Try cakes from all over the world in Kochi this Christmas
It’s the season of reuniting with families and celebrating togetherness. Before heading out to meet your favourite people, almost everyone reaches out to their go-to baker’s shelves lined with traditional cakes. Mark this Christmas with a change in ritual as city-based Hot Breads brings international specials to the stands.
“It’s sore on the eyes to even watch plum cakes being the only option for the celebratory mood. Along with our new Mumbai-based chef Vikas Rao—who has over 17 years of international experience in patisseries and cruise lines—we’re bringing traditional favourites from around the world. From Greece to the US, and everywhere in between” says co-promoter John Mathew. We pick seven of their best variants for you. Read on.
Italian Christmas special which is a cross between a cake and a sweetbread. Usually shaped like a cupola and holding in a rich buttery flavour, it is known for its light and airy texture owing to the long proofing process. Raisins, candied orange, and lemon zest make the traditional blend, while modern versions have choco chips instead of fruits.
Rich English Fruit Cake
As evident from the name, this one from Europe uses fruits soaked in tea (and in some cases brandy). Tradition insists on keeping the fruits soaked overnight which helps in creating subtle notes of flavours and also helps preserve the right texture by locking in the moisture. Usually made with fruits like sultanas and dates, the cake mix also uses creamed butter and treacle.
Said to have originated in the 19th century Scotland, this delicacy is decked up with concentric circles of almonds. Originating from the same city as the popular Keiller’s marmalade, this traditional cake connects to the dish through the use of common components like a zest of orange and apricot jam. Malt whisky is the abundantly used flavouring substance, although sometimes substituted with sherry.
This one is the outlet’s take on a recipe that is popular among the Southern states of the US. Brought to Kochiites by their previous chef’s international exposure, this one is loaded with raisins and fruits. The top layer is laden with rich fruit puree (mostly apple), but the outlet also mixes jam to layer the topping.
Walnut and Date Cake
Yet another English recipe, but this one has become a favourite world over. Considered a homely accompaniment for tea, it has a balanced flavour between the sweetness of dates and the rustic bitterness of walnut. Eggless versions are also popular, some even adding a tinge of coffee or even mixed spice (including nutmeg and cinnamon) to enhance the flavours.
Originating in Greece, this one is usually associated with Saint Basil’s day which falls on New Year’s day. Served as a coffee cake on the day, this one is usually made with a Balkan dough called tsoureki and topped with vanilla-scented sugar glaze. “While Greeks place a coin in the dough and the person who gets it is considered lucky, ours will feature a hidden chocolate trinket,” says chef Vikas.
Just like panettone, this German winter solstice special is a bread as much as a cake. It’s said that each baker in the villages of the country adds their secret ingredient to the recipe that’s passed down from one generation to next. However, the common elements of the yeasted cake include candied fruits, marzipan (a confection made of honey and almond meal) and is covered with powdered sugar.