My Kerala plum cake is an easy and tasty recipe for making a Kerala style fruit cake without eggs and alcohol. Bonus – my recipe is also made with whole wheat flour and is vegan.
About this recipe
One major difference in this Kerala fruit cake and the other fruit cakes, is the addition of caramel. This does give a nice brown color to the cake. Here I show you how to make homemade caramel and it adds a lot of depth and flavor to your plum cake.
My recipe of Kerala plum cake is made without alcohol. I have made this Kerala fruit cake both with fresh orange juice and apple juice on different occasions.
Soak the dry fruits in either of the juice overnight in the fridge. With orange juice, you need not worry as the cake does not become bitter.
I have used organic apple juice and 100% whole wheat flour (atta) for this Kerala plum cake. So this is a healthy bake. The amount of sugar and oil added is also not too much.
The sweetness of the dates, golden raisins and black currants used in my Kerala fruit cake recipe, compensates for less sugar being added.
To make the caramel syrup for this Kerala fruit cake, I checked the method on Nag’s blog. Preparing caramel is not difficult. So don’t worry on that. Just cook the sugar and water on a low flame and keep on stirring often.
This Kerala plum cake is soft and moist. The recipe yields about 1 kilogram of cake. I have used an 8-inch round pan. Though you can even use a loaf pan with 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 dimensions.
Do use dry fruits and nuts of your choice, but do not skip on the candied orange peels. These give lovely bitter notes in some bites while savoring the plum cake.
How to make Kerala Plum Cake
Soaking dry fruits
1. Take all the dry fruits and nuts in a bowl. I rinse them in water once or twice and then drain them very well. I prefer to rinse them, but you can skip this step.
I have added dates, cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins, black currants, pistachios, glazed cherries and candied orange peels.
You can add the nuts and dry fruits that are easily available to you. My suggestions are dried apricots, figs, pecans, pine nuts, hazel nuts and various dried berries.
2. Now finely chop all of them and collect in a mixing bowl. For faster work, chop the fruits and nuts in a food processor or food chopper.
If using dates with stones, then after chopping with a knife discard the stones. If you use a food processor, then add roughly chopped dates with the other nuts and dry fruits before chopping.
Try to chop the nuts, dry fruits finely. Larger chunks will make your plum cake crumbly while slicing.
3. Add 1 cup apple juice. The apple juice that we need is the flowing, thin, transparent apple juice available in stores.
In a pinch, you can also use fresh apple juice. But given that fresh apple juice will have a bulk of the pulp, add 1.5 cups fresh apple juice.
4. Mix very well. Allow the fruits to soak in the apple juice for a day. Keep the bowl covered in the fridge.
Whether you use packaged apple juice or fresh apple juice, do not keep the dry fruits soaking at room temperature. Mix and immediately refrigerate.
5. The below photo is of the dry fruits + apple juice mixture the next day. Bring this to room temperature before you proceed with the recipe.
Preparing caramel solution
6. In a saucepan, take ½ cup sugar (100 grams) and 2 tablespoons water. I have used organic unrefined cane sugar. White sugar can also be used.
7. Mix and stir very well. Keep this pan on the stove top on a low flame.
8. Bring this sugar solution to a boil on a low heat. You will see the mixture bubbling initially.
9. Continue to cook and do keep on stirring often.
10. At one point it might look that the sugar is getting crystallized.
11. Continue to cook and stir frequently.
12. The pale brown color is still there as you see in the photo below.
13. Continue to cook and stir and you will see the color changing to a dark brown.
14. Here the caramelization process has started. Since I was also handling the camera, I stopped here fearing that the caramel should not get burnt.
The color should become a little more brown and you will also get the caramel aroma.
15. Remove the pan from the stove top and place it down. Immediately add 1 cup water to the caramel. Be careful while doing so as the mixture splutters.
