Friday, June 24, 2011

Who's Bringing the Cake?

The French have a whole relationship with cakes that I haven’t  completely adapted to.  I still can’t eat yellow pound cake  for breakfast even though here it’s considered normal.  Or that chocolate cake or yogurt/lemon cake is often eaten for snack after school.  (It tastes too much like birthday cake without the frosting!)

The biggest difference in cake consumption, however is the yearly events- birthdays, holidays ect…  In France there is really no such thing as a ‘sheet cake’.   You can’t go to the grocery store and find a big ass chocolate or yellow cake covered in flavored lard mixed with sugar. 
And nobody here would dare make a cake for any special event.  Why should they when they can just hop over to the nearest boulangerie and get themselves one of these?:
strawberry and cream double decker called a 'fraisier'

Or these:
strawberry pistachio 'fraisier pistache'

Or these:
a 'mille feuille'- very thin layers of cake, cream, slate sugar, and chocolate

French cake is probably the most perfect dessert I’ve ever tasted- often involving fruit and cream and cake so light and airy it doesn’t take up nearly as much belly space as the chunks of compound carbs we Americans like to chomp down (with a large glass of milk on the side- in my case).

That said, when my birthday rolls around, (Which is coming up soon- July 1st!)- I make my husband get me an American type cake.  Even though they’re frozen and often involve Disney characters- They’ve got that double level chocolate cake and traditional frosting that I need in order to ‘feel’ like it’s my birthday:)  As you can imagine, my french relatives are less than impressed with my cake choice every year.

What’s your favorite kind of cake?  If you lived in France, would you be a stickler for sheet cake or would you bow to cultural cake consumption and head to your nearest boulangerie?

29 comments:

Sarah Pearson said...

Chocolate cake all the way baby!

If I lived in France I would not choose. I would eat both :)

Old Kitty said...

Cake is cake where ever I go. I love cake. French, American, UK, canteen cake , airport cake, train refreshment trolley cake ...

Happy birthday to you soon!!! Yay!!!! I hope you get the cake of your dreams!! Take care
x

Sarah said...

I spent a week in France one time and visited a bakery at least twice a day. I agree--French cake is the best, and I wouldn't miss American-style sheet cake for even a microsecond.

Carrie said...

My favorite cake is from a bakery in Minneapolis called Woullets. My favorite is something called Princess Torte which they have little versions of at IKEA. Sadly all I can do is write about my love of cake because I'm going gluten free.

Laura Pauling said...

I would head to the nearest store b/c I'm not a very good cake maker! Happy Birthday in advance!

Emily White said...

Those cakes look absolutely lovely! But I'd have to say I'd go with my american-made cake. From all your talk of cream, I'd be afraid you were talking about whipped cream and I can't stand that stuff. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm not much of a cake eater, but I do like ice-cream cake.

salarsenッ said...

Hmmm...I'm not much of a cake eater, but I'd probably go with anything chocolate. And the frosting has to be really good. :)

Gina said...

Wow, those cakes are masterpieces. I despise frosted cakes- blech! I much prefer ice cream cake with chocolate fudge and chocolate crunchies from The Ice Cream Shoppe in Shelton!

Paigeewa said...

I guess my sticklerness would all depend on how long I was there. A few weeks? Let me eat the French cake. But a bout of homesickness that resulted, once, in eating at a McDonalds in Athens, Greece? Bring on the sheetcake.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Cake for breakfast? Now there's a French tradition I could get behind. (And thereby gain an additional 20 lbs.)

Never mind. Living in France would kill me.

April said...

For Thanksgiving Dinner last year, I made a Better Than Sex Chocolate Cake. Now, I don't know if it was actually better than sex (no, it was not), however...Oh. Em. Gee. Amazing. If you want the recipe, I can send it to you. But basically, it's a very moist double layer chocolate cake. Into each layer, you inject melted caramel...there's chocolate chips I think...I can't remember everything. But it's the most moist, amazing cake I have ever had.

That being sex, I rarely eat desserts and generally, if I'm going to have dessert, I'd rather either cheesecake or really moist brownies or cookies than cake. I'm not a huge cake fan. But I did have a small piece of that cake!

