Cake is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A slice of something sweet is just the thing to hit the spot, and countries all over the world have got their own special spin on this fantastic treat. Join us as we celebrate National Cake Day with a look at some of the most delicious cakes around the world!
Celebrate National Cake Day in Germany with a Black Forest Gateau
One of the most famous (and delicious) cakes on our list comes courtesy of the beautiful German Black Forest region. Black Forest Gateau, German Black Forest cake, Black Forest cherry cake, or Black Forest chocolate cake, whatever you know it as, is one of the most recognizable cakes in the world, thanks to its iconic appearance and flavors.
What is Black Forest cake?
Black Forest gateau is a decadent multi-layered sponge cake. Black Forest cake ingredients are simple, but high quality with perfectly balanced flavors to give a rich, moreish sweet treat. The sponge is dark, moist, and chocolaty, studded by ruby-red fresh cherries and layered with thick cream. It is one of the most popular cakes in the world. It’s found in bakeries almost everywhere, but of course, nowhere does it taste quite the same as in the Black Forest itself.
To find the best slice of German Black Forest cake, you need to get yourself to the beautiful towns of the Black Forest region. Some of the most famous spots in the area include Baden-Baden and Freiburg. Look out for buildings saying ‘Konditorei’, as this means it is a local, family bakery. They will serve up the best cakes, bread, and snacks. In Baden-Baden, Café König serves fantastic authentic Black Forest gateau. But as long as you go somewhere traditional, you’re going to have a great cake experience anywhere in the Black Forest.
Mexico – Tres Leches cake for National Cake Day
From one regional icon to another, no national cake day list would be complete without the delightful Mexican Tres Leches cake. What is tres leches cake, I hear you ask? Essentially, it’s a milk and dairy lovers’ dream. Authentic Tres Leches cake ingredients include milk, milk, and yet more milk, 3 different types, to be exact. Evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream enrich and decorate layers of sponges. Mexican celebrations often call for Tres Leches layer cakes. They originate from a traditional Latin-American sponge cake called ‘Torta de Tres Leches’.
Finding the best Tres Leches cake in Mexico can be a little bit of a challenge (but a delicious one). Tres Leches cake recipes vary from region to region. Some recipes favor a layered sponge, and others opt for a single soaked slab. As with all things food-related, Mexico City is a fantastic place to find amazing Tres Leches Cake. Every bakery in the city offers Tres Leches Cake, and each one will be as delicious as the last. We recommend trying a slice from a few places to find your favorite.
Italy – Panettone
Panettone is a sweet bread originating in Northern Italy. It is eaten traditionally around the holidays. Recipes contain a beautiful medley of dried spiced fruits cushioned in a soft dough. Panettone bread is made of sweet yeast, giving it a soft, airy texture, making it the perfect light finish to a festive meal. Panettones usually come as a large rounded or domed cake. You can also get mini panettones which make great souvenirs of your Italian vacation.
The best Italian panettone is available in artisanal bakeries in towns and cities across the country. It’s in the North of the country where the cake originated and where it is arguably the best. Milan is the birthplace of panettone cake. There are fantastic bakeries across the city where you can pick up your own traditional panettone for the holidays. One of the oldest and most revered bakeries in Milan is Pasticceria Marchesa, which opened its doors in 1824. It’s one of the most iconic producers of panettone and other delicious baked goods in Northern Italy.
Spain – Tarte de Santiago
We’re popping over to another beautiful Mediterranean vacation spot for the next cake on the list. Spain is a huge country, with a stunning diversity of culture and cuisines. It’s the North of the country that gives us our next sweet treat. The Tarte de Santiago comes from the Galicia region, which, with its verdant green landscape and tempestuous seas, is a world away from the sun-baked beaches of the south. The wildness is reflected in the Spanish Tarte de Santiago almond cake, which is a simple, elegant cake enriched with the flavors of nature.
Spaniards eat Tatre de Santiago around the holidays and at Santa Semana, before Easter. The decoration is simple, with a dusting of powdered sugar revealing the shape of the cross of Santiago atop the cake. Traditional Tarte de Santiago recipes are gluten-free. The cake contains ground almonds, citrus juice, sugar, and eggs. Once combined, the mixture is baked in a mold.
The best place to try traditional Tarta de Santiago is in Santiago de Compostela. This stunning city is well-known as an important place of Christian pilgrimage, and the Tarta de Santiago is a regional specialty. You can find it in cafes and bakeries across the city, as well as more widely spread across Spain.
National Cake Day in the USA – Red Velvet Cake
It was hard to choose just one cake from the USA to put on the list. After all, the country which gave the world the gifts of New York Cheesecake, Boston Cream Pie, and German Chocolate Cake has a pretty good reputation for producing amazing cakey delights. The Red Velvet Cake is a pretty transcendent American cake, one which has made its mark on faces and bakeries all over the world.
What is Red Velvet Cake made of?
