Christmas is around the corner and it’s time to treat yourself with the best of Christmas cakes from around the world. The best thing? They can be experimented with and baked at home. Here are some delicious ones to try.
The traditional Indian cake is made with rum, dry fruits, eggs, all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, petha, marmalade, ginger, nuts and fennel.
Tres Leches cake
The Mexican sponge or butter cake is soaked in three types of milk—condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream—to give it a creamy and spongy texture. The idea has medieval European origins, but around the 19th century, a perfected recipe of a cake soaked in wine and topped with custard is said to have made its appearance in Mexico. The cake is topped with whipped cream and berries and is refrigerated overnight so that the cake can soak up the milk mixture. It is also called the ‘three milk’ cake. Though it can last upto four days when refrigerated, it is best to consume it in 48 hours.
India’s very own recipe for Christmas cake comes from Allahabad. The traditional Indian cake is made with rum, dry fruits, eggs, all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, petha, marmalade, ginger, nuts and fennel. The cake is widely baked and consumed by Indian Christians. For its rich flavour, dry fruits are chopped and soaked in rum for a day or two for them to get the aroma and then mixed in the batter.
Also called the Puducherry cake, this cake recipe is from Puducherry. To make the cake, semolina is fried in ghee till it gives out an aroma and then eggs, semolina, dry fruits, vanilla essence, caraway seeds and coconut milk are mixed together after adding baking powder. It is refrigerated for two days before baking.
Tarta De Santiago
This Spanish cake recipe comes from Galicia in Spain and literally it means Cake of St James. It is an almond cake consisting of ground almonds, sugar, eggs, sweet wine, lemon zest and brandy. The round cake’s top is sprinkled with powdered sugar with an imprint of the Cross of St James in the middle.
This Turkish cake recipe has been served in Turkey since the Ottoman period. Many Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cultures have adopted the cake with some variations. It is widely served in homes and restaurants and is a single layer of soft and yellow semolina sponge cake covered in light syrup. The cake is made with flour, yoghurt, vanilla, lemon, sugar, vegetable oil, semolina, hazelnuts and so on, while the sugar and lemon syrup are added to the cake later.
Stollen is traditional German bread that is eaten during Christmas and is called Christsollen or Weihnachtsstollen. It is a fruit bread made of nuts, dry fruits, spices and powdered sugar. It was baked as Christmas bread for the first time in 1545 with flour, yeast, oil and water. Before that, it was only baked with flour, oats and water.
This is a traditional Christmas cake served in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Lebanon, Syria and some French colonies. A sponge cake is made to resemble an actual Yule Log, a form of sweet roulade. Its recipe flourished around the 19th century.
The traditional Italian sweet bread is very popular during Christmas and New Year. Pandoro means ‘golden bread’ and it has its origins in the city of Verona. It is a star-shaped cake dusted with sugar powder. To make it, one needs all-purpose flour, yeast, eggs, lemon, vanilla extract, cream, powdered sugar and unsalted butter. In the medieval times, the sweet, golden bread was only served in palaces, while the common people could only afford the black bread.
Galette Des Rois
Also called King Cake, this French Christmas cake is usually made during the festival of Epiphany around Christmas. It started roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread with sugar and bean, and is now made of a sweet brioche dough in a hollow circle shape sprinkled with coloured sugar and a glazed topping. In some countries, king cakes are made with a puff filled with fillings like almond, chocolate, pear or apple and have a feve, a small figurine hidden inside. The cake is named after the three biblical Kings or the three wise men.
Dundee Cake is a traditional Scottish fruit cake made with almonds, currants and sultanas and fruit peels. Its recipe started developing in Dundee (a coastal city on the Firth of Tay estuary in eastern Scotland) in the 1700s when it started to be mass produced by the marmalade company Keiller’s marmalade, said to be the originators of it. Dundee Cake is also said to be Queen Elizabeth’s favourite during tea time.