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Cake mixing ceremony

By sirisha

Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. People ate the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to line their stomachs after a day of fasting. Soon dried fruit, spices and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and eventually turned into Christmas pudding.
In the 16th century, oatmeal was removed from the original recipe, and butter, wheat flour and eggs were added. These ingredients helped hold the mixture together and in what resulted in a boiled plum cake. Richer families that had ovens began making fruit cakes with marzipan, an almond sugar paste, for Easter. For Christmas, they made a similar cake using seasonal dried fruit and spices. The spices represented the exotic eastern spices brought by the wise men. This cake became known as “Christ cake.� Christmas cakes are made in many different ways, but generally they are variations on classic fruit cake. They can be light, dark, moist, dry, heavy, spongy, leavened, unleavened, etc. they are made in many different shapes, with frosting, glazing, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or plain.
The traditional Scottish Christmas cake, also known as the whisky Dundee, is very popular. It is a light crumbly cake with cake with currants, raisins, cherries and Scotch whisky. Other types of Christmas cakes include an apple crème cake and a mincemeat cake. The apple crème cake is made with apples, other fruit, raisins, eggs, cream cheese and whipping cream. The mincemeat cake is made with traditional mincemeat or vegetarian mincemeat, flour, eggs, etc. it can also be steamed as a Christmas pudding.
All Christmas cakes are made in advance. Many make them in November, keeping the cake upside down in an airtight container. A small amount of brandy, sherry or whisky is poured into holes in the cake every week until Christmas. This process is called “feeding� the cake.
The cake mixing ceremony is a community event. The ceremony heralds the festive season of Christmas and captures the spirit of New Year. During this ceremony, the chefs, all the executives and sometimes even celebrity guests participate in this ritual. They marinate the dry fruits to be used in the cake, by soaking them in liquor, brandy, rum and whatever other spirits, flavouring agents and other taste-makers used. The greater the duration of soaking, the better and richer is the end product. Everybody participates in stirring this splendid mix. Come December, this mix is ready for baking. This event has been taking place in the Culinary Academy of India (CAI) for the last seven years, where students take time to visit all associated hospitality professionals to distribute gifts and home made cakes.
Christmas is no fun without the traditional Christmas cake, and making this cake is no quick and easy task. Preparations begin months in advance. The first step towards making the cake is the mixing process, formerly called the ‘cake mixing ceremony’, a ritual religiously followed the world over and said to be a harbinger of good tidings and happiness.

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