Christmas is around the corner and the ubiquitous plump plum cake has started making its appearance. Served traditionally with wine, these luscious, dark brown cakes, rich with nuts and dry fruits and hints of spice have bakeries gearing up for the baking spree, months ahead. And while bake shops in the city have started stocking their shelves with this Christmas must-have, it is no longer just plum cakes that are on display during the season.
Most bakeries have drawn up a separate cake menu for Christmas, one that lists cakes that cater to and celebrate the festive season. From sinfully rich chocolate cakes to light and airy fresh crème cakes, to exotic sounding cakes such as Strawberry Bagatelle, Fair Lady, Irish Toffee and Cold Coffee Cake, it is a veritable cake fiesta as bakeries in the city try to out-bake each other with cakes in myriad flavours and shapes. And many are spreading the Christmas cheer among family and friends by opting for these cakes that come in rainbow colours.
Chocolate seems to be the flavour of the season with most bake houses and restaurants offering different chocolate-based cakes. Says Chef Shine of Villa Maya: 'Many denizens of the city are turning chocoholics judging by the demand for rich, gooey concoctions in chocolate. While some prefer the use of dark, slightly bitter chocolate in the batter, others opt for the sweeter and less dense milk chocolate.'
Fresh crème based cakes, fruit based cakes and coffee flavoured cakes are popular too, says Cuckoo Vinod of Ambrosia Bake House. She however has a word of caution: 'Fresh crème cakes do not have much of a shelf life because the cream tends to spoil quickly. The cake needs to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a day or two unlike other cakes.' She adds that institutions order crème cakes and fruit flavoured cakes by the dozen.
Although most bakeries stick to the traditional round and square shapes, there are orders for innovative designs and shapes. 'We get orders for Christmas themed cakes: snowman, Santa, Christmas trees..,' says Ivy Daniels of Square One Talents.
Once it was the flavour of the cake that attracted customers but these days, with the plethora of television programmes that focus on cake baking and cake decorations, bakers are rolling up their sleeves to create works of art with their cakes. 'As most people gift cakes during this season, the cakes apart from being tasteful, has to look artistic too,' says Amina Musaliar of Supreme Bakers. But she adds that there are still buyers who want cakes with old fashioned royal icing and glace icing.
However, while the market may be flooded with varieties of cakes, this does not mean that there are no takers for the traditional plum cakes. And while regular plum cakes still rule the shelves, plum cakes with border icing and those with fondant covering sell like hot cakes too. Those who prefer a more melt-in-your-mouth texture can choose from a range of plum puddings.
Oreo Magic at Ambrosia Bake House
Strawberry Bagatelle at Supreme Bakers
Cold Coffee Cake at Square One Talents
Cappuccino Mousse at Villa Maya
Varieties of plum cakes from around the world at St. Michel’s Baker
A plump tale
St. Michels Bakery serves versions of fruit cakes from various corners of the globe. There’s Rich Fruit Cake from England, Rum and Raisin from the Caribbean, Yule Log from France…
Villa Maya has introduced Jackfruit Plum Pudding (mix of jackfruit and dried fruits) as a variation from the normal fruit cake. If you are not too fond of fruits in your cake, then try Ambrosia’s nut enriched cake. Supreme Bakers has alcohol free fruit cakes. 'We also have a specialty cake called Supreme Classic, a cake we make only for Christmas. It is based on my mother’s recipe; this cake has only figs and nuts in it,' says Amina Musaliar of Supreme Bakers.