Before you look at the long recipe notes for this Kerala Fruitcake, I promise, it’s not that hard to make. This fruitcake (also known as Plum Cake) is a Christmas-classic in my house. Several years ago, my mom started this tradition of making enormous batches of this cake. She’d get these mini, aluminum trays and thoughtfully wrap each one. They would become the star in a shipper box of holiday treats for our family and friends. It was really always a magical time of year in the kitchen.
Fast forward to now, while I don’t get to be alongside in the kitchen with her to make Kerala Fruitcake, it sure does feel like it as I carry on her tradition. The scent alone of dark caramel and freshly ground cardamom and cloves being pounded in my mortar and pestle takes me right back. I hope you enjoy this recipe and start your own magical tradition this year.
Here are some common questions I get about this Kerala Fruitcake Recipe:
What fruits and nuts can I use?
I use a combination of 4 cups dried fruits, roughly 1 cup of citrus rinds, and 1 cup of raw nuts. You can really use more or less of one kind of dried fruit or nut. Like instead of dried cherries, you could totally use dried mangoes or pistachios instead of almonds. Get creative with it 🙂 There’s also the classic Tutti Frutti/ Fruit Cake Mix.
Where do you get the fruits for the mix?
I am usually able to find all of the ingredients noted above at my local grocery store. It’s all usually in the produce aisle near salads OR in the canned fruit section. There’s also the classic Tutti Frutti/ Fruit Cake Mix.
What liquors do you use?
I use either Cruzan or Captain Morgan for spiced rum. I use E&J brand Vanilla Brandy. Leroux also makes great flavored brandy.
Can I make this non-alcoholic?
Yes! Replace the liquor quantities with a well-spiced apple cider or white grape juice. And, yes, still include the juices from the orange and lemon.
How many cakes does this recipe make?
This recipe makes roughly 10 cups of batter. I usually split this between two 8×4 loaf pans or 1 bundt cake pan. When I use the small 5×3 aluminum trays, I am able to roughly make 10. Just be sure to fill each tin with enough batter so it is three-fourths of the way full.
How can I store and ship this?
Once the cakes have fully cooled, brushing the cakes with ghee helps lock in their moisture. In addition, I tightly wrap my cakes in plastic and then a layer of aluminum foil to keep them fresh and moist. These stay well in the fridge for several weeks (if not more, but they don’t usually last that long in our house for me to give you an exact :). They also freeze well! When I have shipped these cakes to family, I either wrap them in the mini aluminum trays or slice up to place in a Christmas tin lined with parchment.
If you have any more questions when making this Kerala Fruitcake recipe, definitely reach out to me @thefamiliarkitchen on instagram. Be sure to checkout my highlights section and IGTV video for the step-by-step on how to make this cake. I’d LOVE to see how it turns out or if you put any creative spins on it! Be sure to tag me when you make it
If you like this recipe, you might also like my:
Kerala Fruitcake (Plum Cake) Recipe
The Fruit & Nut Mix
- Dates 1 cup, chopped
- Dried Cherries 1/2 cup
- Maraschino Cherries 1/2 cup
- Black Raisins 1/2 cup
- Dried Cranberries 1/2 cup
- Dried Candied Ginger 1/2 cup, chopped
- Dried Pineapple 1/2 cup, chopped
- Orange Peel or Zest from 1 orange, finely chopped
- Lemon Peel or Zest from 1 lemon, finely chopped
- Raw Cashews 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
- Slivered Almonds 1/2 cup
- Spiced Rum 1 cup
- Vanilla Brandy 1/2 cup
- Juice of Orange 1
- Juice of Lemon 1
- AP Flour 1/4 cup
The Dark Caramel
- Sugar 1/2 cup
- Warm Water 1/4 cup
- Vanilla Extract 1 tbsp
- Butter 2 tbsp
- Unsalted Butter 2 sticks, room-temp
- Dark Brown Sugar 2 cups
- Eggs 5
- AP Flour 2 cups
- Baking Powder 1 tsp
- Baking Soda 1 tsp
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Green Cardamom 10-12 pods, shell removed, ground
- Cloves 8-10, ground
- Nutmeg 1 tsp
- Cinnamon 1 tsp
- Reserved Fruit & Nut Liquid 1/4 cup
- Ghee or Butter 1 tsp, melted
- Reserved Fruit & Nut Liquid
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
Soaking the fruit.
- Optionally (and lightly) toast the raw nuts in a little melted ghee. Place all of the chopped fruits and nuts into a mixing bowl then pour in the spiced rum, vanilla brandy, and citrus juices. Mix together well, cover, then refrigerate for 3 days or longer. Be sure to mix the fruits 1-2 times a day.
- Once you're ready to make the cake, use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as you can from the fruits and nuts. Reserve this fruit and nut liquid (we'll be using it later in the batter and cake coating).
- Add the fruits and nuts into a food processor and pulse for about 10-15 seconds to break everything up into smaller pieces. Put the fruits and nuts back into the mixing bowl along with 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and mix together. *The flour prevents the fruits and nuts from clumping together.
Let’s make the dark caramel.
- Before you turn on the stovetop, in a sauce pot add in the sugar with only 1 tbsp of warm water. Mix this together until it looks like wet sand. Now turn on the heat to medium.
- Let the sugar turn into an amber brown caramel color. You do not need to stir this just yet. It might not look like it for a few minutes, but the sugar will begin to melt down and brown.
- Once it is a rich caramel brown, remove from heat. Let this cool slightly.
- With a silicone spatula in hand and ready to stir, carefully pour in the remaining warm water and vanilla. This will agitate the caramel, but once we return the pot back to heat, it will smooth out.
- Bring this mixture back to a boil for a few seconds and then drop in the butter. Once the butter is incorporated, turn off the heat and set aside.
Let’s make the batter.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and dark brown sugar. Use a hand mixer on medium high to cream it really well until it is smooth and pale.
- Add in the eggs, mixing in one by one.
- Now mix in the caramel really well. *If the caramel is sticking to the pot, turn on the heat to loosen it up again, but make sure it's not piping hot when you pour it into the batter.
- Now use a hand whisk and add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. The batter should be thick and velvety now.
- Using a silicone spatula fold in the dried fruits and nuts along with the 1/4 cup of reserved fruit and nut liquid.
Time to bake it!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two loaf pans with parchment paper (or use a greased and floured bundt pan).
- Pour in the batter so that it is three-fourths of the way full.
- Bake on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes. The cake should have risen and turned golden on top. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake to check if it's cooked all the way (the toothpick should come out clean if it's done).
- Remove from the oven and let the cake rest for 10 minutes before turning over onto a wire rack.
- Once cooled on the wire rack, lightly brush the top of the cake with a mixture of melted ghee and the fruit and liquor liquid if you want. Dust with powdered sugar. That’s it!
(Optional) Ginger Royal Frosting
- Egg White, from 1 eggLemon Juice, 1 tspPowdered Sugar, 1 cupGinger, 1 tsp minced or powdered (optional)Vigorously whisk the egg white and lemon juice just until frothy. Whisk in the powdered sugar and ginger powder until combined. The color should be pearly white with a slightly thick consistency. Spread or drizzle over finished, cooled fruitcakes.