It's the Christmas and we cannot be more excited. There is something about festivals that instantly awakens the foodie in all of us. We are willing to keep all our diet plans on rest to indulge in all the seasonal goodness the festival has on offer. Gujiyas on Holi, kaju katli on Diwali, ghewar on Teej, the list is endless. One such festive staple for Christmas we cannot wait to dig in is a plum cake. Traditionally, people prepare large batches of plum cake months prior to Christmas. In fact, there is a popular tradition in parts of England and Europe, where families gather and prepare for cake mixing, which is also called the stirring ceremony. As people mix the batter for the cake, they make wishes for the year that is to come. People also slip in a gold/silver coin into the mix; it is said to bring good luck. Rich, dense and oh-so delectable, a plum cake is packed with an eclectic mix of dry fruits and nuts like grapes, currants, raisins or prunes that are soaked in rum or brandy for months, which is opened only when the cake is to be baked during the stirring ceremony. To keep the cake moist, people also poke holes in the cake and pour whiskey into it until the Christmas. Nowadays, you can choose to customise your cake and rule out the alcohol in the making.
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Interestingly, the plum cake that we so fondly associate with our Christmas celebrations was not even the part of festivities until the 17th century. People used to eat plum porridge on the Christmas Eve just after their fasting. With time people introduced dried fruits, spices and honey and the porridge gave way to a rich Christmas pudding. Soon after oatmeal was removed too, and in came, butter, flour and eggs and thus the early variant of Christmas plum cake was born. Many families in England did not have the luxury of having personal ovens in their homes, so they would boil the cake. Richer families experimented with the batter and added some fruits and additional spices in the cake batter and baked them in large batches.
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Today, there are about a dozen variations to the classic fruit cake. Some make them with a lot of fruits, some are infused in alcohol, some are crumbly while some are extra moist, dark or bitter.
How To Make Plum Cake
If you are planning to bake one at home, remember the secret to a perfect plum cake is in its timing. Whisk cream, butter, sugar, vanilla together. Add the whisked eggs later to the batter. Make sure there are no moulds. It is very important to weigh your ingredients before-hand.
Here's a delicious recipe of a fruity and indulgent Christmas plum cake that you can try making at home this festive season.