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Plum cake

File:Plum cake 08 ies.jpg
A contemporary plum cake
File:00349 Pflaumenkuchen, Sanok 2011.jpg
Side-view of a contemporary Sanok-style plum cake

Plum cake has historically referred to an early type and style of fruitcake in England since around 1700.[1] Raisins and currants were used, which the English referred to as plums since around 1660.[1] Plum cakes during this period were raised by whipping air into the cake batter, rather than by the use of yeast.[1] In Great Britain, the term plum cake still typically refers to what most Americans refer to as a type of fruitcake, and the term plum originally referred to prunes, raisins or grapes in England.[2][3] In Old English, the term plūme was "from medieval Latin pruna, from Latin prunum, which equated to prune.[4] Plum pudding is a similar dish prepared with similar ingredients, cooked by steaming the mixture rather than baking it.[3]

In contemporary times, plum cake may also refer to a type of cake prepared using plum as a primary ingredient.[3] In some versions, after cooking, the plums may become jam-like inside of the cake.[5] Some versions may be prepared using plum jam.[6] Plum cake prepared with plums is also a part of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, and is referred to as pflaumenkuchen.[7]

Prune cake is a type of plum cake.[8]

Europe

In the 1881 book Sweet Dishes, Colonel Henry-Herbert says that "a good English plum cake...is a national institution".[9]

The English version of plum cake also exists on the European mainland, although these may not contain as much fruit and may be drier compared to English versions.[10]

United States

Plum cake in the United States originated from English settlers around "the turn of the eighteenth century", and was prepared in the English style.[11] During this time, it was prepared in sizes ranging from small, such as for parties in celebration of Twelfth Night and Christmas, to large, such as for weddings.[11] This original fruitcake version of plum cake in the United States has been referred to as a reigning "standard American celebration cake through the time of the civil war".[1]

During colonial times in the U.S., a virtually identical cake was called election cake, and was prepared with currants, raisins, molasses and spices, with the addition of brandy in the recipe occurring later.[12] Election cakes were typically leavened with yeast. In New England, large election cakes weighing around Script error: No such module "convert". would traditionally be served while people waited for election results.[12] It has been stated that the first published election cake recipe appeared in 1796 in the book American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons.[12]

Plum cake recipes in the fruitcake style appeared in early cookbooks in the Southern United States, and did not actually call for plums.[13]

After 1830 in the U.S., plum cake was often referred to as fruit cake or black cake.[1]

In 1885, plum cake in the U.S. was described in the book Some noted princes, authors & statesmen of our time as a solid, dark-colored, thick cake with copious amounts of plums, gritty notes from raisins, and as "mucilaginous".[14]

In popular culture

At times, Thomas Carlyle ate a light style of plum cake while drinking tea, which he would dip into the tea.[14] The cake is described as bun-like with currants "dotted here and there".[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Goldstein, D.; Mintz, S.; Krondl, M.; Rath, E.; Mason, L.; Quinzio, G.; Heinzelmann, U. (2015). The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-19-931339-6. 
  2. ^ Bader, M. (2010). The Wizard of Food's Encyclopedia of Kitchen & Cooking Secrets. Publish on Demand Global LLC. p. 576. ISBN 978-1-60911-271-4. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Moore, S. (1999). We Love Harry Potter!: We'll Tell You Why. St. Martin's Press. pp. 84–86. ISBN 978-0-312-26481-9. 
  4. ^ "Plum". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Greenspan, D. (2013). Baking: From My Home to Yours. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-547-34806-3. 
  6. ^ Marx, P.; Moore, C. (2007). Practical Plays. Good Year Books. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-59647-196-2. 
  7. ^ Koenig, L.; An, S. (2015). Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen. Chronicle Books LLC. p. 288–289. ISBN 978-1-4521-3232-7. 
  8. ^ Jordan, M.A. (2011). California Home Cooking: 400 Recipes that Celebrate the Abundance of Farm and Garden, Orchard and Vineyard, Land and Sea. America Cooks. Harvard Common Press. p. 448. ISBN 978-1-55832-597-5. 
  9. ^ Sax, R. (2010). Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 423. ISBN 978-0-547-50480-3. 
  10. ^ Davidson, A.; Jaine, T.; Davidson, J.; Saberi, H. (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-19-104072-6. 
  11. ^ a b Smith, A.F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2. 
  12. ^ a b c Schrandt, D.M. (2003). Just Me Cookin Cakes. iUniverse. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-595-28357-6. 
  13. ^ Fowler, D. (2009). Classical Southern Cooking. Gibbs Smith, Publisher. p. 335. ISBN 978-1-4236-1351-0. 
  14. ^ a b c Parton, J. (1885). Some noted princes, authors & statesmen of our time. H. Bill Pub. Co. p. 180. 

Further reading