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Thread: European cakes

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    European cakes



    The EU's Institute of the Regions has published a new website called Cafe Europe. One of the pages has a list of the most representative kind of sweet for each EU country. I thought it was interesting to post this.

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    Well, I would have to disagree with the choice for the UK. Shortbread is Scottish. It doesn't represent England or Wales in any way. You can't choose just one sweet for the whole country anyway - they are very regional. There's cream teas in Devon and Cornwall, Bakewell pudding in Derbyshire and Eccles cakes from Manchester to name just a few. If forced to choose I would say cream tea is the best to represent the whole of England, as cream teas are available in tea shops all over England. A cream tea consists of scones with jam and cream and a cup of tea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The EU's Institute of the Regions has published a new website called Cafe Europe. One of the pages has a list of the most representative kind of sweet for each EU country. I thought it was interesting to post this.
    Umm I think it is not accurate to pick Madeleine as the cake of France. Each French province has its own cakes. The French pastries are too diverse to have a cake of France.

    Not to mention Madeleine is like a supermarket cake.

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    So, what would you both choose as the most representative cake for the UK and France ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So, what would you both choose as the most representative cake for the UK and France ?
    Cream tea for the UK. I'm not qualified to speak for France, but as an outsider the cake I most associate with France is pain au chocolat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    Cream tea for the UK.
    Is cream tea a kind of cake ?

    I'm not qualified to speak for France, but as an outsider the cake I most associate with France is pain au chocolat.
    That could be as true for Belgium (I'd say it's even more common than in some parts of France). Anyway, pain au chocolat is not a cake ! I wouldn't even consider tarts/pies as cakes.

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    Country: France



    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So, what would you both choose as the most representative cake for the UK and France ?
    I don't really know, the French have so many kinds of foods and desserts.

    But I notice everywhere in France in their pastry shops they always have French mousse cakes. How about that?




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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty

    Those are called Bavarois - literally "Bavarian", so it sounds a bit too German to be a symbol of France. What's more, they are again as common in Belgium as in France. It's quite hard to find French pastries and cakes that can be found all around France and that are not common in Belgium... However, rice tart, cougnou, cramique or some kind of waffles are certainly very Belgian (in fact more Walloon than Belgian, except for the waffles).

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    Waffles is the only sweet I know from Belgium - again, not really a cake though. Unless chocolate counts as a sweet of course! I like Belgian waffles with sliced banana and maple syrup. How do you guys eat them?

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    There are many kinds of waffles in Belgium, and they are eaten in very different ways. The most common ones are the "Liege Waffles" (gauffre de Liege), which are sold just hot from the "oven" (I don't know how to say "gauffrier" in English) in the street. These are the typical "Belgian waffles" sold in souvenir shops, waffle shops or supermarkets around the world.

    But the best waffles are the gauffre de Bruxelles, which are bigger, squarer, with a more regular shape, lighter and less sweet. They are typically eaten at a table on a plate with some combination of toppings (banana, hot chocolate, strawberries, syrup, ice cream...).

    In Wallonia, there are also galettes, which are regular rectangles too, but smaller and with a different paste. They can be eaten alone or with jam (usually for breakfast or tea time). I have never seen galettes outside Belgium or even in Belgian restaurant or in the street. That's mostly home made or bought in some supermarkets or bakeries in the countryside.

    There are many kinds of cakes in Belgium, but most of them are the same as in France (Bavarois, Charlotte, Vacherin, Mille-feuilles...) or more international ones (Tiramisu, chiffon cake, sponge cake, dozends of chocolate cakes...).

    Belgium is more famous for tarts (plum, apricot, cherry, apple, rice, sugar, cream...) and pastries (éclair, glacé, gozettes, pain au chocolat...) than cakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So, what would you both choose as the most representative cake for the UK and France ?
    Fruitcakes! Gawd knows we have enough

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Those are called Bavarois - literally "Bavarian", so it sounds a bit too German to be a symbol of France. What's more, they are again as common in Belgium as in France. It's quite hard to find French pastries and cakes that can be found all around France and that are not common in Belgium... However, rice tart, cougnou, cramique or some kind of waffles are certainly very Belgian (in fact more Walloon than Belgian, except for the waffles).
    Well like I said it's difficult to pick one because there are so many, I supposed there are lots of Bavarios here because Strasbourg is very close to Germany.

    I found a poster on some of the cakes of France but it's a bit small to see.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    Well like I said it's difficult to pick one because there are so many, I supposed there are lots of Bavarios here because Strasbourg is very close to Germany.
    No, there are common in all France and Belgium. In fact, maybe more than in Germany (not even sure it originated in Germany as even the Japanese call it by its French name).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    No, there are common in all France and Belgium. In fact, maybe more than in Germany (not even sure it originated in Germany as even the Japanese call it by its French name).
    Well I am not surprise that Belgium shares many cultures similarities with France because there is a side of Belgium that speaks French. My mother in law is from Belgium.

    I thought it has something to do with Germany because Bavaria is a state in Germany.

    What would you choose as the cake of France then? I will try to ask around since my husband is not so interested in this topic, and I am still learning about the EU cultures and issues. I will ask my mother in law for her opinion next time we go visit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty
    I thought it has something to do with Germany because Bavaria is a state in Germany.
    I just looked it up & Bavarois were probably introduced by French cooks of the Bavarian nobility (Wittelsbacher). Since the basis for Bavarois is Crème anglaise; I suppose it can be called neither French nor German, but international. It isn't a cake, anyway.

