Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fruit cake or Plum cake

Plum cake or Fruit cake

Ok this one happens to be my sister's favorite cake and back home in India we used to get this all the time during Christmas celebrations (of course it happened to be her bday too!).  This cake brings back so many memories of those wonderful funfilled childhood days and all the cakes we used to eat from Aruna, Lydia's house and Enoch uncle's house.  I tried making this a couple of times last year and didnt succeed, but I didnt give up. Finally, I used the following recipe that I got from my friends Hannah and Joshua.


Raisins (Onakka munthiri) -1cup
Golden raisins--1/2cup
Candied fruits  - 2 cups
Cashews - 1 cups
Allpurposeflour - 4 cups
Baking powder - 3 tsp
Butter - 1 lb
Sugar- 4 cups
Sugar- 1 cup (to make caramelized syrup)
Eggs- 8 nos
Salt- 3 tsp
Pure Vanilla essence - 4 tsp


  • Dice or crush the nuts into small pieces.
  • Place the eggs and butter at room temperature the night before you make the cake.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
  • Measure and keep ready the flour, sugar and the flavorings.
  • To make the caramel, use a white enameled pot, if you have one. The light surface will help to see exactly the caramelizing process. If you don¦t have one, use a medium saucepan.
  • Place 1 cup of sugar in the saucepan and add 2 tbsp of water.
  • Turn the stove to high and place the pan on the stove and let it boil.
  • Dont stir the contents at all. As sugar melts and caramelizes, you may swirl the pan a bit once or twice.
  • Within 7 - 10 mins, a cherry wood colored caramel forms.
  • Immediately, remove the pan from the stove and very carefully add 1 cup of water to the caramel.
  • You may hold the pan above the sink and slowly add the water, for it may splash.
  • Stir the contents well to dissolve the caramel. Keep this aside.
  • Sift flour and baking powder and salt, a couple of times and keep ready.
  • In a large container, whisk butter first and then add 4 cups of sugar and whisk again, until it is creamy.
  • Add eggs and whisk well.
  • Pour in the caramel syrup, and vanilla extract and mix everything together.
  • Add the flour-baking powder mix and fold this in with a wooden or plastic spatula or spoon.
  • When they are well mixed, add the candied fruits and nuts and mix again.
  • Spoon this into a 10 inch non stick loaf pans.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 350 degree F.
  • You may line the pan with parchment paper or brown paper.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for another 10 - 15 mins and check again.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rake.
  • Remove the cake from the pan only after it is allowed to cool completely.
  • Before storing, cover the cake completely with wax paper first and then with aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator.

This recipe is sourced from with a lot of tweaks to suit my palate.

Curry-n-spice- tips:

  • I halved the recipe as that it by itself was a lot of cake!
  • I did not of course use any alcohol(no brandy or rum)
  • I did not use any of the spice powders (nutmeg, cinnamon,clove, dry ginger powder)
  • Per my friends suggestion I used 4 eggs (they used 8 eggs instead of 12 stated in the recipe so I just halved that)
  • I used the fruit cake mix from walmart (it covers all the fruits that you have to slice and dice)
  • Used crushed cashews, black raisins, golden raisins, crushed almonds
  • Another friend of mine told me that if the vanilla essence is not right, then the cake tastes more make sure you add the right amount of vanilla essence.  In this recipe since we halved it, it will be 2 tsp (could add 2 1/2 tsp if  need be)
  • Used a stainless steel saucepan for the caramel making
  • Make sure you test the temperature of your oven before you bake as the settings might not be the same for every oven.

Pineapple Gojju

Ok so am back this new year and as all things new I promise to post more frequently.

This is a favorite dish in our household and its spicy and tangy at the same time.  Dad loved this concoction and it was something he would always make when he decided to cook though he liked the tomato gojju better. I do not have any other story related to this other than the fact that this is a great dish to eat. Enjoy! Delish! Relish!

This dish serves 6 people.
Time to prep: 10 mins
Time to cook: 30 mins

For this you will need the following


 A small can of crushed pineapple or
    a small can of pineapple chunks

Black Mustard seeds --1/2 tsp

Vathakozhambu (Gojju) powder-- 2 tbsp (This is available readymade in the Indian grocery store)*

Cumin seeds --1/2 tsp

Fenugreek seeds -- 1/4 tsp

Green chillies--3 (can tone it down if you dont like it too spicy)

Curry leaves --3 leaves

Ginger (grated) --1 tsp

Turmeric powder---a pinch

Asafoedita powder (Hing)--a pinch (optional but gives a lot of flavor) 

Olive oil --1 tsp (for saute)

Tamarind-- 1/2 a lemon size  (the quantity shown in the picture is more than 1/2 a lemon size)

Salt to taste



Take the tamarind and put it in a microwave safe bowl and press it flat and add 1/2 cup of water to this and microwave it for a minute and a half.  Let it cool and then set it for another minute.  We are basically looking to soak the tamarind and extract the juice.  Hence the whole process. 

Now add a cup of water to this and squeeze the tamarind with your hand.  It will start disintegrating and the water will start turning a light brown as the juice extracts.  Use a tea strainer to strain this water so the chunks or fiber from the tamarind stay back. Discard all seeds if you find any in the tamarind.

Turn on the stove to a medium heat.

Heat the oil in a 3qt sauce pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splatter add the green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and saute this till the green chillies turn a little white.

Now add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, asafoedita powders,  gojju powder and turn off the stove and move the pan to a non heated surface.

Now add the pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple with the juice and let this boil for 10 mins.  Keep checking so that the bottom part of this mixture doesnt stick to the pot.

Now add the tamarind juice extract and add another 1/2 cup of water.  Let this boil for about 15 mins. You will start getting the smell of the gojju.

Now add salt.

When you see the oil separating from the mixture, turn off the stove.  The gojju is ready.

Eat this with just plain rice or serve it hot with dal tadka (recipe to follow in the next post) and rice

* I used Grand Sweets Vathakozhambu powder, there are other brands available in the Indian grocery stores here. I believe Aachi is one of the brands.
  Curry-n-spice tip:

  • I generally use a pyrex 2 cup measuring glass for extracting the tamarind juice
  • Set it for a minute first as the water will boil and rise up and overflow. Microwave wattages and settings are different.  Sometimes you might need to keep it for 3 mins to soften the tamarind.
  • You can also use the coffee paper filters for this process if you dont have a tea strainer handy just be careful how much you pour into the filter.
  • Tamarind juice extracts are readily available but they dont bring out the taste as good as the pulp extract that you make yourself like described above.