The history of Plum Cakes goes back to the medieval England, as per the custom on the eve of Christmas; porridge is cooked and eaten to line up the stomach for upcoming feast. The porridge was made with oats, dried fruits, spices, honey and at times meat. This was the grandfather of the plum cake. Slowly it had a fusion wherein flour, eggs and butter replaced the oats. The batter was rolled in muslin and cooked in boiling water. The rich landlords who owned an oven generally baked it. The original plum cake was served upside down with a sprig of holy. It was called plum (or plumb) because of the use of raisins or black currants, which were referred as plums. As the Feast of Twelfth night was banned, the bakers and confectioners stocked up the ingredients for the Christmas Eve and Christmas night. When British families left the shores of England so did the recipe of the cake and also the plum cake. Thus each country evolved its own recipe, – Australia, America, Canada and other parts of the world. Some are made with nuts soaked in rum, some are fed with sherry or brandy for weeks after being baked, and some have no alcohol at all. Some were made up of cream cheese and whipped cream.
Though each country had its own variant but the most closely guarded is the traditional Scottish Christmas cake, also known as the Whisky Dundee, is very popular now a days as the recipe has crossed the border. It is a light crumbly cake with currants, raisins, cherries and Scotch whisky. The taste is different due the usage of different Scotch for soaking the ingredients along with whipped cream. The cake is different genre as it is baked in traditional oven with peat fire. The best part of the cake is that it is fed with scotch by making holes in the cake and traditionally it is cut and served upside down.
Though we searched everywhere in Bhubaneswar for this cake, our search paid dividends. It was in ITC Fortune that Executive Chef Pranay and Chef Firoz had curated this caked and followed the traditional Dunndee recipe till the hilt. Need to taste it to believe it.