I don’t like traditional fruit cakes eaten generally in Christmas time. I got to know these cakes when I moved to Helsinki, but I never became fond of them. This one, though, is a delicious version as it doesn’t have too many different fruits and also, almonds adds a nice texture. Oh and by the way, there is no plum in it.
When we say “plum”, we generally think of the often dark red or purple coloured fruit with the same name. Therefore, the name “plum cake” should normally make you think of a cake made with that fruit. However, in its old use, plum cake meant fruit cake, made generally with dried currants, raisins or prunes – or with fresh fruits.
My little research took me to a different version of it than the one I found (and worked hard to get the consistency right) in “Dinner With Mr. Darcy” cookbook – the ultimate guide to food related to Jane Austen. That one has some cream on its surface and I’m guessing that it tasted extremely rich (maybe too rich for my taste). I am not going to repeat the history of this cake here. There is a very nice little article about it on Jane Austen Centre website: https://www.janeausten.co.uk/twelfth-night-cake/
I liked this cake much more than other traditional fruit cakes because there aren’t any of those god-awful candied fruits in this one. The original recipe calls for dried currants and raisins, as was very common in Jane Austen’s time. However, I used dried cranberry instead of currants as I had them home already. But feel free to use currants if you can find it.
The resulting cake is not a fluffy light cake but a quite dense one, though, it doesn’t feel to heavy when you have a slice. But one slice is certainly enough, at least it was for me. I took it to our little breakfast last Monday with my dear friend Veera and we both liked a slice of cake after the breakfast. So, enjoy your cake any time of the day!
(makes 1 cake in 24cm cake pan)
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) dried cranberries* (use currants if you like / find)
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) raisins*
5 dl (or 2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp baking powder
225 gr. butter, softened in room temperature
3 dl (or 1 1/4 cups) brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
1 dl and 4 tsp (or 1/2 cup) almond flour (ground almonds)
1.5 dl (or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) sliced almonds
4 tbsp milk
*Put cranberries and raisins in a bowl and mix with 2 tbsp brandy and 2 tbsp sweet wine. Cover the bowl and soak overnight.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 24cm springform (or any other) cake pan and cover the base with a baking paper.
2. Sift all ingredients from flour to baking powder into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, put butter and brown sugar and whisk in medium to high speed for about 5 minutes, until creamy.
4. Add lemon zest and whisk for half a minute more. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
5. Add eggs, one at a time and continue whisking until all ingredients incorporate. Scrape the sides if needed.
6. Add sifted dry ingredients, almond flour and sliced almonds and continue to whisk until incorporated. Scrape the sides if needed.
7. Add milk and soaked dried fruits until you get an evenly mixed soft cake batter.
8. Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Spread the batter evenly inside the pan using a spatula or back of a spoon. Bake in the oven, in medium rack for about 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If your cake gets too brown on the surface before having baked properly, cover with aluminium foil. When the cake is done, take out of the oven and let it cool inside the pan. The medium of the cake might sink just slightly, don’t worry. Enjoy the cake when it’s freshly baked but cooled, or better yet, enjoy it next day (the flavours develop much much better and richer the next day).