A couple weeks ago, one of my good friend asked if I could make a plum cake for her. I had to be modest and ended up telling her that I have never made a plum cake before but will surely bake her one. So, I took it up as an assignment to find a recipe to bake the perfect cake. Trying to find a good recipe is a challenge by itself and eventually I came across one that I liked. Although the original recipe uses eggs, I made some tweaks and was very happy with the outcome. I agree that the cake didn't turn out as dark as it needs to be, but the taste was spot on. The cake that I actually baked for my friend was half-gone couple hours after I baked it and so ended up making another one exclusively for her.
So, here's a delicious fruit cake perfect for the holiday season...
Adapted from Kitchen Secrets
1 1/4 cup organic spelt flour + 1 tbsp (or whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice powder
1/2 cup fruit cake mix (I used SR brand fruit mix)
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp cashewnuts, chopped
2 tbsp almonds, blanched and chopped
1/2 tsp rum extract (for darker rum flavor, use 1 to 1 1/2 tsp rum extract or 1-2 tbsp rum)
1/2 cup orange juice, no pulp (you can reduce it to 1/4 cup for a firmer texture)
5 tbsp vegan butter (I used earth balance)
2 tsp flaxmeal
1/4 cup light brown sugar (or raw sugar)
1/2 tbsp powdered sugar, for decoration (optional)
1/2 cup red cherries, halved, for decoration (optional)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp
To prepare the caramel sauce:
In a deep pan, add the raw sugar and 1 tbsp water and allow to boil on medium heat. When the sugar starts boiling it, it will turn gooey, remove from heat and add 1/4 cup water while slowly stirring the sauce. Place the pan back on medium-low heat and keep stirring occasionally till the sugar dissolves completely and the caramel starts turning from golden brown to dark brown. The entire process takes about 10-12 mins. Make sure the caramel doesn't turn too dark otherwise it will give a bitter taste. After it cools down a bit, add the rum extract, mix well and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the fruit cake mix (or you can also use a mix of cherries, dates, apricots, dried pineapples, candied orange peels or the zest of 1/2 orange), walnuts, almonds, cashewnuts (or any nuts of your choice). Add 1 tbsp of the flour and mix well to coat the fruits and nut mix.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a bowl, sieve the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice powder, flaxmeal and salt. Mix well to combine evenly.
In a bowl, add the butter and light brown sugar and beat well (if you are in a hurry like me, melt the butter in the microwave for 10-12 secs, cool for a min and use) until fluffy. Add the orange juice and whisk well.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well until combined.
Now, add the fruits and nut mix and caramel to the batter and mix well.
Grease a baking pan with cooking spray (or 1 tbsp butter) and pour the batter. Bake for 36-38 mins. Insert a toothpick to check if the cake is done otherwise bake it for another 5-10 mins (mine took about 36 mins).
Cool the cake completely (unlike me, I was too tempted to wait and hence a slight crack when overturning it) and sprinkle the powdered sugar on top and decorate with red cherries (or serve as-is). Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!!