Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Cake Wrap

    When you google Prune Cake in search of its history or origins, you discover everyone's great aunt or grandmother had a recipe that was likely handed down to them, and there are more prune cake recipes out there than you can poke a stick at. That's the history of this cake... it's been around for ages and lovingly baked to nourish and delight (and surprise - it's amazing how many aunties and grannies kept mum about the main ingredient; poor prunes, it's just not fair). And many of these vintage recipes have the beautiful toffee icing, sometimes called a butterscotch glaze. One version I read added vanilla to the cake mixture - I adore vanilla, so I am tempted to add that next time, although it won't be the same recipe as the Wyoming pioneer one I've presented here on Blackbird Pie. What cook doesn't love to experiment with their favourite flavours, make a recipe their own? Me, I've changed the name of the cake...
I love a Santa with muscles!
     So, I made my spicy fruit and nut cake for Christmas (cue the wonderful aroma on the morning of Christmas Eve as it was baking, mmm), and draped the cake and the toffee nut topping with a smooth layer of sugar icing so it looked like snow (the nuts in the toffee gave the white surface a natural undulating surface that I really liked the look of), topped it with bright red cherries and dotted with silver cachous. I replaced the walnuts with pecans and I used gluten-free flour (as I mentioned I would for the gluten intolerant one in our family). I think I preferred the walnuts and although the gluten-free flour produced a beautiful cake, I prefer gluten-fierce flour overall.
The whole thing not particuarly pioneer I grant you, but well, whenever you are introducing something new into the family, you are pioneering a little, I think (especially when someone declares I hate prunes, and enjoys eating it nevertheless, bit like making it to the Promised Land really). At Christmas time the family are sticklers for tradition, so anything new has to be well rationalised. 
    Anyway... I hope you enjoy the pics of the pioneer prune cake made over into Christmas spicy fruit and nut cake, with its delicate Christmassy spices and fragrance, it went down a treat with the family. I think it looks quite festive. And I just wanted to acknowledge GEM and her beautiful photography; her gorgeous Christmas pics will continue to pop up.

The golden candles look a bit like antennae! 

I hope you all enjoyed a bright and beautiful Christmas of amazing festive treats.

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