Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2 : Christmas Cake

Fast coming to an end of the Christmas Countdown... It is Christmas Eve and we do like fruit cake!  The Christmas Cake, traditionally a fruit cake, will be cut tonight so that a piece or two can be left as snack for Santa. 
My mother's Christmas cake 
 I am very lucky  - my mother makes my Christmas cake.  My mother is close to 90 years old -but her cake this year is fantastic. It is now a tradition of the Simmons family Christmas gathering that we have this moist rich cake. We sometimes also have stollen,a German fruit cake which has more of a bread texture. I love it - the mixture of fruit, marzipan and spices! I  am also partial to Panettone, an Italian version of Christmas fruit cake, also more like a many versions of Christmas cake, but 
the earliest recipe  from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.   Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast. Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter' or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes. . from Wikipedia. 

I am guessing that the original  Christmas fruit cakes were not highly decorated, but in more modern times, cakes  are decorated with icing and have become works of art -  traditional and contemporary designs. 
This snippet of information does not flow, but it seems so ludicrous I need to add it here.... In Japan, when traditionally women married very young, unmarried Japanese girls over the age of 25 were called "Christmas cakes" - past their prime after the age of 25, as a Christmas cake would be after the 25th.( In Japan, a sponge cake with cream is the popular version of a Christmas cake.)  With that bit of trivia and it being too late to bake a cake,  there is nothing left to do but to enjoy a cuppa  ( or something stronger)  and some cake ....

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