I sometimes buy British goods from various providers in the United States (and some in the UK), and I have already started to receive notification emails from a few of them that say they are ready to take orders for Christmas goodies. I almost always get things like mince pies and Christmas pudding (although the latter is now available from some stores in the US), but what I really like is Christmas cake.
The perfect Christmas cake is quite hard to come by. There are many different kinds, but my favorite type must have the following qualities:
- Rich and fruity
- Dark and moist
- Thickly-covered in marzipan
- Fully-iced with sharply-peaked, tooth-destroying Royal icing
Shop-bought Christmas cakes are usually poor. The cake is usually pretty good (especially the expensive, luxury items) but they always suffer from stingy marzipan and soft icing. The finest examples of the species are made months in advance, lovingly cared-for with regular injections of alcohol during the two or three months before Christmas, when they are given their marzipan and icing shrouds and decorated.
For many people, Christmas is all about Jesus. For me, it is all about food - and Christmas cake is my gold, frankincense and myrrh all rolled into one.