Tell me, haven’t you thought at least for once that the Christmas’ special plum cake has the pulp of the plum fruit in it? Well, I have. And I knew that for sure for quite about 30 years of my life until I came across the information that the forefather of our favorite plum cake is actually porridge. PORRIDGE!! Like really? Well even then, it doesn’t include any hint of the non-inclusion of the plum in the recipe, but the porridge-thing definitely stirred my interest to dig out the history of the plum cakes more. And what I found is too interesting to not share with you. Therefore, here goes the interesting tale of our Plum cake and its evolution from porridge to the present cake form. Keep reading!
By the way, are you making plum cake at home this Christmas? Please do share your recipe with us in oneapp’s ‘Recipe Book’ section. And in case you aren’t making one and want to buy from outside, oneapp has the list of the cake shops in your neighborhood. Do check out the ‘Market’ section to buy Christmas cake online. Download oneapp now!
TALE OF THE PLUM CAKE
The history of the plum cake dates back to the medieval times when there was a tradition of fasting and abstinence for a period of time leading up to Christmas. A rich porridge used to be cooked to break the fast and line the stomach for the upcoming feast of Christmas. The porridge included oats, honey, dried fruits, raisins, spices and even meat. MEAT! Oh yes. And that’s the ancestor of our plum cake.
With time, the meat was taken out of the recipe (THANK GOD!!) and prepared as other dishes and the porridge recipe itself underwent a change by exclusion of oats and addition of flour and eggs which is very much responsible for its present cake form rather than the previous gooey consistency of the porridge. It is said that in those days, the batter of flour and eggs along with dried fruits and spices used to be boiled and the resultant was a dense fudge-kinda delicacy. However, as some of the richer households started owning ovens (after its invention), baking the batter became more popular in the upper class of the society. This is sometime around the 16th century. So, can you see how the porridge is gradually turning into cake? Interesting, huh! Since then the recipe undergone several small changes and started the inclusion of alcohol even to morph to our present Plum Cake.
However, why it is named as ‘Plum’ is another story. It is said that the raisins and dried prunes are popularly known as ‘plum’ in England and hence the name. Whereas some say that the original porridge did include the humble plum in its recipe and later got replaced by other more exotic fruits but the name stayed on.
So, whatever may be the case, the name Plum Cake in itself is enough to hallucinate me to the smell of cinnamon and vanilla and rich pumpkin and the vision of the dark brown cake in the baking tray. What about you? Do you love plum cake? Let us know in the comments below.
And the most important thing, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!