16. The caramel will harden as soon as you pour the water. Keep the saucepan back on the stove top on a low flame. Stir often and bring to a gentle simmer until all the hardened caramel is dissolved. Do stir often so as to aid in dissolving the caramel.
17. Below is the caramel liquid. Let this caramel solution cool completely. Filter this solution and keep aside. You can see the impurities from the unrefined sugar in the picture below.
You can also use brown sugar or jaggery instead of preparing the caramel solution. Simply dissolve the jaggery or brown sugar in 1 cup water and proceed to the next step – 18.
18. Once the caramel solution has cooled, add ⅓ cup oil. I used olive oil. You can also use sunflower oil or melted butter. If using melted butter than add it when the caramel solution turns warm.
19. Mix the oil with the caramel solution thoroughly.
20. Next add 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. I used lemon juice. You can also use regular white vinegar. Mix again thoroughly.
Making plum cake batter
21. Grease an 8 inch round pan very well with oil or butter. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees celsius(356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 mins before you bake the cake.
22. In a seive, take 2 cups whole wheat flour/atta (240 grams), 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder, ⅛ teaspoon clove powder and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional).
You can also add ¼ teaspoon allspice powder and ¼ teaspoon ginger powder.
23. Sift all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
24. Next add the soaked dry fruits + apple juice mixture to the sifted dry ingredients.
25. With a spatula just mix lightly and do not over work. You don’t want any gluten strands forming in the batter mix.
26. Add the caramel solution.
27. Finish off the entire caramel solution in one go.
28. Now fold the flour ingredients with the caramel solution. Don’t mix. To see how folding is done, you can check my Eggless Banana Bread youtube video.
29. Fold to a smooth batter. If the batter looks thick, then you can add some more water.
Baking Kerala Plum Cake
30. Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Gently shake and tap the pan so as to even out the batter.
31. Place the pan in a preheated oven and bake the cake at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minutes.
A wooden skewer should come out clean and dry when inserted in the cake. There will be some moisture from the dry fruits on the skewer but there should not be any sticky cake batter on it. You should see fine crumbs.
This Kerala plum cake has to be baked very well. If the top gets browned too much, then cover with an aluminium foil or parchment paper and continue to bake.
Baking time varies with various brands and models of oven. So do keep a check. In case you remove the cake and find that it has not baked and has a sticky or too moist a texture, then keep the cake back in the pan and continue to bake.
32. Here’s the base of the plum cake. I was in a hurry and while the cake was still hot, I removed it from the pan. Result is a crack on the base. Do remove the cake gently from the pan once it completely cools at room temperature. All the time, keep the cake pan while cooling on a wired rack or wired tray.
33. You can sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake to hide the cracks on the top. Slice and serve the eggless Kerala plum cake.
Kerala plum cake cake can also be refrigerated. It keeps good for 10 to 12 days in the fridge. I sliced the cake in slices and stored the slices in an airtight box.
If using all purpose flour, you might need to add less amount of caramel syrup. Since we are making the caramel syrup ahead, it is tricky to tell the correct amount. My suggestion would be to add an equal proportion of both whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
Absolutely! You can easily halve or double or triple my Kerala style plum cake recipe.
In your microwave oven, use the convection mode for baking. The cake cannot be baked using the microwave mode or microwave option. Preheat and bake your microwave oven using only the convection mode at 175 degrees Celsius.
No – fresh orange peels will make the cake very bitter. Omit the candied orange peels if you do not have them. But you can add orange zest – which is the orange colored part of a fresh orange peel. Use a grater or a zester, to get fine grates of the orange part of the peel and not the white part. You can add about 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the batter.
Dry fruits and nuts soften and soak really well when kept overnight. But if you are short of time, then soak them for 2 to 3 hours.
Of course, you can make the cake in a stove-top pressure cooker. Follow the steps outlined in this recipe post to make the cake in a cooker – Pressure Cooker Cake.
