Saturday, 7 November 2009

Christmas Cakes

[Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man, bake me a cake as fast as you can - 2009 Christmas Cake baking away]

Christmas cakes can come in numerous shapes, sizes and filled with a multitude of indigents. Traditionally they are considered a British pastime, of a fruit cake most associated with Yule time. Filled with richest of fruits, from currents, mixed peel, cherries and nuts, they can be covered in marzipan, icing or left just plain and maybe topped with some brandy drizzled over. And for a more northern English tradition, cut a slice of Christmas cake served with, or without butter and some cheese.

One of the things I associate with Christmas is when mam starts collecting for, and eventually baking the family Christmas Cake. That day was today. The smell of the baking fruit soaked in orange juice, the crisping baking paper, the taste of the glace cherries carry through the house, and its sweet Christmas smell still lingers. As long as I can remember Mam has ALWAYS made the Christmas cake, its one of the things she refuses to buy from a shop, and to be honest they never really taste the same. And in a way, this cake makes Christmas, knowing its being made is when I start thinking about, and looking forward to Christmas.

The other fun comes when its time for it to be iced! We have a box of randomly collected Christmas decorations for the top, they have a history and an age of their own. I've grown up with them and to me, the little Santa on his sleigh, the house covered in snow which adorn the top of the cake really do make Christmas for me. Simple things.

The origins of the Christmas Cake stretch back to the traditions of twelfth night feast (traditionally the 6th January) and the celebrations around a plum cake, or for poorer families it would be fruit. These cakes were baked with a bean in one half, and a pea in the other - whoever finding each would be crowned the King and Queen of Revels.

Through the Purtian Reformation and their hatred of celebrations and religion, twelfth night was branded an eve full of mischief and was eventually banned. Thus celebrations remained somewhat limited until around the mid 1830s when Christmas festivities grew in popularity occurring alongside the increasing production of an iced fruit cake similar to those made today.

I'm not sure if the ideas of Christmas Cakes have escaped over the oceans? Or if many people still make them?


  1. Bonjour! Great post, I'm getting in the mood for Christmas. The finished product looks delicious!

  2. oh, i also can't wait to eat christimas cakes.

    i add you to my blogroll

  3. I'm not a fan of christmas cake
    though I've done rather a lot of festive shopping today!

  4. You're well ahead daisychain! I've managed to just write a potential Christmas List!

    Thank you for following knalleffekt!

  5. Hi sweet dear, I'm delighted to report that here on Canadian soil Christmas puddings and fruitcakes are both alive and doing well, though their popularity may have dwindled a little over the past couple of decades.

    Like yourself I grew up with a beloved fruitcake (a light, booze-free version, studded with oodles of candied cherries) that my mom baked annually, as well as a more "British" steamed pudding that one of my grandma's would make, complete with brandy sauce, each Christmas. Both invoke thoughts of wonderfully, homey, seasonal tastes that help to complete the season in their own special way.

    Thank you dearly for your beautiful comments, honey, I hope that you have an absolutely splendid week ahead!
    ♥ Jessica

  6. I delight in, cauѕе I found јuѕt what I used tо be taking а look for.
    You've ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    Feel free to surf to my web page; abrir cuenta Facebook