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Food and Recipes

Speciality Seasonal Cakes

Cakes have always played a big part during the Christmas festivities. So we feature 4 traditional cakes from 4 different european countries: Italy, France, Germany and England.

Panettone is the cake that is traditionally bought in Italy around Christmas time. It made it's appearance in Milan around the 15th century. Panettone is a sweet bread containing fruit and candid peel. It was Angelo Motta back in 1919 that created the classic dome shaped cake that we are familiar with. He achieved this by making the dough rise 3 times. It is best served with a sweet wine.

In France the "Buche de Noel" will be made by patisseries during the Christmas season. This Christmas 'Yule' log is a cake created to look like the log that burns during the season. It is a sponge cake filled with butter cream, rolled and covered and decorated to look like the bark of a log. The story goes, that as Christmas came to replace the Winter Solstice celebrations, France carried on the tradition for a 'yule' log by cutting down a tree each year and then placing it in the fireplace so the heat from the log could be used to prepare the Christmas Eve midnight supper.

Stollen is a fruit cake containing dried fruit and often marzipan and covered with sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar. The cake is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. The cake dates back to around the 1400's. Made from yeasted dough, traditional stollen becomes soft and moist with the addition of butter and rum, which preserve the bread so that it can ripen for a few weeks and absorb the flavors of the fruit. It’s a beloved Christmas treat all over Germany.

The English Christmas Cake is somewhat a tradition in English households over the Christmas period. It is a rich fruit cake made with dried fruit and a generous dose of alcohol such as brandy, rum or whisky and baked at a low temperature for many hours. The cake has a long history dating back to the 16th century where it started off as plum porridge. Christmas cakes can are usually baked well in advance and can be left as it is or covered in marzipan and white icing. Very often Chrismas cake is enjoyed with a lovely piece of English cheddar cheese. A tawny port is an excellent companion for Christmas cake.

Happy Christmas Baking!

Monday, 1 December 2014    Section: Food and Recipes
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