Barnabrow Christmas Cakes

It so happened that some staff were passing through the kitchen as Stuart prepared the ingredients and began the process of mixing the cakes. We all begged for a stir.

Christine reminisced on her Sri Lankan Christmas cakes – there the tradition was to have the first sampling after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Heather laughed as she recalled her mother’s ritual annual panic if her cakes were not ready in October after her excursion into the English Market to buy the fruit. No, I said, our house could not have coped with that. The cakes would not have survived that long – it was all my mother could do to keep little fingers away from the ‘hundreds and thousands’ that we picked off the cake leaving glaring gaps in the otherwise perfected icing.

Jess described the fierce debates about whether there would be almond icing or just sugar icing or glazed fruit finishes. Stuart surprised us by revealing that in Scotland little attention was paid to the cake – they rarely made one. He does not know what he has missed!

We had our stir, we made our wishes and we left the kitchen with nostalgic smiles on our faces.