits and almond with the orange juice into an airtight container, and keep this in the fridge for a week prior to baking the cake.

2. Using electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until almost white in colour. Add in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla extract. Put this batter aside.

3. Mix the flour with baking powder and cinnamon. By a week's time, the fruits would have absorbed all the orange juice but should there be remaining juice, drain the juice off and coat the fruits with flour mix.

4. Pour in the flour-fruit mix alternating with the caramel into the batter until well blended.

5. Beat the egg whites until it forms stiff peak meringue, this will take about 8 minutes with stand electric mixer, or slightly longer with handheld mixer. Add the meringue into the batter using fold in technique.

6. Pour mix into a 23 cm cake pan and bake for 1 hour at 170C or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.

Cool the cake on wire rack and decorate it if you like with royal icing, or marzipan and fondant icing. This can be kept for a month in an airtight container.