Seriously, who doesn’t have a second stomach for dessert? Well to be honest, I have three stomachs: 1) Normal nutritional food for survival, 2) dessert, and 3) cheesecake! I have been saying this for years! So as you can see, I am well equipped to enthusiastically inform you about the best day of the year (no not your Birthday or Christmas); it’s International Cake Day today!
It’s only fitting to let you know that I am eating cake while writing about cake... Basque Cheesecake! It is the only right way to write this post if you ask me.
Okay, so maybe I am a bit overly enthusiastic about this day, but did you know that cake actually has impacted important parts of not only gastronomy but also history? Art? Culture? It’s true. People started making and eating cakes way back during ancient times - in fact simultaneously when flour was discovered! Of course, these ancient cakes are very different from what we consider cakes today. They resemble more what we consider bread in consistency and were sweetened with honey. Ancient Greeks had special cakes like “Plakous” or “Satura,” which were flat and heavy. Ancient Rome had “Libum” , a wheat flour cheesecake used as an offering during spiritual rituals.
Even crazier - one of the stable globally widespread traditions for birthday celebrations, the birthday cake, first came about in Germany during the Middle Ages! It wasn’t until the 17th century in Europe, did the round cakes become popular (thanks to rounded pans), and in the 18th century, with the improvement of milling technology and the discovery of eggs as a leavening agent, did cakes start to become light and fluffy as well as easier for the everyday average family to bake. In the 18th century, cakes became a stable part of social gatherings such as tea time in England. Some royals, such as Marie Antoinette, perhaps ate too much cake with friends. Remember her famous words, “Let them eat cake!”? Shockingly only in the 19th century did frosting finally enter the food scene as the sugary topping was added to cakes.
Now, in the 21st century, we are living through one particular cake phenomenon - “Is it Cake?” I know you must have seen these videos on social media or that Netflix tv show. Imagine a juicy bright red watermelon with a bright green rind, and as you bite into it, you actually taste lemon! Yup, a lemon cake with the appearance of a watermelon! Essentially, cakes are made to not look like cake at all. If someone in the 15th century time traveled to today, they would probably say it's magic!
As you can see, cake has transformed throughout the ages, but its symbolism remains the same: celebration and love. The first International Cake Day in 2011 embodied this as 9 countries commemorated their friendships. Today, we at Seibert Media are adding Germany in 2022 to that list (unofficially of course… There are probably some important legal papers and government officials we would have to talk to to get the whole country to take part, but we will skip that and just say it would be our honor to represent Germany in celebrating International Cake Day!). So why are we so invested in celebrating? The answer really is because of the cake.
At Seibert Media, cake is truly ingrained in our culture
It is an actual requirement for all newly hired employees' to bring a cake into the office within their first week! By bringing in a “welcome” cake, newbies are able to connect and communicate with their new colleagues. People can just easily say, “Hey, that cake was delicious,” or “Thanks for the cake.” What could be a better ice breaker than cake? Nothing!
So, bringing in a cake - that much is clear and pretty easy. But to be even more specific, what we really want is to see our colleagues baking skills with a homemade cake (yes…we hear the groans from our non-bakers). To make it easier for our newbies, we provide an easy Hessian Apple Wine Cake recipe with step-by-step instructions in our Employee Handbook. Even if a colleague isn’t the best baker (where they burn everything that goes into an oven) no excuse can get them out of this task 😉.
Overall, cake really does play a role in our corporate culture. It drives employee engagement, employees are happier (sweets are scientifically proven to make us feel better!), helps start communication among colleagues, and makes for a fun working environment. It really is like magic, and I am saying this not as a 15th century time traveler, but as an employee at Seibert Media who loves cake and the working culture we have surrounding this sweet.
So my next words won’t be for my non-bakers, but I definitely know all my food lovers will be happy when I say - it's time for baking. I’ll give you my favorite strawberry cake recipe (no offense to Hessian Apple Wine Cakes) as a parting gift. Happy International Cake Day!
Here's the recipe:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted softened butter (alternatively salted butter can be substituted, but then do not add additional salt into the recipe)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (substitution possible with vanilla sugar, but then no sugar additionally is needed).
- 1 pound strawberries (0.5 kilogram)
- powder sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (176 C). Butter a 10-inch pie plate on the sides and bottom. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a separate bowl.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture with the wet mixture.
- Cut defrosted strawberries (or fresh strawberries) into halves. Add the strawberries into the mixture to combine everything together.
- Slowly pour the strawberry mixture onto the pie plate. You can optionally place strawberries on top as decoration.
- Bake the cake for about 45-50 minutes (check on it) until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch. Take it out of the oven when it is done, let it cool and enjoy!
- Optionally: while cooling, you can mix together powdered sugar and water for a glaze. You can add this onto the cake for a bit more sweetness.
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