Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Plum Cake

Recipe No: 245
I have mentioned about ‘Ann’s Bakery’ many times in my posts. It is the only bakery in my neighborhood that sells both Fruit and Plum Cakes. Usually those two names are used as synonyms, but Ann’s Fruit and Plum Cakes are very different. I like their concept of using all type of Fruits for Fruit Cakes but only Plums for Plum Cakes. The taste and texture of both of these are different. As per my recipes, Fruit Cakes have to sit and age for perfection as it uses Brandy, this doesn’t need that treatment. (I don't use Brandy for this, but if you want, you can too). Even though this is good to go on the day of baking itself, it is better from the 2nd day onwards.
Ingredients                                  Makes 2, 6 inch cakes
To make the Plum Puree
  • Dried Plums………………………..12
  • Water…………………………………1/2 Cup
To make the Caramel
  • Sugar………………………………….1/2 Cup
  • Hot Water…………………………..1/4 Cup
To make the Cake
  • All Purpose Flour………………….1 ¼ Cups
  • Baking Powder…………………….3/4 Teaspoon
  • Baking Soda…………………………1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt……………………………………..1/4 Teaspoon (Avoid if you are using salted Butter)
  • Dry Ginger/ Chukku Powder...1/4 Teaspoon
  • Cardamom Powder…………….…1/4 Teaspoon
  • Cloves Powder………………………1/4 Teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Powder………………..1/4 Teaspoon
  • Nutmeg Powder…………………...1/4 Teaspoon
  • Caraway Seeds/ Cake Jeera…..1/2 Teaspoon
  • Unsalted Butter…………………...1/2 Cup/ 1 stick
  • Vegetable Oil……………………….3 Tablespoons
  • Sugar………………………………....3/4 Cup
  • Eggs………………………………...…3
  • Vanilla Extract……………….......1 Teaspoon
  • Dried Plums Chopped..………...1 Cup
  • Toasted Cashew Nuts……........1/2 Cup (chopped)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of Flour to coat the Plums and Cashew Nuts
Method of Preparation
To make the Plum Puree
  1. Boil 12 Plums in ½ Cup Water. Once boiled, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 3 minutes. Switch off the heat and let it cool.
  2. Once cooled, blend the Plums together with the cooking liquid in a blender to a very smooth consistency. (Use 2-3 Tablespoons of Brandy if you want while pureeing.) Keep it aside till ready to be used.
To make the Caramel Syrup
  1. Heat Sugar with a Tablespoon of Water in a thick bottomed sauce pan on medium low heat till it become amber colored Caramel.
  2. Add boiled Water and let the Sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and let it cool down completely before using.
To make the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F/ 180˚C.
  2. Put a parchment paper and apply a thin layer of Butter on two 6 inch cake pans and spread some Flour. Do dust the extra Flour off. Instead of this you can use cooking spray.
  3. Sift together Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Dry Ginger Powder, Cardamom Powder, Cloves Powder, Cinnamon Powder, Nutmeg Powder and Salt really well. Once sifted, mix in the Caraway Seeds. Keep aside till ready to be used.
  4. Beat together Butter, Oil, Sugar and Vanilla Essence till light and fluffy.
  5. Add Eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  6. Mix in the Plum Puree and the prepared Carmel to the Butter - Egg mixture. (At this point the batter may look all curdled; but believe me it will be fine.)
  7. Stop beating and fold/ gently mix in the Flour mixture to the Batter. (Don’t over mix.)
  8. Toss the chopped Plum and Cashew nuts with 1 ½ Tablespoons of Flour thoroughly and mix them with the Cake batter.
  9. Divide and pour them equally among the two prepared Cake pans and level the top off.
  10. Bake them in the middle of the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the Cake comes out clean.
  11. Let it cool down for 10 minutes before taking out of the pan.
  12. Cut and serve at room temperature. Store the Cake covered with Aluminum foil.
Notes:
  • You can use Canola Oil instead of Vegetable Oil; the addition of the Oil will make the Cake moist.
  • Don’t avoid Cashew Nuts as the crunch is really good in this recipe.
  • If you don't have spice powders, please grind  whole spices and use.
  • Don't avoid Caraway seeds as it gives a signature flavor to Fruit and Plum Cakes.
  • While making the Caramel, don’t stir the Sugar, as stirring makes the Caramel gritty. But do swirl the pan often. Once the Sugar is caramelized, you can stir.
  • Adding hot Water to the Caramel will dissolve the Sugar fast. If it is cold Water, the Caramel will solidify and it will take a long time to dissolve.
  • Adding Water (hot or cold) to the Caramel results in bubbling up of the hot liquid. (It is very hot as Caramel  is formed only at high temperatures.) So do take care while doing this.
  • Over mixing the batter after the addition of Flour will develop  Gluten in the Flour which in turn makes the Cake tough.
  • Tossing Plums and Nuts with the Flour will separate the otherwise sticky Plums and prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the Cake.
  • Do chop the Plums small or it may sink to the bottom due to their weight.
  • Don’t open the oven while the cake is baking because sudden temperature changes may lead to the falling of the Cakes. (sinking in the middle)
  • Do insert a toothpick only if the top of the cake feels cooked. If you do it before it  is almost cooked,  the Cake may fall in that area.
  • This Cake will stay good at room temperature for a few days; so please don’t refrigerate. But on the other hand it freezes well too. But once thawed, don’t refreeze or  refrigerate.
  • If you want to use Brandy, add 2-3 Tablespoons while grinding the cooked Plums. Also drizzle 2-3 Tablespoons when the Cake is out of the oven and still warm. In this case the Cake will be good after a week or so.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

