New England Malayalee Association’s blog

November 10, 2008

Christmas Special recipe – Plum cake


For a Malayalee, Plum cake is integral part of Christmas celebration. Jalina Shalabh shares the recipe of her famous plum cake preparation. Try it and please let us know if it was good.

I learned this recipe from my Mom. She made this every year around Christmas. Only difference from her recipe is, use of cashew nuts, that are from my Dad’s ‘Paranki Mavu’ and dry fruits that were dried at home.

I never got a chance to make it, since my two elder sisters (who thought I was adopted from an orphanage in Thirunalvelli, did not let me help at all in this task. Our helper ‘Raman’, who was from Thirunalvelli helped me to make a fake cake all the time around Xmas. So when my sisters distributed plum cake to the neighbors and friends, I used to distribute my sand cake to Raman and our colony choukidaar and our ‘doodh wala’.

Now don’t get alarmed, I told you I learned this from my Mom. After my sisters went off to college and my Mom retired from her teaching career, she taught me how to make this very special cake which is very dear to me. I don’t think I have mastered it like my Mom but she says I am close enough.

Here you go enjoy!


Raisins(Onakka munthiri) – 1 lb
Dates(Eenthapazham) – 1 lb
Candied fruits and orange and lemon peel – 1 cup
rum/brandy – 1 cup
Cashews – 2 cups
Allpurpose flour(Maida) – 4 cups
Baking powder – 3 tsp
Butter – 1 lb
Sugar – 4 cups
Sugar – 1 cup (to make caramelized syrup)
Eggs – 12 nos
Cinnamon(Karugapatta) powder – 1 heaped tsp
Nutmeg(Jathikka) powder – 1 heaped tsp
Cloves(Grambu) powder – 1 heaped tsp
Dry ginger(Chukku) powder – 1 heaped tsp
Salt – 3 tsp
Vanilla essence – 4 tsp


1)Dice the fruits and coat them with 3 tbsp of flour.

2)Add rum and mix well.

3)Keep this at room temperature over two weeks atleast.

4)Dice or crush the nuts into small pieces.

:- You can do these steps the day before you plan to make the cake.

5)Place the eggs and butter at room temperature the night before you make the cake.

6)Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

7)Measure and keep ready the flour, sugar and the flavorings.

:- To make the caramel, use a white enameled pot, if you have one. The light surface will help to see exactly the caramelizing process. If you don’t have one, use a medium saucepan.

8)Place 1 cup of sugar in the saucepan and add 2 tbsp of water.

9)Turn the stove to high and place the pan on the stove and let it boil.

:- Don’t stir the contents at all. As sugar melts and caramelizes, you may swirl the pan a bit once or twice.

10)Within 7 – 10 mins, a cherry wood colored caramel forms.

11)Immediately, remove the pan from the stove and very carefully add 1 cup of water to the caramel.

:- You may hold the pan above the sink and slowly add the water, for it may splash.

12)Stir the contents well to dissolve the caramel. Keep this aside.

13)Sift flour and baking powder, a couple of times and keep ready.

14)In a large container, whisk butter first and then add 4 cups of sugar and whisk again, until it is creamy.

15)Add eggs and whisk well.

16)Pour in the caramel syrup, the flavoring powders, salt and vanilla extract and mix everything together.

17)Add the flour-baking powder mix and fold this in with a wooden or plastic spatula or spoon.

18)When they are well mixed, add the candied fruits and nuts and mix again.

19)Spoon this into a 10 inch non stick loaf pans.

20)Bake for 1 hour at 350 degree F.

:- You may line the pan with parchment paper or brown paper (You will get this in Micheals or any craft store)

:- Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for another 10 – 15 mins and check again.

21)Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rake.

22)Pierce the cake with toothpick, and pour Brandy (about 3-4 tablespoon on each) on top and let it soak.

23)Before storing, cover the cake completely with wax paper first and then with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator

Photo courtesy: code_martials’s flickr page



  1. […] Christmas tree Lighting up Very bright Red, Greeen Blue, White Warm, Cozy Plush blanket In kitchen Mom’s fruitcake yummy, yummy Sitting down Stuffing Face All done go to sleep Christmas night Santa tiptoes In the […]

    Pingback by Christmas - a poem « New England Malayalee Association’s blog — December 10, 2008 @ 3:28 am | Reply

  2. Yummy cake Jalina…will definately drop by ur house 2 have dis yummy cake on dec 25th…wait 4 us:)

    Comment by Shalma — December 16, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  3. Hi, I’m going to make this cake, and I just wanted to make sure its right- 12 eggs? And in your opinion which is better- rum or brandy?

    Comment by Miakoda — December 19, 2009 @ 12:32 am | Reply

    • Hi Miakoda,

      Sorry for being mute…Both brandy ad rum are good. My personal preference is brandy. Yes 12 eggs are needed to for this quantity….

      Comment by Jalina — December 31, 2009 @ 10:15 am | Reply

      • Hi,

        I wanna make this cake today.
        What happens if I dont use 12 eggs…?
        Can I alter that somehow…please let me know..
        it would be really helpful.


        Comment by Neha — August 11, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  4. […] I don’t want to fathom. For those who do, there seems to be a step-by-step recipe here at New England’s Malayalee Assocation’s Blog ! It sure looks good.  Plum cake is best in Kerala, I guess , and at Kingstar! Posted by […]

    Pingback by A little Bit of Home « a little more mittaipink everyday — December 19, 2009 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  5. Hi
    I want to try your cake recipe. Looks very interesting.
    Where can i find Candied fruits and orange and lemon peel in US?
    Would appreciate your response.

    Comment by Meetali — June 16, 2010 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  6. […] turned out to be a lot better than what I expected it to be. I found a really good recipe in the New England Malayalee Association’s blog and while using that as the base, made my own Christmas fruit cake. The measurements for […]

    Pingback by Christmas Fruit Cake — January 13, 2011 @ 12:39 am | Reply

  7. Hi, This is so yummy.. could you pl tell me if i need to use dry dates or can i use wet dates

    Comment by Kavya — November 27, 2011 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  8. Very good

    Comment by Gautam Biswas — December 25, 2011 @ 1:31 am | Reply

  9. This is very good recipe…I made this without eggs..! I used double quantity of butter for that. Vegitable oil may be used..and it will be right for more health conscious peoples.

    Comment by Sona Moshat — December 8, 2012 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  10. I had tried this last year and it was a superhit, so i decided to do this every year on Christmas for my family. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, God bless!

    Comment by Sahi — December 19, 2012 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

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