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Christmas Fruit Cake / Kerala Fruit Cake / Plum Cake

Kerala Plum Cake or Christmas Fruit Cake is made with rum soaked dry fruits and caramelized sugar syrup and spices. A very traditional cake for Christmas.

I am very traditional when it comes to Christmas, I soak my dry fruits in rum by early November, get my wine ready, and make batches of cookies and hot chocolate mix as gifts for friends. Christmas is all about sharing.

Coming back to this fruit cake, its a family recipe, handed down from generations...this was a traditional Christmas cake while growing up, it has dry fruits, subtle rum flavor, caramel flavor along with vanilla and a bit of spices.....its a myriad of flavors and that makes it a special cake, well it was meant to be Special!!. This recipe has been in the family for as long as I can remember and I make it every kids actually wait for December for this unique cake, and yes!! you will not find it anywhere on the internet as this is a family recipe..I hope this cake becomes your Christmas favorite too.

I have had requests from friends and readers for a Kerala Fruit Cake as soon as I posted how to soak dry fruits in rum, so sharing my favorite fruit cake recipe, which I have made so many times these past 20 plus years and before that by amma, a very never-fail-fruit-cake!!

For some, the very mention of fruit cake is scary enough, the fruit soaking is confusing enough for new bakers, and so just to show you how easy baking fruit cake is; I had posted the dry fruit soaking method earlier, so that when you make this fruit cake, all you have to do is measure the dry fruits in a cup and add in to the batter, so easy and not confusing at all, easy and quick like ordinary cake.

Fruit cakes are so popular in Kerala, that almost all the bakeries will have their special cake, and most Christian families have one special too.....dry fruits soaked in rum or brandy plays the most important role in this cake, though you can also soak dry fruits overnight; if you do not like too much rum soaked dry fruits. For non alcoholic version of fruit cake, please check out my boil and bake fruit cake, where dry fruits need not be soaked, they are just boiled and cooled down and then added to the batter.

  1. The main problem faced when making fruit cake is that fruits might sink down, so to avoid that when mixing dry fruits into the cake batter, always coat it with flour (maybe a tablespoon or two) before adding to the batter.
  2. Caramelizing sugar is not rocket science, so do not panic. Just heat half cup of sugar in a saucepan, once the sugar starts to turn color on the sides, I put the fire to the lowest and once the sugar has melted (you can also stir with a spoon), switch off the fire and pour 1/3 cup of water, it will bubble and sometimes smoke will come out, do not panic....stand back and pour the water.....when the bubbling diminishes, stir and see if all the sugar has melted, if not switch on fire and heat for a min...turn off the fire and let it cool to room temp.
  3. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature, make sure all the ingredients are fresh.
  4. If you do not have time or cannot tolerate alcohol pungency, you can just soak it over night....though I used dry fruits which was soaked in early November.
  5. If you are a regular here, you might have noticed that I love volume cooking, cups and spoon are my kind of cooking, so most of my recipes are based on cups and spoon measurements, but for this particular cake; butter and flour has to be weighed out.
  6. Cake batters have different consistencies, for fruit cake the batter should be of scoop consistency ie you should be able to scoop the fluffy but thick batter.
  7. I am not a huge fan of sultanas or black currents so I omitted them, feel free to add it when soaking the dry fruits.

Author: Nisa Homey.
Yeild: 2 loafs.
Recipe Source: Amma.
Step By Step Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
Lets make the caramel syrup first.
Put half cup of sugar into a saucepan or a deep vessel. And put it on the fire, once it starts to brown on the sides, simmer the fire, either tilt the pan or stir with a spoon, so that all the sugar is melted and in amber color.

Switch off the fire and pour in 1/3 cup of water. Stand back while adding water as it may bubble up.

Stir and if there are any lumps, reheat and stir again...allow it to cool down to room temp.  Keep aside this, see I told you it is easy!!

Grease an 8 inch round pan or two loaf pan. I got this cute paper pans.

I sieved flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1tsp of spice powder, and salt into a newspaper...keep this aside.

All of 250 gms of homemade unsalted butter.

Cream butter for a minute with an hand held beater until fluffy.

Add in the 250 gm castor sugar (I measured sugar and blitz in the dry grinder). Cream for 2-3 minutes.

Add in eggs one by one, beat after each egg.....all of 5 eggs.

