The British Christmas Cake
Another great British Christmas tradition is the making and eating of the Christmas Cake. The cake is a rich fruit cake that is decorated with marzipan and white royal icing and then a sprig of holly is placed on the top. Most cakes are made from mixed dried fruit and nuts that are often soaked in rum, brandy or whisky.
The tradition of the fruit cake is said to date back to 1573, but was associated with the cake´s predecessor – the plum pudding or plum porridge. The festive cake was also linked to the 12 days of Christmas that start from Christmas Day and was eaten at parties and social gatherings for the 12 days of holidays after Christmas. Nowadays the 12 days are not celebrated much apart from on Radio Christmas, due to the fact that most people have to return to work soon after the 26th December.
The British Christmas Cake may have inspired many other European countries to make their own versions, including the Three Kings Cake (image right) that is a firm favourite in Switzerland. The swiss cake is circular to represent the circular route taken by the Kings who visited the Christ-child and to confuse King Herold. Inside the cake one lucky person will find a small plastic figure inside their portion of the cake and that person then becomes King for the day in the family home. Three Kings Cake is usually baked and eaten on the 6th January (Epiphany).