Saturday, 23 November 2013

making the christmas cake

When I start assembling the dried fruit, spices and brandy it means Christmas is only just around the corner. 
  We love Christmas cake in our family and I love making it!

The smell of orange zest and brandy proclaims Christmas is on its way like nothing else.

 

The pretty, vintage stoneware jar was one of my purchases from Fiona @ Streetcomber at her recent sale.
Have you ever wondered how the traditional Christmas Cake came about?
Here is a short history !
 
The Christmas cake, like many of our Christmas traditions, was popularised by the Victorians, but its origins are much earlier than that.
Back in the middle ages, people would eat a type of porridge on Christmas Eve.
 Gradually fruit and spices were added to the porridge and eventually this became the Christmas pudding that we all enjoy.
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But the porridge mixture also gave rise to our present day Christmas Cake, 
for around the 16th century, a type of boiled plumcake evolved as people began adding eggs and butter to the porridge and replacing the oatmeal with wheat. It was still boiled as few households had ovens at that point.
 
 
 
 
 Gradually, a baked, rather than boiled version of the plum cake became more popular and was eaten on Twelfth Night, but during Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas gained more popularity as a festival and the cake began to be eaten at Christmas and was decorated with wintery scenes and figurines, much like the present day cake.
 
 
 
 

 
The recipe for our Christmas Cake is one which I have used for several years now.
 
It is a very simple simmer and stir method, not unlike the one Sue at The Quince Tree has used.
 There is no tedious creaming and gradual adding of eggs and therefore no risk of the mixture splitting.
 
 The cake is now tucked away in the tin, waiting for its marzipan coat in a couple of weeks.
 

 

10 comments:

  1. One of my favourite foods on Chrias day along with your famous warm mince pies! Any plans for the decoration of it yet? X

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    1. Not sure about decoration yet. Thinking marzipan.... with maybe thin layer of chocolate, but not sure how that would work! Probably be dried fruit and nuts like last year!

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  2. It's all so beautiful! I love these pics (and that stoneware pot does look very much at home in your kitchen :))

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  3. Ooh, lovely. Made ours this week. Can't wait to cut it (and eat it, of course!).

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  4. Your photos are so beautiful! I've missed stir up Sunday. I've got pottery orders to fill so no baking for me until the work is done. Maybe I can make this as a New Year cake. ; )

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  5. I love a good fruit cake and I also enjoyed reading the history of Christmas cakes, thanks.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the short history lesson. I just popped over to your blog and especially liked the video about Fenland celery. It's good that it now has recognition.

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  6. I agree with the comments above: your pictures are absolutely lovely and, as if the cake was not enticement enough, you give us some tidbits of the history of the christmas fruit cake. All in all, a splendid post! Oh, and perhaps you could send me a teeny slice of the cake in the post? No such cake here in France although I'm not going to complain about the festive food we enjoy here!

    Stephanie

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    1. No Christmas cake :( but may be a slice of Buche de Noel instead!

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