If you are looking for a last minute plum cake recipe two days before Christmas then this is it. The same intense taste, dry fruits and nuts in every bite and you don't need to pre-soak the dried fruit either.
Every year I've wanted to make a plum cake and thought about soaking the fruits earlier, months in advance and forgotten. Thats me. So this year I decided I'm not even trying. I found another way. And thats what makes this last minute plum cake so awesome.
You don't need to soak dry fruits and nuts months in advance and plan ahead. A few days before Christmas, you can still have the same flavor, the same intensity and no one will be able to tell.
The trick here is fasten the process by simmering the dry fruits, nuts and peels in dark rum for 15-20 minutes, and then to let this mixture sit for two hours. This softens the nuts and fruits and infuses them with flavor. The dark rum adds a nice caramel flavor thats hard to beat. Traditionally, Christmas fruit cakes were made by soaking them in homemade wine and you can do that also.
This recipe is a family favorite, and we take our plum cakes seriously. Trust me, I know because Denver's a mangalorean. We prefer ours with more nuts than fruits and peels, but you can use a combination that your family likes.
Dried Nuts and Fruits in Last Minute Plum Cake
Using quality dried fruits and nuts in this last minute plum cake is key. Always taste them before using them in the recipe to make sure nothing has gone rancid or tastes old. I used cashews, almonds, sultanas, raisins, chrisonji, prunes and chopped orange peel. You can use whatever you have on hand.
Alcohol in Plum Cakes
Traditionally plum cakes were made by soaking dried fruits and nuts in homemade wine. But I prefer using good quality dark rum. The soaking process adds flavor, softens the nuts and plumps up the fruit. It also gives this Christmas fruit cake a slightly boozy taste, nothing overpowering, just a slight undertone.
A non-alcoholic version of plum cakes
If you prefer your plum cake without alcohol, just substitute the rum for apple juice. And follow the rest of the recipe as is.
Soaking fruits for Plum Cake
Originally, plum cake or Christmas fruit cake recipes require that you soak your dried fruits and nuts for weeks or months in advance. But my recipe is for the last-minute-rs. This recipe will give you the same taste, but with only 2 hours or soaking.
This recipe makes a dark, moist plum cake that will last you a few weeks in the fridge so you can keep enjoying it well past Christmas.
More Christmas Recipes
- Orange Rosemary Spatchcock Chicken Roast
- Masala Chicken Roast
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Vegetarian Gravy
- Eggless Chocolate Cake with Ganache
- Mind-Blowing Mushroom Sauce
- Vegetarian Lasagna
Watch Last Minute Plum Cake (Christmas Fruit Cake) Recipe Video
Last Minute Plum Cake (Christmas Fruit Cake)
- 250 ml (1 cups) Dark rum or 200 ml apple juice for a non alcoholic version
- 250 grams (1.75 cups) Chopped dried fruits and nuts cashew nuts, almonds, raisins, sultanas, prunes, chironji, walnuts etc
- 50 grams Chopped candied orange peel substitute with zest of 1 orange
- 160 grams (1.25 cups) All purpose flour
- 15 grams (2 tablespoon) Cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 ½ tablespoons Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 150 grams (0.75 cups) Dark brown sugar
- 175 grams (0.75 cups) Butter at room temperature
- ½ tablespoon Almond extract (optional)
- 4 Eggs
- In a saucepan, add rum, dried fruits and nuts and orange peel. Bring this to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Take this off the heat and set this aside for 1-2 hours, or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- When you are ready to bake the cake, pre-heat oven to 160 C/ 320 F. Line the base and sides of an 8 inch springform cake tin with parchment paper, making sure that the sides of the parchment paper are higher than the cake tin. Watch the video above to see how I do this.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Add dark brown sugar, butter, almond extract (if using) and eggs and whisk with an electric whisk till combined. Add the soaked dried fruits and nuts and fold with a spatula.
- Pour this batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for approximately 90 minutes. Start checking for doneness around the 80 minute mark. In some ovens, this cake can take up to 2 hours because it bakes long and slow. Use your judgement after the 80 minute mark, and check in 10-15 minute intervals.
- Once baked, let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, after which you can take the cake out of the tin or release the sides of the springform tin and let the cake cool completely.
- Alcohol Substitute: You can substitute the dark rum with brandy and port wine, or if you want to omit the alcohol, substitute with 200 ml of apple juice for a non alcoholic plum cake
- Orange Peel: You can substitute the orange peel for the same amount of lemon peel, or even use 25g of each
- Almond Extract: This adds a really nice flavour but isn't mandatory so you can skip this if you don't have access to this
- Storage: This cake can be stored in the fridge for weeks or can be frozen for up to 6 months.
The cake turned out amazing 🤩 made a loaf..i just wanted to know that is there any way to keep the the little moist after baking it?
Hey Varunika, glad you liked it. You can keep it moist if you store it in an airtight container
It looks amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Reena Joseph says
Hey Richa, Thank you so much for the last minute Christmas cake recipe. It was in time to surprise my folks ❤️So healthy too..... no caramel and still just perfect. Midnight of Christmas Eve was more the blessed, thanks to your work...God Bless !!!
So glad you and your family liked it Reena!
Lovina Mascarenhas says
Tried this recipe last night and the cake turned out to be just perfect. The booziness of the rum in every bite absolutely disguises the fact that the fruits have been soaked just a few hours before. Thank you Richa for this recipe. It is perfect.
Richa Gupta says
Haha, shortcuts to the rescue! We are glad the plum cake turned out well for you, Lovina!
Hi, the recipe looks good, but it's inconsistent in measurements. some are gms, some tablespoons. it'll be easier if it's just one measure -either cups and tablespoons or gms and tablespoons.
Ronak Mehta says
The cake looks perfect and fabulous to bake for a special day. Yes, its definitely the best fruit cake. Lovely!!
Richa Gupta says
Thank you so much, Ronak!
Richa, is your baking powder measure right - 1-1/2 tablespoons?
Yes I know that seems like a lot but thats the correct measure