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Christmas 2021: Tale of Christmas’ traditional plum cake

Dec 25, 2021, 6:00 AM IST
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What makes us happy the most about winters are the excitement and festivities that blankets us. Christmas is right here and people around the world are prepping up for the merry celebrations of the festival, followed by the Big New Year’s Eve night. What makes Christmas all the more special is the pure delight of stuffing ourselves with scrumptious treats on this day. And of all the delectable treats which get to gorge on, the plum cake is the most essential of them all. No Christmas celebration is ever complete without hogging some delicious plum cake.

The preparation for baking a plum cake is not a matter of a couple of days or a week. In fact, the preparation begins at least a month before Christmas in every household. Plum cakes have a tad bit of bitter taste which comes from the dry fruits and nuts that are soaked in brandy or rum, months before the day of the festival. These soaked dry nuts and fruits are then added to the cake batter when it is time for baking the cake.

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Christmas plum cake’s aroma of dry nut and fruits infused in alcohol is irresistible and intoxicating. Grapes, raisins, prunes or currants or fresh fruits are used for the plum cake as the primary ingredient for the cake. While plum cakes are mostly made in alcohol, there are some who bake them without alcohol too.

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But what is it that makes the plum cake a Christmas traditional treat? Why is plum cake considered special for the festival? As per history, plum cakes were started in medieval England where a tradition is followed to observe a fast for a period of time. Abstinence and fasting hold you in a good place for the extravagant days ahead.

As per the traditions back then, a rich porridge was cooked and eaten for the upcoming festival, on the eve of Christmas. The porridge used to be prepared with dried fruits, oats, honey, spices and sometimes even meat -- all of it together would make for a Christmas pudding. Following the tradition but with some changes to it, people started to use the same ingredients to make fruitcakes with dried fruits and plums on Christmas. That is how plum cakes come into existence and since then, have become the traditional cake for Christmas.

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