The red velvet cake’s history is actually far more organic and interesting than you might think. It dates back to the Victorian era when cocoa began to be added to cake recipes to create a lighter, silkier, velvety texture. Around the same time, another popular type of cake was gaining popularity; the Devil’s Food Cake, with its decadent chocolaty flavor. Eventually, these two styles combined, bringing us closer to the red Velvet Cake that we all know and love. During the Great Depression, Red Velvet Cake was popular because it used cocoa, rather than more expensive chocolate bars, along with vinegar and baking soda. Once the recipe made its way to the South, the addition of buttermilk caused an unexpected reaction.
Why is Red Velvet Cake red?
The most unique thing about Red Velvet cake is of course its red tint. You might think that the color comes from simply adding food coloring to the cake and calling it a day, but this is not the case. The color is all thanks to the magic of chemistry. Cocoa powder contains a pH-sensitive antioxidant called anthocyanin, which reacts to the acidic ingredients in a Red Velvet Cake recipe. This reaction causes the cocoa to turn a dark, chocolaty red color. The best red velvet cake will have an intense dark brown-red color, not a bright, artificial red finish. This is a great way to tell that you’re getting some handmade red velvet cake, rather than mass-produced, artificially colored stuff. The perfect red velvet chocolate cake has a delicious cream cheese frosting. This gives a slightly sharp finish to every rich, sweet mouthful.
England – Victoria sponge cake
Every day is National Cake Day in the UK! A Victoria sponge cake is the quintessential example of English cuisine, simple, homely, and comforting. A traditional Victoria sponge consists of layers of buttery sponge cake, raspberry jam, and whipped buttercream. Sometimes called a Victoria Sandwich, the Victoria Sponge cake has a history dating back to 1843. Queen Victoria herself is said to have enjoyed a slice with her afternoon tea.
After learning about the cake’s royal heritage, you might want to try it and see for yourself if it gets your seal of approval too. You can find Victoria Sponge in traditional tea rooms, stately homes, and independent coffee shops. It’s a mark of pride to be able to produce a fantastic Victoria Sponge, so if it’s made it onto the menu, that’s a sign that it’s worth trying. Victoria Sponge goes particularly well with a hot cup of tea, the traditional way to enjoy this most English treat.
Austria – Sachertorte
If there is one cake that perfectly sums up the culture and history of its parent country, it’s the Sachertorte. Elegant, refined, classic, and exquisite are just a few adjectives that describe this famous chocolate cake. Invented in 1832 by apprentice baker Franz Sacher, the Sachertorte has gone on to become an icon of Austrian cuisine. The cake is extremely dense and rich, with a thick dark chocolate ganache icing atop layers of decadent sponge. Unsweetened cream usually accompanies Sachertorte.
There are few tell-tale signs that you’re getting an original Sachertorte Wien. The best place to try it is in the Hotel Sacher, Vienna. This is where the cake was originally created and is finished with the original seal of the hotel, signaling its authenticity.
France – Gateau St Honore for National Cake Day
It doesn’t get more French than this delectable pastry cake. The Gateau St Honore was invented in 1847 in a Parisian bakery. Mounds of delicate choux pastry, caramel, and cream make up the cake. There have been embellishments to Gateau St Honore recipes over the years to include chocolate and sometimes fruit. However, the original version is the most authentic way to eat this delicious dessert.
Named for the patron saint of bakers, St Honoratus, Gateau St Honore cakes are available in patisseries, bakeries, and fine cafes across France, but particularly in its home city, Paris. Many Parisians sat that ‘The Mandarin Oriental Hotel’ serves up the finest Gateau St Honore in Paris. In fact, it is the chef’s signature dessert, so is the perfect place to visit on National Cake Day!
China – Mooncake
What is a mooncake?
A mooncake (月饼) is a Chinese pastry for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节). It takes place every year, on August 15th on the lunar calendar. Historical reports suggest that eating mooncakes dates back to the Qing Dynasty. Mooncakes are for sharing with friends and family during the festival. They are round in shape, like the full moon, which in Chinese culture symbolizes togetherness and completeness.
Mooncake flavors and fillings vary depending on the region. Common variations include red bean paste mooncakes and lotus seed paste mooncakes. You can buy mooncakes in supermarkets and shops across China in the month preceding the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Jamaica – Jamaican rum cake
The holiday season in Jamaica is incomplete without a slice or two of Jamaican rum cake. Recipes traditionally include pureed fruit, wine, and, of course, rum, creating a deliciously rich, moist, and sticky cake. Jamaican Black Rum Cake is another name for the cake because looks a lot like dark chocolate cake.
Jamaican rum cake is available in shops and bakeries all over Jamaica. You can get it in many forms, including mini gift cakes, cupcakes, and large cakes for sharing with friends and family. You can also find flavored versions, including Jamaican coconut rum cake and rum cakes with chocolate.
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