    In Germany, the situation is similar to France & other European countries. Every region has its specialties.

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    Yum yum, I love waffles!
    I agree with Tsuyoiko about the cream tea, but it isn't exactly a 'cake'. It's a scone with jam and cream (and tea, but I guess you could leave that out! =P).
    I always associate rich fruit cake as very 'English', something like Christmas cake, although that's probably common in northern European countries.
    Scones aren't especially Irish... in fact I would have thought they were a more reasonable choice to represent the whole of the UK, as they are found in different forms throughout the UK.

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    I found a brochure I took for last year’s Christmas in a famous pastry shop in Strasbourg called “Thierry Mulhaupt Patissier”. I found the cakes they made mostly during Christmas are usually in logs called “Les Buches” (I can’t type the French fonts in here so I type all the spelling in English font, excuse me).



    This picture is not from the brochure but one I found on the net, too lazy to scan.

    I also notice a lot of their cakes are based on Biscuit moelleux. For example one of their cakes it is written in the description: Biscuit moelleux au chocolat, creme brulee a la vanilla, mousse au chocolat amer. Peut s’accompagner d’un rhum ou d’un cognac. Se deguste tempere.

    Anyway I was watching the TV and there was a French chef talking about macaron, he said it’s very French.

    Waffles is the only sweet I know from Belgium - again, not really a cake though.
    It isn't a cake, anyway.
    I agree with Tsuyoiko about the cream tea, but it isn't exactly a 'cake'.
    I know macaron is not really a cake but then again in that website they choose waffle for Belgium and waffle is not a cake either, and for UK they choose shortcake, shortcake is like a biscuit from Scotland to me, it’s not really a cake as well.

    Macaron is originally from Italy but the first macarons were underived cookies, made from almond powder, sugar and egg whites. The macaron became a "double-decker" affair commencing at the start of the 20th century. The proprietor of the illustrious Laduree Pastry shop in Paris named Pierre Desfontaines thought of the idea of laying a layer of cream between two single macarons during a jaunt to Switzerland. Macarons in the configuration of a sandwich cookie with cream-filled centre are at present usually found in pastry shops throughout France, in many flavours from chocolate to vanilla to “epices” and so on. Nevertheless you can still find the avant-garde version in almond-flavoured pastries in food stores around town.



    My husband says there is not such thing called the cake of France, each province has its own cakes.

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    Buches ("logs" in English) and Macarons are also common in Belgium, btw.

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    In England we have the 'Christmas log' or 'Yule log' at Christmas, too! But I have no idea where it originated; maybe it came from the French buches.

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    @Kinsao that's the problem with cakes or pastries in Europe a lot of the products can be found in more than one country.

    Well, I have asked a native Frenchman, he doesn’t really know either but he agrees with me that he wouldn’t call Madeleine the cake of France. He did actually suggest macarons like I did but besides that he also suggested the Saint-Honore cake.


    It is a tralatitious French cake named after Saint Honore, the sponsor saint of pastry bakers. It is made up of a substructure of pate brisee and the next layer is made up of a band or twirl of cream puffs that are soused in a caramel covering antecedent to being placed on the substructure. This caramel covering "sticks" the puffs collectively. The heart of the band is then crammed with Saint-Honore cream--creme patissiere lightened with battered egg whites or whisked cream.



    Another cake he suggested is a standard French dessert recipe, Paris Brest.


    The inception of this dessert goes clear back to 1891, the year of the first Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race. Look upon to be the premier cycling competition held at all time, it initiated in Paris and the cyclists traced a path to the city of Brest on the Atlantic coast of France, then returned over again to Paris.

    Paris Brest is a circle moulded eclair to appear like a bicycle tyre, cramming it with praline cream and covering it with toasted almonds. It was an immense success and has been symbolizing for French bicycle races since.


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    Saint-Honore and Paris-Brest seem to be two very good choices to represent French cakes.

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    Guglhupf... I think Germany shares this one... at least in parts of the country... "Sachertorte" is probably better known, but usually associated with Vienna not Austria as a whole... Apfelstrudel is also well known, but not considered a cake... so Guglhupf might be the best choice ^^

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    Polish cheescake - according to the old reception

    This cake is very tasty. It can be done very quickly. It tastes best the next day, after the cold.


    * Dough:
    - 3 cups flour
    - 3 eggs
    - 1 / 3 cup sugar
    - 2 teaspoons baking powder
    - 250 g margarine, about 8.81 oz

    *Cheese mass
    - 1.5 kg cheese curd , about 52.91 oz
    - 2 vanilla pudding, about 80 g or 2.82oz
    - 1 vanilla sugar , about 16 g or 0.56 oz
    - 1.5 cups sugar
    - 5 eggs

    * Performance:
    Dough:
    Mix flour with baking powder. Add margarine and chop it with a knife. Add eggs, sugar and to form a dough. Spread baking tin with margarine. Pin out the dough and put on this baking tin.

    Cheese mass:
    Grind the cheese, break eggs and separate yolks from whites. Then add the yolks to the cheese and to pound mass. Add vanilla pudding, sugar, vanilla sugar and pound it. Then beat up the protein foam and gently mix with the cheese mass. This mass to impose on the cake. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for approximately 75 minutes.
    175 Celsius = 347 Fahrenhait

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