Sugar Plum Loaf
One of the most delicious cakes my sister-in-law Louise bakes every holiday is a Sugar Plum Loaf. It is one of those seasonal delights that she and her daughters – and now granddaughters bake throughout the holiday season. I believe the cake has it’s roots in British cookery, harkening back to a time of Mrs Bridges (Upstairs Downstairs) kitchen when candied fruits, exotic raisins and exotic spices filled the kitchen during the holidays. More of a sweet bread than a true cake the name alone has visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
A rich quick bread, the Sugarplum loaf is not unlike an Italian Pantone or a Polish Babka. It is baked in a traditional round and is a perfect match for JF Sugarplum Preserves. I suggest you make two loaves – one for yourself and one to give as this recepie is easily doubled.
Fantastic Sugar Plum Loaf
For the Cake:
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2/3 c butter
½ cup sugar
8 cups flour
1 ½ cups warm milk
2 t salt
1 T ground cardamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit – plums, apricots, apples and/or pears
½ cup candied peel – I prefer lemon or orange
For the Deliciously Fresh Lemon Glaze:
1 ½ cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 t finely grated lemon rind
Dissolve yeast in warm water to bloom. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter with sugar and add eggs. Add ½ the flour, salt, cardamon, warm milk and the second ½ of flour. Add the yeast. Turn off the mixer and stir in chopped nuts, raisins, dried fruit and candies peel. Cover the owl and let rise until double. Punch down, Lightly knead. And let rise again.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shape into 3 large or 6 small round loaves. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
To make the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and lemon rind. This can be strained but it is not necessary
While the Sugar Plum Loaf is still warm, brush with the Delicious Fresh Lemon Glaze