Rich Fruit Plum Cake - Christmas Special

1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup of dried fruits-(dates, raisins, dried cherries,plums,pears, prunes and apricots)
1/2 cup dried nuts-(almonds, cashews and walnuts)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp candied lemon and orange peels
1 tsp spice powder(cinnamon, nutmeg,clove and dry ginger)
1/2 cup Rum or Brandy(or) grape juice- 1/4 cup and orange juice- 1/4 cup
For caramelizing
sugar-1/4 cup
water - 1tbsp + 1/2 cup

Method:Chop the dried fruits and soak them in Rum /Brandy or grape and orange juice for a few hours.
Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp water in a sauce pan and allow it to boil.

Do not stir it and after a few minutes ,the sugar syrup changes to a cherry wood coloured caramel.
Remove the pan from fire immediately ,keep under sink and add 1/4 cup of water to it.

Be very careful as the caramel is very hot and it may splash.
Let it cool completely. Add the vanilla essence to it.
Powder the sugar, chop the nuts and bring the eggs and butter to room temperature.
Sift the flour, baking powder,baking soda and salt.

Add the spice powder to it and mix well.
Seperate the egg whites and yolks. Beat the whites until soft peaks are formed.
keep aside .

Beat the powdered sugar and butter in a mixing bowl till light and fluffy.
Now add the egg yolks to it one by one and beat well until the mixture is creamy.
Add the sifted flour and the caramel to it and mix well.

Add the beaten egg whites and fold them in gently .
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cake pans with parchment paper and butter and dust them.
Now its time to add the chopped nuts and the soaked dry fruits to the cake mixture.

Fold them gently into the cake batter.
Spoon them into the greased cake pans and bake them for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.
Cool completely before storing it.

Courtesy: Chef Sri Vidya.,