Christmas Fruit Cake


Like every year, this year too I was in my hometown during the Christmas Eve. There is something mystical about being in Mangalore during this time of the year. With the Churches lit magnificently, carols sung, chimes ringing and the cribs bedecking, it takes me back to my fond memories of just being there, making merry and enjoying every moment.

Though Christmas was never celebrated at home, it always held a special space in my heart. After all it roots me back to my Catholic school where every year this season would be celebrated in utmost fiesta fashion. Infact, our parents encouraged us to celebrate in the ways we could. Bringing home plum cakes or wishing neighbors was never ruled out.

I love the spirit that Christmas brings. It fills the air with a lot of fun and merry everywhere. We love the walk into malls and shops where the Christmas trees are adorned with tiny tinsels, bells and stars. The glitter that these bring to the shops and malls makes the entire place look like we have walked into a fairy land from a fairy tale book. During this time of the year, there is laughter and fun and all are in holiday spirits. Uncork the champagne.... It's another year end. Amazing how a Christmas can infuse so much life into people.

On this occasion, I made the traditional Christmas cake. It's commonly called as Plum cake, though it doesn't contain any plums in it. It has fruits soaked in rum for close to a month. Loads of raisins, sultanas, apricots, tuti-fruities, fruit peels, dates, cashews, pistachios, almonds, etc. with the warm earthy spices infusing this cake with rich aromatic fruit and rum flavors.

Christmas Fruit Cake


50 gms raisins
50 gms sultanas
50 gms apricots
50 gms cashews
50 gms almonds
25 gms dates
25 gms pistachios
1 tsp fruit peels (lemon & orange)
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp orange juice
1 egg
100 gms butter
250 gms all purpose flour
50 gms granulated white sugar
50 gms brown sugar
A tbsp of water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp clove powder
1/2 tsp salt


Making the Fruit cake would require some preparations ahead of time. So plan in advance. Soak the raisins, sultanas, apricots and fruit peels in rum a few days ahead. Allow it to absorb all of it. Let it rest. Probably refrigerate it. That's how I left my fruits to soak. On the day of bake, bring them out to room temperature. Add the rest of the fruits, dried fruits and tuti-fruties (colored papaya bits) to it. Dust these with a little all purpose flour so as to prevent sinking in the cake batter.

In a pan, add the granulated white sugar with a tbsp of water. Bring it to a boil gently. Allow to bubble through till the sugar syrup turns golden brown. It burns very quickly if unattended. So take care that the sugar is deep golden brown in colour, but not burnt, else it will taste bitter. Add the butter and brown sugar to this and combine well for a minute. Turn off the flame and set this aside to cool a little. This is how the cake gets its golden brown colour. Next add a tbsp of orange juice.

In another bowl, beat an egg. Add this to the above mixture and combine well.

In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients like the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices. Make a well in the centre of this, add the prepared wet mixture into this. Add in the dry fruits and nuts and fold gently till it's combined.

Spread the batter on a greased baking dish and bake it gently on 180 degrees for about 45 mins till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow it to cool on cooling rack.

This may look like a lot of work, but this is what makes the fruit cake so different and special from the others. Fruit cake is allowed to mature a day or two before consuming. This allows the fruit flavors to infuse well into the cake, making it moist and richer with time. You may also wet a kitchen towel with rum and cover the cake in the rum soaked towel as I did. This makes it better and helps it last longer. This cake is lavish with fruits and nuts with every bite making you feel rich and heavenly!


  1. Gorgeous looking fruit cake. My favorites!

  2. Thanks a lot Caroline! My favorites too!

  3. Love those rich colors. They make me drool over and over... again and again!!!