Sweet or fresh & fruity, flat or a multi-level work of art, garnished with marzipan or cream: Countless variations of cake adorn coffee tables, sweeten coffee breaks, or crown banquets. The ancient Egyptians already appreciated honey-sweetened cake and even ascribed magical powers to it. In 200 B. C., cream pastries, sesame cake or tarts filled with grapes were eaten in Greece. 600 years later, the first confectioners’ guild was founded in Rome. When sugar from sugar beets, cocoa and chocolate became available around 1800 and baking powder was invented a little later, there were hardly any limits to the imagination.
Today, gelatine makes for perfect glazes and wonderful fluffy fillings – with perfect texture and firmness, from delicate creamy to firm and ready to slice as desired. And then the work of art is not just a feast for the palate, but also for the eye. Gelatine also provides a wonderfully creamy mouthfeel – even with reduced-fat fillings. It also improves the shelf life and freeze-thaw stability of the products. But that’s by no means all: Gelatine even makes waffles and biscuits crispier.
Flour, eggs, honey and sugar: the Japanese don’t need any other ingredients for Kasutera. The Portuguese brought the cake with its brown crust to Nagasaki in the 16th century. With strawberries, whipped cream and icing, it transforms into the perfect strawberry cake. Just as popular: cheesecake. The Japanese also know it in a raw form or as a soufflé. In the raw version, cream cheese, whipped cream and gelatine are mixed and placed on a sponge cake base. Soufflé cheese cake is a Japanese original – and a challenge for the baker. The fluffy dream is prepared with egg white and baked in a hot water bath.
Photo: © Norwalk – Fotolia.com
In the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, Bolo de rolo enchants sweet-toothed locals with thin sponge cake dough, which is traditionally spread with guava jam and rolled up. Typically US-American is apple pie, in which chopped apples are covered with either a shortcrust pastry top or a shortcrust lattice cover. Also popular: brownies. The Americans have even dedicated three holidays to them. They celebrate National Brownie Day on 8 December, National Blonde Brownie Day on 22 January, and National Have a Brownie Day on 10 February.
The Italians are fans of their Sicilian cheese cake, Cassata, or Milanese coffee cake. The famous Panettone, a delicious yeast dough cake that was originally baked at Christmas, has long been available all year round. A sweet-tasting must at every family celebration in France are Clafoutis. The classic with cherries is half cake, half pancake. Also very French: a flan pâtissier, a pudding cake. Topping the list of typical German cakes: Black Forest cake with dark chocolate dough, cherries and cream. Baker and master confectioner Siegfried Brenneis provided tips on how cream works particularly well with gelatine in the last issue of uptodate.