Christmas cake - Kerala style is a delicious cake made with dry fruits, nuts, spices, and caramel syrup. As the name suggests, it is a popular treat especially during Christmas in Kerala (a southern state in India). Most folks love bakery-style fruit cake due to its rich flavors. Christmas Fruit cake or Plum cake as it is sometimes called is a regular purchase when I visit a local bakery back home. It is also available in some of the Indian stores here quite often. My first attempt at making this cake with a lot of inputs from friends and the internet turned out just perfect. The taste of this delicious homemade cake is just incredible. The store-bought ones definitely can't match the fresh taste of this cake made at home. You have to definitely try it out yourself to find out!
There's an alcoholic version of this cake where you soak all the dry fruits before adding them to the batter. However, the cake I made is a non-alcoholic version. You can soak the dry fruits used in orange juice if not using alcohol, but I skipped that. The soaking will probably make your cake even moister. I was quite happy with the moistness of this cake that I made. So you can decide for yourself whether you want to soak it in orange juice or use it as is.
How to make the Caramel syrup for Kerala Style Christmas cake ?
Making the caramel syrup is the main highlight of this recipe. There are two ways to make it. One is melting the sugar using a low to medium flame and browning it. See the collage picture below for reference. Later a little water about a quarter cup is added to it, which will crystalize the solution. Reheat again to get the desired consistency and then cool it. This entire procedure may take somewhere around 10 to 20 minutes. You need patience as the sugar can easily get burnt, so you need to be extra attentive during the entire preparation.
The other way is to start with melting sugar and water combined. Keep heating till it forms a brown solution. This may be easier in terms of less chance of burning but will take longer. You can follow either method for making caramel syrup.
I followed the former method. One problem that I faced was, the syrup got solidified by the time I had to mix it in the batter. It is winter with low temperatures here and very easy for the caramel syrup to solidify. I had to reheat it, cool it a little quicker, and add it to the batter before it solidifies. It finally turned out okay. So in case you have a similar situation don't panic, just use this workaround.
Process of making Christmas Cake Kerala Style
The fruits and nuts can be coated with flour so it does not sink to the bottom while baking. Using fresh ground spices like clove and cinnamon spices can give an exceptional taste to the cake. Try and use fresh spices if possible. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and keep them aside. Line the pan with parchment paper and liberally coat with plenty of butter on all sides. Beat butter at room temperature along with sugar till it is really smooth. Later add vanilla, and one egg at a time alternating with the flour. The flour can be added in three additions. Fold in the dry fruits, nuts coated with flour, and caramel syrup, and bake at 375 deg F for 55 minutes. Start looking for the doneness of the cake by poking a toothpick in the center of the cake from 50 minutes of baking. In my case, I had to bake for another extra five minutes. Dust with powdered sugar once cooled. Slice and serve.
A delicious festive and traditional cake made with dry fruits, nuts , caramel syrup that tastes heavenly .
- 1 cup All-purpse Flour use 3 tbsp from this to coat dry fruits
- ¼ cup black raisin
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- ½ cup tutti-fruity candy alternately you can use dates, apricots or any other dry fruits you prefer.
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ tsp cloves fresh ground
- ½ tsp cinnamon fresh ground
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ cup sugar for browning and making caramel syrup
- ¾ cup sugar for beating with butter in the batter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 11 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
Take a heavy bottomed pan and heat sugar on low to medium flame, taking care not to burn.
This may take about 10 to 20 minutes and will turn into a brown sticky liquid.
Switch off the flame and pour a quarter cup of water .This will cause some splutter and make the sugar to crystalize.
Reheat the pan and keep stirring till you get a smooth free flowing syrup.
Keep aside to cool.
Whisk the all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and clove powder. Keep it aside.
Beat the butter which is at room temperature along with sugar using a hand mixer for about 5 minutes until it gets soft and fluffy.
Add vanilla , eggs one at a time and flour in three addition alternatively with each egg.
Finally, add in the cooled caramel syrup and the flour-coated dry fruits and nuts.
Fold in gently and transfer the batter into the baking pan smeared with butter and lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 375 deg F for 55 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when poked in the center.
Cool on a wire rack and dust it with powdered sugar .Slice and serve.
The festive season of Christmas is almost here. It is the season of giving and sharing. “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” - Ruth Carter Stapleton
Hope you are having a great holiday season with family and friends. This is a great time for spreading joy by giving, sharing, baking, and enjoying delicious Christmas goodies too. Wishing all my wonderful readers a holiday season that is full of peace, joy, and happiness!