17 comments:

sojo said...

Hmmmm... Easter special? u know what? even Iam crazy about ANNS... love their rich plum cakes... ooooo...

Padhu said...

Looks irresistible!

Priya said...

Lovely crust and wonderful looking cake,simply irresistible..

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Tempting and irresistible one....

Parita said...

Cake looks so moist and delicious!

Vimitha Anand said...

Yumm yum yum... Cake looks so perfectly baked...

An Open Book said...

ah the famous anns bakery now who would not know that..the plum cake looks super duper moist

sindu simon said...

hi.....this recipe looks so delicious.i want to try it out.
but i have some questions,
what is the cooking liquid that you used to make the plum puree? and aslo what kind of plum did you use?the sunset ones?

Asha said...

Sindu... Cooking liquid is the liquid that is left behind after cooking the Plums in Water. If there is not enough, please add one or two Tablespoon more Water.
I used dried Plums from Costco. Use any dried Plums or Prunes... Sunset will be fine too... But you don't have to go for individually wrapped ones...
Thanks Sindhu...

sindu simon said...

alright.....thank you so much!!

sojo said...

mom brought plum cakes and fruit cakes from Anns this time... I ate one slice plum cake with my eyes shut and then read ur recipe... Asha, u really have done a great job... satyam parra, did u flick their recipe book...???????? wink!!!!

amy vinu said...

hi,tried your plum cake for christmas party.came out really well and everyone loved it,thanx a lot :)..do keep blogging,you have lot of fans waiting out here for more of Anns style recipe ...

Chinnu said...

Can u post ingredients to make the same cake in a smaller size.... i wouldn't want to take a risk making 2 big ones in the first trial .........not that i dont trust ur recipe .... i dont trust my cooking skills :( .

Asha said...

Chinnu... Even though I never tried, I have friends that did this by half... using only half of every ingredient. Most of them said it came out good... so go ahead and try it.... and give me a feed back...

Sminu Mary said...

I have tried your recipe last year and going to try this year too. It had come out really well. Whats the shelf life of this cake. I am planning to give away this cake pieces to colleagues. Please let me know

Asha said...

I am sorry for a late reply Sminu... Shelf life of this cake depends on the place where you are living.. If it is a cold place and you used a good quantity of alcohol, then the life will be high upto 3-4 months outside and a lot more in the freezer. If it is warm place 1-2 months outside will be okay
...

HannaHK said...

Hi Asha, I would like to try this recipe but I would like to soak the plums in rum. Do you think it would work well if I boiled the plums in half the water, pureed it and then add remaining quantity of rum and refrigerate it overnight. Please let me know as I would like to make it the earliest!

Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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