HYDERABAD: It’s the beginning of the end of yet another year, and what better way to wrap up 2021 with some rich plum cake. The season of making and savouring plum cakes and stomping on juicy grapes is here. Worldwide, cake mixing begins two months ahead of Christmas. The tradition has also found its way into Hyderabad, where hotels have kicked off the process which demands time, patience and effort.
According to Chef Kailash, the executive chef at Novotel Hyderabad which recently held a cake mixing and grape stomping brunch, says: “This is a part of an ancient culture when people used to ferment fruits for almost a year, after which they would add them to Christmas cakes.
We wanted to bring this experience to the people of Hyderabad. Cake mixing is typically a community event wherein people get together and have fun.” Black currant, golden apricot, rum-soaked figs, drunk resins, dates, candied orange peel, candied ginger, dry cherries and other fruits are soaked in liquor and fermented for 45 days. The baking begins from December 15. “We sell these cakes and also gift them,” says Kailash.
Food blogger Divya Boppana, who is popular on Instagram as @divyaboppana, says grape stomping is nerve-wracking and fun at the same time. “Usually, it is just the grapes which are added into the barrel, but you can get creative and add in other elements such as ice,” she says.
Vasanthi Singampalli, another food blogger who goes by @Tastydrips on Instagram, says cake mixing marks the onset of the harvest season. “This is when a lot of fruits and nuts were harvested before the winter and were used in the Christmas fruit cake. This ceremony later became a family affair, where the all the members would sit together and soak the harvested fruits in wine or rum. The fruits are first fried. Today, hotels, bakeries and restaurants in the city are following the same practice,” she says.
Although the cake mixing ceremony is warming up to the festive holiday season, it does much more than just that. Today, the age-old ceremony is seen more of an occasion for social gatherings and pre-Christmas celebrations which start a few months before December 25 and the winter festivities, says Vasanthi.