Not Just A Piece of Cake
If you’ve heard the song “ Cake by the Ocean “ by Joe Jonas, where he croons, I keep on hoping we’ll eat cake by the ocean ” you will relate to the feeling I get when I put a slice of decadent rum cake into my mouth, while listening to the band playing in the background.
For this is just not a piece of cake! It’s a nostalgic experience that takes me back to my childhood days in “Namma Bengaluru.” Carried back to a little child of 5 years, gazing with shining eyes, clutching my fathers hand as we walk through rows of cakes on exhibit at the Nilgiri cake show.
We stop in front of a massive iced fruit cake, baked by Koshy’s bakery, titled Rich Fruit Cake sampled by the Queen of England. I turn to my father and ask,
“Appa, is this from Kunjutty Appachen’s bakery?”
He looks down at me and nods. Another cake, The London Bridge, catches my eye and I excitedly pull my dad's arm to take a closer look. All these wonderful memories begin rushing through my mind, as I swallow the last bit of fruitcake at the stall.
I glanced around, noticing for the first time the lush green foliage surrounding the grounds of St.Gregorios church, transported back to North Carolina. I couldn’t believe a small bite took me back to the good old days of the Nilgiri cake show from Namma Bengaluru in the late 70’s!
For every Bangalorean reading this blog, I hope to take you back in time to when the late Queen of England visited the famous Koshy Restaurant and Bakery, for a slice of their famous rum fruit cake, glazed with sugar! The tradition continues now by the famous institute of Baking and cake Art (IBCA).
If you’ve ever wondered how some of these unique ingredients such as dry fruits, Cocoa, dates and caramel were brought together, we can go to the history of this cake. The import of dry fruit, rum and cake spices were introduced by the British to Kerala in the 1880’s. As the story goes, a British cardamom planter in one of his journeys to Thallashery, handed over a sample of England's finest plum cake to one Mr. Mambally Bapu, the owner of Royal Biscuit Factory. Mr. Bapu was challenged to recreate the decadent wonder, using local ingredients, with a handful of imported goods made in England, such as cocoa, dates, raisins and dry fruit. As true Malayalee, who never bows down from a challenge, Mr. Bapu proceeded to contact his local vendors for a variety of ingredients to make an English favorite with a Malayalee touch.
A twist in the alcohol used originally in the imported cake, with a locally sourced nutty brew, a dash of malabar cinnamon, cloves, caraway seeds, and a handful of Indian black Kismis, and viola, the first generation of “Best Bakery Plum Cake” was born!
Soon it was just a matter of trailblazing to the future! Now one can never come back after traveling to “God's Own Country” without bringing back a mouth watering plum cake.
But wait! You don’t have to travel many oceans across just to get a slice of the flavorful plum cake. Instead, stop by the cake stall at 225 Bashford Rd, NC and experience the good ole days!