People often use the terms plum cake and fruit cake interchangeably. Are they right to do so? The answer is no. Plum cake and fruit cake are two different treats.
In this guide, I’ll highlight the main features of each one as well as the key differences between plum cake and fruit cake.
Fruit cake is exactly what it sounds like, a cake made with fruits. These fruits are either on the cake’s surface or act as a filling within the cake’s spongy vanilla base.
People enjoy fruit cakes throughout the whole year and often make or buy them on occasions like birthdays or office parties.
The fruits people use most often when they make a fruit cake are strawberries, mango, apples, and peaches, among others.
Additionally, the fruits used for fruit cakes aren’t dried.
In a similar fashion to fruit cakes, plum cakes also have fruits in them. However, they’re dried fruits like raisins, pears, or plums.
Plum cake is also often made with nuts like pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or macadamias.
Additionally, this Christmas staple takes more time to make. This is because it’s aged with alcoholic spirits like rum, brandy, cognac, or bourbon.
The alcohol’s purpose is to further bring out the flavors of the dried fruits and nuts in the cake. The aging process can take months, but the resulting plum cake is worth the wait.
That being said, including alcohol in your plum cake recipe isn’t a must. You can still make an alcohol-free plum cake, but it’ll be less moist and won’t have the depth of flavors you find in its alcohol-soaked counterpart.
Plum cakes made without alcohol also don’t last as long in storage and are more prone to getting spoiled.
Fruit cake and plum cake may both have fruits as a key component. However, they’re quite different.
For starters, plum cake is made with dried fruits, while a fruit cake contains fresh fruits. Additionally, many people age plum cake with alcohol to enhance the flavor. In turn, plum cake takes considerably longer to prepare than regular fruit cake.
Another difference is that plum cakes have nuts in their recipes, while fruit cakes typically don’t.
Last but not least, there’s a difference in the time of year that each type of cake is associated with.
People eat fruit cakes all year long, particularly on birthdays and at office parties. On the other hand, plum cake is a strong Christmas tradition. If you think about it, this makes sense because it’s easier to find the right conditions to age a plum cake properly during fall and winter.
Is there a difference between plum cake and fruit cake? The answer is yes, there is.
Although people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, each type of cake has distinct features that don’t apply to the other.
However, that doesn’t mean that both cakes aren’t delicious!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.