Cakes are an integral part of Christmas celebrations and Kolkata is known for its traditional Xmas delicacies. This year amid high political drama and shifting loyalties ahead of Assembly elections in West Bengal, Christmas cakes have got a ‘party’ colour. A woman in Kolkata has come out with Xmas cakes decorated with symbols of political parties. The colourful icing on the cakes have Trinamool Congress’ Jora Ghas Phul or “twin flowers in grass”, BJP’s lotus, the CPM’s sickle and hammer and Congress’ hand symbol.
Xmas cakes are perhaps sold in every corner shop in Kolkata during the Christmas and New Year festive season, which locals often call boro din (big day). The iconic Park Street, in the heart of the city, wears a festive look with lights and Christmas stars, and the rich aroma of Xmas goodies emerging from the kitchen chimneys of eateries dotting both side of the road. This year however amid the pandemic, celebrations are low-key in the city of joy.
The Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge or plum pudding popularly eaten in winter. Across the Atlantic, in the US people gift fruitcakes traditionally during Christmas time. Christmas cakes in the subcontinent are generally a fruit cake with many ingredients like candied cherries, raisins, currants and sultanas soaked in rum. Rich in taste and texture, these cakes are extremely popular in the festive season.
According to the history.com, “the first records of plum puddings date to the early 15th century, when ‘plum pottage’, a savory concoction heavy on the meat and root vegetables, was served at the start of a meal.”
In many European countries, a Yule Log cake is the traditional Christmas cake. Having a light spongy texture, covered with butter cream and dusted with chocolate and coffee powder, the Yule Log gets its name from the large wooden logs burnt in the hearth for warmth since the medieval times. Yule Log cakes look beautiful garnished with mistletoe and red cherries.
It’s a wonderful sight in the festive season as Xmas-themed sugar decorations like the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, Reindeer or Holly leaves sit pretty on Christmas cakes adorning the shelves in patisseries.
Here wishing all Merry Christmas!