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Heaven Comes in Slices

We natives of Nagercoil are snobs. At least when it comes to certain articles of food. We cannot help it. We have grown up with the best and it is a tad difficult for us to settle for second best.

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I could write an ode to it

Let’s start with the plum cake. Yes, THE PLUM CAKE! The one that is available at that old vanguard of all things baked in Nagercoil  – Greatest Bakery. Take a bite into a slice and then you will now why we find it difficult to join people who wax eloquent over the more popular brands available elsewhere, with a straight face.

I did try one of these ‘famous’ ‘excellent, moist, melt in your mouth cakes’ whose glory I even hear sung in these distant shores. Tasted like saw dust that had been sitting in the sun for the last two days!

And if you tell me it’s because they lose their texture in transport, let me tell you this. I had a slice of GB plum cake a few minutes ago and it came from a loaf that has been cooling it off in my pantry for the past one year. Moist… and I heard my taste buds break into a rhapsody as it waltzed down my throat.

That is one thing that makes these cakes so special. They stay fresh for so long and store well for months. Refrigerate only if you must. Not a dent to that wonderful taste.

And at any given time, there is at least one loaf on standby in my pantry/refrigerator wherever I live. Saved specially for just those moments of unbearable nostalgia and homesickness. All I need for a slice of home is to pop a piece of the cake into my mouth, close my eyes and I can almost feel the gentle breeze caressing me by the Parvathipuram railway bridge.

These plum cakes, wonderfully fragrant and loaded with dry fruits and nuts, moist and richly dark are a fantasy come true.  They positively burst with richness and a small whiff of it can make you weak at the knees (and let’s not just blame the rum that goes into it). Truly a slice of heaven, that can have the devil give up his evil in exchange for a loaf.

While these cakes are always in demand, come Christmas season and these sell literally like what they are – hot cakes.  They virtually fly off the shelf and there are people who buy them by the dozens. Expatriates and non resident Nagercoilites, who undoubtedly like me, want to carry a piece of home tucked into their baggage, make routine visits to the bakery the day they leave town. There are people who visit Nagercoil and NEVER leave without buying a loaf to take home.

Whatever is the special ingredient(s) that make these cakes so special, all I can say is that the taste has remained unchanged over all these years. As my whole town undergoes a major makeover and tries too hard to join the big league and desperately tries to shed its cozy small town feel (unfortunately so), there are a few things that have remained unchanged and hopefully never will change.

I don’t even feel very sure about the mountains ringing my hometown anymore, because every time I go home, I find a major chunk missing from the hills.

But one of the few constants that are always there to warmly welcome me back home is undoubtedly the fresh, luscious, rich taste that explodes in my mouth as I take a bite into the world’s best plum cake from Greatest Bakery.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you know what to do on your next trip to Nagercoil. And if you have never been to Nagercoil, I’ve just given you a great reason to make that trip.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll go have just one more slice before I sleep.

PS: I know I tend to get a tad biased when it comes to all things Kanyakumari… But this time, I am pretty sure I am justified. Believe me, I know…

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Heaven all wrapped up in buttered paper

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17 responses »

  1. Hello!
    I born and brought up from Nagercoil. The Plum Cake is one of the common pride food we all talk about when we mention our home town. Thanks Bervin for sharing the cake recipe. I usually soak the fruits and nuts in rum for a week, yes its for adults only version. I have done this several time, but still feel like it never came close to Greatest Bakery. Have fun!!

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  2. Pingback: Post 101- Looking Back with Gratitude | Kurukshetra

  3. Try this recipe. The taste is almost like the Greatest Bakery plum cake:
    http://spicecrafts12.blogspot.com/2014/12/nagercoil-plum-cake.html?m=1

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  4. Hey Remitha
    Sweet memories. Last March I visited Achen/Amma in Parvathipuram and I couldn’t resist the plum cakes at the Greatest Bakery. Also happened to get fresh guavas from the roadside vendor near kolathu bus stand. Those guavas were the best ever. Must be the water and air
    Raghu

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  5. Hi, I am actually looking for the nagercoil plum cake recipe and landed here!

    I usually hate plum cake. No matter which country or city, from the most expensive/commerical bakeries to the iyengar/ manual bakeries, its just a brown sugar cake with tutifrutti and its dry! My hostelmate got it from her place, nagercoil. It was amazing.And then I shamelessly asked another friend when he went home for a break. I remember my hostelmate saying, that she had bought it from another famous bakery. I forget the name of either bakeries but it does sound like what you’ve explained!

    Lovely post of fond memories. Good to have dropped by your blog. Lovely writing.

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    • Thank you bladenomics:) and welcome aboard the ‘i love ngl plum cake’ ship:) we take great pride in ‘converting’ plum cake haters:) jokes apart, i am so glad you got to taste our delicacy. i hope you get to enjoy it some more:))

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  6. ekaathapadhikan

    Brings back memories. Sweet ones!

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  7. your words seem to dance and swirl in ecstasy when you sing for the famous Plum cake Remy.I bow to you for saving it for a year in the pantry.If I were you it wouldn’t survive even for a month

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  8. Vino Kingston

    I agree Remitha about the special taste of this one. Isnt this also called fruit cake? I wonder how this one ended up in NGL in plenty. Perhaps it’s the European Missionaries who introduced it here when they were living in this land.

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