Christmas is no fun without the traditional Christmas cake. And making it is no quick and easy task -- preparations begin way ahead of time. To mark the birth of Jesus Christ, many institutions in Sri Lanka organize cake-mixing ceremonies to spread the warmth of the festive season. People from different walks of life come together for such ceremonies.
The first step towards making the cake is the mixing process, formally called the cake-mixing ceremony. "It is a ritual religiously followed the world over, and is said to be a herald of good tidings and happiness," says the Principal of the IHS Mr M Hulangamuwe. Originally a family affair, it is for many years celebrated within many to spread camaraderie and goodwill. The International Hotel School of Mount Lavinia Hotel that provides a launching pad for those interested in taking up careers in the Hospitality Industry, has been the only functional hotel school in Sri Lanka with a history of 21 years. Speaking on the history of cake-mixing, the cake mixing tradition dates back to 17th century in Europe. The ceremony marks the arrival of the harvest season. During this time, lots of fruits and nuts were harvested and used in the making of the traditional plum cake. Taking note of the cake ingredients, Mr Hulangamuwe stated said that the students made sure it comprised of dry fruits like raisins, black currants, prunes, glazed dates, cherries, candid orange, lemon rinds and nuts like cashews, pistachios and almonds, all the original ingredients that is in the cake. Then came the best part - that is pouring in the liquor. Later, large quantities of liquor, fresh juices, honey are generously added to soak all the mixtures. Freshly ground spices are also added and tossed till the fruits and nuts are well coated. "This was emptied into large containers and stored till a few days before Christmas, with occasional stirring to ensure that the nuts soak till they are swollen," he explained. The mixing took place last month and many students got into the celebration with great enthusiasm. The baking which will be done at HIS by the Kitchen Students and the Cake will be distributed among the Managers of leading Hotels in Colombo.