Culinary Sleuth

Victorian Plumcake

The following is an authentic Victorian Plum Cake recipe.


2 cups raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 cup candied cherries, chopped
1/2 cup candied peel, orange and lemon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sherry or brandy
2 cups butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
Grated rind of 1 orange
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg,
      ginger, ground cloves and mace
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon enriched flour
Peach or apricot wine for soaking cake
One round 10-inch baking pan, 4-inches deep
      (a springform cake pan is good)


Mix together the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Pour on the sherry or brandy and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let set overnight.

Butter the entire baking pan well. Cut parchment paper to size, and press in place to cover the inside of the pan. Cut two or three 8-inch thick brown paper strips (grocery bag paper is good). Tie the paper strips around the outsides of the pan with string. There should be an overlap of 3 or 4 inches. Cut a 12 to14-inch circle of brown paper and tuck this into the overlapping paper to form a "roof" that protects the cake from browning too soon. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F.

In another (large) bowl, or food processor, cream well together the butter and sugars. Add the molasses, the grated rinds, spices and vanilla. Then add the beaten eggs alternately with the flour. The batter should be soft but not liquid, and should drop from the spoon in a soft mass. Add the fruit mixture and stir to distribute evenly. Pour into your prepared pan.

Bake in oven for 1-1/2 hours at 275 degrees F. Reduce heat to 250 degrees F. And bake for 4 hours more. One hour before it's done check the top of the cake. If it's not too brown, you may remove the paper "roof." Otherwise leave it on. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. It should be crumbly—not sticky.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan overnight. Turn the pan upside down on a rack after the first ten minutes of cooling, to keep the cake moist.

The next day remove the pan and the parchment paper very carefully. Stick the cake all over with an ice pick or some other sharp, thin pointed object. Then spoon the apricot wine on and around the cake. Allow it to soak into the cake for a few minutes. Then turn the cake over and do the other side. Leave loosely covered for half an hour, then wrap in clean waxed paper and store in a tin in a cool, dry place. Over the next few days (or couple of weeks), you can repeat the wine soaking process a few times.

Plum Cake is best made a month or more before Christmas. It becomes more flavorful and rich the longer it sits. It will keep for a least 6 months (and as long as six years) in an airtight tin.


Fruitcake Recipes

All About Fruit Cake

More Fruitcake Recipes


Also visit our main Holiday Recipes page


Copyright © 1998, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.


This page created 1998 and modified February 2007