Yesterday, at The Heron Portico Hotel, guests were treated to an exclusive and rare cake mixing ceremony at the hotel’s Mdalasini Restaurant.
Although still a novelty here in Kenya, the tradition of cake mixing is quite an ancient practice. Historians trace its origin to 17th century Europe where the cake mixing ceremony marked the arrival of the harvest season. During this time, lots of fruits and nuts were harvested and used in the making of the cake, which was traditionally a plum cake.
The ceremony usually starts a few months before Christmas and the winter festivities so it can usher in good tidings and happiness.
On this rare night of comfort and joy, we all became chefs – clad in gloves, aprons and a chef’s hat (toque Blanche, if you want to be technical), we completed the perfect picture of Christmas as we all engaged in this age-old mixing ritual.
There was a massive steel basin where all the raisins, black currants, candied peel, candied cherries and all the other goodies finally ended up for the grand wine-soaking finale which, it is said, adds the ‘spirit of the season‘ to the fruit.
Once the restaurant chefs gave a thumb of approval, the cake mix was taken away. It will be stored away in a secure place for up to 2 weeks so all the liquid will soak into the fruit and mature undisturbed in time for Christmas when it will be used by the in-house bakery to make Christmas cakes, puddings or whatever else tickles their festive fancy.
The ceremony was followed by High Tea where the menu included a variety of meaty and vegetarian delicacies and beverages to while away the rest of the evening as guests engaged in small talk over an occasional announcement by the MC. I particularly loved the meatballs which graciously came with a sizeable helping of tartar sauce, my favourite sauce!
Just in case you might fancy checking out what the chefs did with our cake mix over the festive season, then you will be pleased to know The Heron Portico is not too far – just about 3 KM from the city centre, along Milimani Road, a few metres from the Kenya Anti Corruption Authority and opposite the Criminal Investigation Department – pretty safe place if you ask me! Merry Christmas.