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Kerala Plum Cake (No Eggs, No Alcohol, Whole Wheat)
To be soaked overnight
- 25 grams walnuts or ¼ cup walnuts
- 15 to 20 grams golden raisins or 2 tablespoon golden raisins
- 20 grams black currants or 2 tablespoon black currants
- 30 grams cashews or ¼ cup cashews (kaju)
- 100 grams dates or ½ cup dates ( I used 7 kimia dates)
- 25 grams almonds or 2 tablespoon almonds
- 20 grams pistachios or 2 tablespoon pistachios
- 25 grams glazed cherries 8 to 10 glazed cherries
- 40 to 45 grams candied orange peels
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2 cup whole wheat flour levelled (atta) or 240 grams whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder (dalchini powder)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg (jaiphal powder)
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (choti elaichi powder)
- ⅛ teaspoon clove powder (lavang powder)
- ½ cup sugar or 100 grams sugar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup olive oil – can add sunflower oil or any neutral flavored oil
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice or apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
Soaking dry fruits
- Take all the dry fruits and nuts in a bowl. I just rinse them once or twice and then drain them very well.
- Now finely chop all of them and collect in a mixing bowl.
- Add the apple juice and mix very well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate letting the dry fruits soak in the apple juice for a day.
- Bring the dry fruits and apple juice mixture to room temperature before you proceed with making the cake.
- In a sauce pan, take the sugar and water.
- Mix and stir very well. Keep this pan on the stove top on a low heat. I have used organic unrefined cane sugar but you can use white sugar.
- Bring this sugar solution to a boil on a low heat. You will see the mixture bubbling initially.
- Continue to cook and do keep on stirring often.
- At one point it might look that the sugar is getting crystallized.
- Continue to cook and stir frequently till you see the color changing to a dark brown. Switch off at this point.
- Remove the pan from the stove top and place it down. Immediately add 1 cup water to the caramel. Be careful while doing so, as the mixture splutters.
- The caramel will harden as soon as you pour the water. Keep the saucepan back on the stove top on a low flame. Stir often and bring to a gentle simmer till all the hardened caramel is dissolved. Do stir often so as to aid in dissolving the caramel.
- Let this caramel solution cool completely.
- Once the caramel has cooled, add the oil. I used olive oil. You can also use sunflower oil or melted butter. If using melted butter then add it when the caramel solution turns warm.
- Mix the oil with the caramel solution very well.
- Next add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. I have used lemon juice. You can also use white vinegar. Mix again very well.
Making cake batter
- Grease a 8-inch round pan very well with oil or butter. Also preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 mins before you bake.
- In a sieve, take whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, clove powder and cardamom powder (optional).
- Sift all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Next add the soaked dry fruits + apple juice mixture to the sifted dry ingredients.
- With a spatula just mix lightly.
- Add the caramel solution.
- Now fold the flour ingredients with the caramel solution to a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan.
- Gently shake and tap the pan so as to even out the batter.
- Place the pan in a preheated oven and bake the cake at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. A wooden skewer should come out clean and dry when inserted in the cake.
- This cake has to be baked very well. If the top gets browned too much, then cover with an aluminium foil or parchment paper and bake. Baking time varies with various brands and models of oven.
- You can sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake to hide the cracks on the top. Slice and serve the cake.
- The cake can also be refrigerated. It keeps good for 10 to 12 days in the fridge. Cut the kerala plum cake in slices and stored the slices in an airtight box.
- Baking: The temperatures vary in various ovens. When the cake is baking, do keep a check but do not open the oven door many times as this can sunk the cake. Only open when ¾ of the cake is done and when you see the top nicely golden and baked.
- Nuts and dry fruits: You can vary the amount and add nuts and dry fruits of your choice and whatever is available to you.
- Apple juice: For soaking, you can use 1 cup packaged apple juice (preferably without preservatives) or 1.5 cups homemade fresh apple juice.
- Scaling: You can easily halve or double the recipe.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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This Kerala plum cake recipe post from the archives (December 2015) has been republished and updated on 20 December 2020.