The specific demand for Christmas Rum Plum Cake caught in the heads of the Indian population possibly in the last two decades. During School days friends used to ask just for Christmas Cakes. And mothers used to painstakingly prepare a variety of rum-less cakes without using any electronic kitchen gadgets. The eggs were whipped manually. The eggs were whipped directly out of the refrigerator, because eggs froth better when cold. The batter was mixed with hand and the mixing went on for hours. Sometimes Dads offered a helping hand. The most common cakes were the plain cakes with vanilla flavour, and cardamom. Then there were marble cakes with vanilla and chocolate flavoured layers. There were rainbow and tri-coloured cakes. In those days the importance was given for the softness of the cake. The mother who baked the softest cakes was the best cake baker in the town and she was approached for tips: Does she cook at midnight, or before dawn; How does she whip the eggs; What was the order of adding the ingredients; the egg white was added first, or the yolk;….
Now when cakes can be baked in less than an hours time, with whippers, ovens and YouTube videos, the importance has shifted to the unique taste and flavour of the cakes. No matter how many flavours or icings you do throughout the year, as Christmas approach friends specifically demand for Rum cake.
Due to popular demand I decided to bake Rum Cakes this year. I soaked fruits and nuts in rum, a month before the Christmas baking began. Experts say that longer the nuts and fruits are soaked in rum, the tastier the cakes will be. Rums softens the fruits and nuts which makes the texture of the cake softer than plain cakes. I just added enough rum which could be absorbed by the fruits and nuts, so after a month the fruits and nuts look a little shinier, but the liquid just disappeared. Some say that Christmas Rum Plum Cakes cannot be called Rum cakes, because, while baking the rum evaporates in the oven heat. Some experts rate rum cakes based on the measure of rum — little rum, enough rum and lots of rum cake. My cake was rated as ‘little rum cake’.
After experimenting with rum cake I understand that rum is just another ingredients in cakes. Normally, Rum is used very judiciously (1 tablespoon for baking 250 gram flour Cake). But as we Indian, always Indianize a foreign dish, some add too much rum that the fruits and nuts float in the liquid. Last year I heard a youth telling his friend that he was disappointed after having rum cake at his friends home. He though that rum will drip with every bite. This is over expectation. Rum is just a marinating ingredient. As long as the rum is added judiciously there is no chance of felling intoxicated.
How to prepare a Christmas Rum Plum Cake
All purpose Flour: 250g
Salted Butter: 250g
Sugar syrup: 2 tbsp
Garama Masala powder(a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, 1 nutmeg and clove)
Sift the flour and baking powder. Whip the butter for sometime; add the finely powdered sugar. add the whipped egg. Then add the Garam Masala, vanilla and sugar syrup. Now add the maid and mix for some time. Finally add the fruits and nuts.
(Tip: Buy Cashew, Dates, Raisins, Dry Ginger(different for cakes), Tutti Frutti and any other nuts a month in advance of preparation of cake. Cut them into small pieces. Add some Rum and keep aside. The longer the fruits and nuts remain in rum the softer they become. Soak a large amount of fruits and nuts, so that the ingredients are easily available whenever you feel like baking a cake during the festival season. Also the cakes with rum have a longer shelf life of one month, six month and sometimes even one year.)