Laura Marcella said...

Mmmm, these French cakes look divine! I don't like store-bought cakes. They taste so fake! I think it's because I grew up on homemade cakes. Though Betty Crocker makes a pretty good boxed cake and icing. I don't understand what most American bakeries use because most of them sure don't taste homemade or like Betty Crocker!

I love chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. And with M&Ms on top is extra fun!

Happy early birthday, Katie!!!

April said...

Oh...sorry...you had me thinking all about the cake...Happy Soon-to-Be Birthday! My 1-year anniversary is that day!

Lizz said...

Okay, now I'm hungry...........

Nicole Zoltack said...

My favorite cake is chocolate with peanut butter icing. Buttercreme icing, not whipped.

Liz Fichera said...

Chocolate sheet cake! Then I head to the boulangerie. Can't a girl do both?! Happy Upcoming Birthday!

Katie said...

Cake for breakfast!? Cake for snacks!?

I need to move to France.

Seriously, though, I LOVE cake more than any other person I know. I will eat it in just about any form. And the French stuff looks delicious!

Caitlin said...

I would totally be a cultural cake consumer. That mille feuille looks so good, my thighs grew a few inches just looking at it!

But my favorite kind of cake is super simple. Mix a can of pureed pumpkin with a box of yellow cake mix. Oh. Yes. Please.

Eliza Wynn said...

Mmm, cake.

I'd much rather have a sheet cake or layer cake. If I'm going to have the calories, it should be from something I know I like.

It's hard to choose a favorite. I'd have to say banana cake with chocolate icing, chocolate cake with white icing, or yellow cake with chocolate icing. The icing should be buttercream, although I've had buttercream that wasn't very good and sugar icing that was very tasty.

Mmm, cake. :-)

Meredith said...

Oh my goodness, this post made me so hungry! I don't need real American birthday cake to make me feel like it's my birthday, but I'm such a cake fan!

mshatch said...

I love cake, all kinds of cake, so much so that I have been known to eat it for breakfast. I especially love a good chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

Kelly Breakey said...

That last one looked awesome...but for me it's a chocolate monstrosity that my husband made up in my honor and proceeds to bake for me every year. Yum!

BTW...Happy Birthday...early.

Johanna Garth said...

I really wish I had a patisserie near me because anything in those windows would be a favorite.

If I can't have that it would probably be my own chocolate cake, homemade, grandma's special recipe. :)

Janet Johnson said...

Oooh, you ask a hard question. I LOVE French cakes and desserts in general, but then, good old-fashioned American cake . . . yummmm.

Yeah, I just plain like cakes. Maybe both? :D

Geoff Maritz said...

Hmm! Now what would I do? I'm single, haven't baked a cake for at least 20 years, love sweet things. Hmm, what would I do? I'd go out to the nearest shop and buy one, no matter where in the world I am. French, English, American, South African, I really don't care. Just bring on the cake, you make it and I'll eat it. HA, HA, HA. God bless you girl on your birthday, Geoff.

Huntress said...

In the name of research, I volunteer to try a slice of each variety...several times...just to make sure, you understand.

Cake; any kind but it must have buttercream frosting. Or White Mountain. Or German Chocolate.

Rats. Nevermind. Any cake, any frosting. Period.

Tamara Narayan said...

As a kid, my favorite cake was Angel Food topped with my mother's homemade chocolate frosting. These days, I have to buy Angel Food cake or mix up a Dunkin Hines Cake--the Devil's Food mix is quite good.

If in France, I'd probably be like you--demand an Americanish cake (but I'd make my own frosting--store-bought frosting is usually horrible). Happy Birthday!

Fa L'Americana said...

Wow, those cakes look amazing. But I can understand your need for a "real" birthday cake. I'm that way too.
Here in Sicily they don't seem to understand cakes at all. They're always so dense and the typical selection is rather pitiful. And the frosting makes me want to cry. Nothing but that whipped cream stuff. Totally tasteless.
At least they don't find it strange for me to do my own baking though. One of my faves has got to be German Chocolate.

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