The batter will be very creamy.

Add half of the sugar caramel syrup and cream beat.

Add in the flour mix and rest of the caramel syrup...add the syrup cautiously, we do not want a loose batter

The batter will be very thick yet fluffy and creamy.

I took one heaped cup of rum soaked dry fruits.

Now add 2 tbsp of flour into the dry fruits...this is very important, so do not skip it.

Mix it with the spoon.

Add this into the creamy batter. With a spatula fold the fruits into the batter very gently.

The batter is scoop consistency, very fluffy and creamy.

Pour into greased pan.

Bake at 180 degree C for 35-40 min or until done.

Once cooled down, dust with icing does give a frosty Christmas look.

Enjoy Christmas with this fruit cake.

Kerala Fruit Cake

PREP TIME: 10 mins    |  COOK TIME: 40 mins    |  AUTHOR::
  kerala fruit cake  


  • Unsalted Butter: 250 gms
  • Flour: 250 gms
  • Eggs: 5
  • Caster Sugar: 250 gms (just take normal sugar and grind it to fine)
  • Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1/4 tsp.
  • Dry fruits: 1 heaped cup, you can increase half cup more if you like more dry fruits. Please refer to my dry fruits recipe for the dry fruits measurements.
  • Sugar Caramel: 1/2 cup.
  • Vanilla Essence: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom powder: 1 tsp.


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Grease and line baking pans.
  2. Make the caramel syrup (please refer the step by step method).
  3. Sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp of spice powder (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon), and salt into a newspaper, keep this aside.
  4. In a bowl, cream butter for a minute with an hand held beater until fluffy.
  5. Add in the 250 gm castor sugar (I measured sugar and blitzed in the dry grinder). Cream for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add in eggs one by one, beat after each egg, all of 5 eggs.
  7. The batter will be very creamy.
  8. Add half of the sugar caramel syrup and mix.
  9. Add in the flour mix and rest of the caramel syrup, add the syrup cautiously, we do not want a loose batter
  10. The batter will be very thick yet fluffy and creamy.
  11. Take 1 cup of dry fruits and add 2 tbsp of flour into it, this is very important, so do not skip it. Mix with a spoon.
  12. Add this into the creamy batter. With a spatula, fold the fruits into the batter very gently.
  13. Pour the batter into the greased cake pans.
  14. Bake at 180 degree C for 35-40 min or until done.
  15. Once cooled down, dust with icing sugar


  • Always preheat oven to 180 degree C before baking.
  • Do not bake in a cold oven.
  • Kerala fruit cake are best after a week.

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  1. cake looks awesome n delicious...

  2. No doubt a beautiful moist cake :) looks so tempting :) and a great post

  3. highly delectable chechi...

  4. did we want both castor sugar 250gms and normal sugar 250gms

    1. Tessy, what I meant was just powder 250 gm normal sugar to get superfine castor sugar, hope this helps.

  5. Yummy cake uuh.. ooo christmas season started uh akka?

  6. can i use brown sugar 250 grams and grind to powder....?

    1. Hi, I personally have not tried with brown sugar, but I guess you can give it a try...Merry Christmas in advance :)

  7. hai, Nisa Thanks for sharing the receipes & tips.I tried it outwith some variations.I reduced the amount of butter a little and added 1 cup yogurt.It came out really well .Was so soft & far better than store bought one

    1. Hi Anon, thanks so much for stopping by with the feedback!! Glad that you made it a bit skinny and yes!! its better than homemade....Merry Christmas to you!

  8. Nisa,
    Why does the fruits go to the bottom after baking?

    1. The main reason is that the dry fruits are too heavy to be supported by the cake batter, so we need to make them float rather than sink...and hence dusting of flour helps them....hope this helps.


  9. can we use ghee in fruitcake instead of butter

    1. I really haven't tried with ghee personally, but I would advise not to...thanks for stopping by :)

  10. Nisa, I'm a big fan of yours......tried out many of your recipes and they turned out to be a hit..... and now I know where to look for a recipe.....going to try this cake....Merry x'mas....and thanks a million

    1. Thank you, Nita and Merry Christmas to you too :)

  11. Hi Nisa... wanted to know if i can make this cake in the cooker. Waiting for ur reply...

  12. What should I do if I can't bake the whole cake batter at once bcz of the space problem??


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