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Tuesday
Feb192008

Happy Cakes: Cakespy Offers Sweet Prozac Alternatives for Dull Winter Days

The chocolate boxes are empty; the red roses are wilting. Without a doubt, post-Valentine's Day can be a bummer time of year, with not much other than the chance green-dyed pastry and Irish Soda bread between now and Easter Candy. Happily for you, Cakespy has put together a list of some confectionery Prozac alternatives: happy desserts, perfect for the dark winter days still ahead.


Topping off the list is the Basque Cake (or, if you're feeling authentic and/or fancy, the Gâteau Basque). Really, the Basque cake is probably the embodiment of sunshine in a cake; not a bread, not a pie, not a cake, but some delightful amalgamation of all three, with all sorts of variations depending on where your recipe comes from geographically. As its name would imply, it hails from the Basque region, a magical area that straddles the border between Southern France and Spain, and is traditionally served in June when cherries are plentiful (there's even a cherry festival each June in the town of Itxassou). Just a taste of this cake, with a fruit complement, is like tasting the sun itself, transporting your tastebuds to a warmer climate, surrounded by trees bowed with the weight of their own fruit. Basque in the sun, indeed. Recipe listed below.

Still not happy? What can we say: when life's a drag, get dragées! San Francisco-based Miette Patisserie has just revamped their site and added an online store, so these Frenchie treats can be delivered right to your home. While dragées may also refer to the crunchy-silver ball bearing-esque cake toppings that have been banned in California, the type we're referring to here are what may also be known as Jordan Almonds; entire almonds coated with a sugary shell and finished in lovely pastel colors which the French have been serving up since the 13th century. The contrast of the tender almond with the crunchy, ever-so-slightly vanilla-y sugar coating never fails to bring a smile to our faces; you too can have this joy for just $5 plus shipping by visiting miettecakes.com.

 

Frown not upside down yet? While personally we've begun to suspect that you might be soulless, nonetheless we've got one more fail-safe happy idea, provided by Cake Gumshoe Karen (who also works at a very cool company, Mailbox Tees): an over-the-top Rainbow Layer Cake! While some may say (shun the non-believers) that simply adding food coloring doesn't change a cake's taste and character, we suggest that you hold off on making judgements til you taste this rainbow; we think you'll find that yes, magic does add a little something to the mix. Recipe listed here.


Gâteau Basque (Basque Cake)

Servings: 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 oz (12 Tbs) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup black cherry jam
  • 1/2 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs flour to prepare the mold
  • 1 yolk for decorating the cake
Directions:

 

Pre-heat the oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Using 1/2 Tb, butter a round 7" pan. Coat the pan with flour.
In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder together and then add eggs and soft butter.
Split the dough into 2 parts, roll one out and place it in the pan, rising up the side of the pan by 1/2”.
Pour the jam on top of the dough.
Roll the second part of the dough on the table (after sprinkling some flour on the table) to form a round crust the same size as the pan.
Put it on top of the jam and stick the edges with the bottom dough. It is important to keep the jam inside the crust.
Mix an egg yolk with a few drops of water. Paint it on top of the crust.
Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

Recipe thanks to France Monthly.

Want to learn more about all things Basque? Check out The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation by Mark Kurlansky. Planning a visit to la belle France? We suggest trying to fit in a visit to the Gâteau Basque Museum (it exists!); find out more at legateaubasque.com

 

 


 

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Reader Comments (43)

The rainbow layer cake is a hoot -- and a wonderful idea just in time for my grandson's birthday! Thanks.

oh thanks for this recipe!! hubby always boasts of this cake but i never had the chance to enjoy them :-) maybe its about time

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterDhanggit

Oooh, that gateau basque looks delicious! Might have to have a go - I'm quite curious as to its texture, since it's a dough that requires rolling out.

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterSu-Lin

Hi, the Gâteau Basque Cake looks so tempting to just take the bite. Thanks for posting the recipe, too. Greetings to you from Botswana !

I LOVE that cake! I have a difficult time with layers though, so it might just be a frustration to make! alas...

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

Very cute post! Those cakes look like they could cheer me up! The almonds are pretty too, but I still have some sitting on a dusty shelf from my wedding (20 years ago!). It's funny - we always give them out at weddings and no one ever eats them. Must be an Italian thing. ;)

wow, your blog is fantastic! i'll check it out very often!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterChiliLady

Well if those cheerful treats don't put a smile on your face, I don't know what would. :)

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterBitterSweet

Yumm the cake just poped up in my screen and i was wowed.
Really delicious.

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterHappy cook

LOVE your name.....I am a sweet fanatic....so is my husband. We exercise our butts off daily so we can eat hahahahaha. Thanks for sharing your blog!!! Great pictures.....i just take a quick snapshot before I devour my food (not very professional).

whoa, that pictures of the colourful almonds could make me starve do death.. I love them! very nice blog :O)

February 19 | Unregistered Commenter.::JoSePhIne::.

That rainbow layer cake is awesome! Love it. Thanks so much for including it!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Hi Jessie,
I just "tagged" you in a getting to know you game on my blog. Here's the link to my post:

http://testdrivekitchen.blogspot.com/2008/02/tag-im-it.html

I'm a HUGE fan of your blog. It's so much fun to read. And the artwork is just icing on the cake. (giggle)
Karen

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I had never heard of a basque cake before. Sounds delicious!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Haha!! Alternate to Prozac sounds to me! Black Cheery jam, slurp! Looks gorgeous and recipe is easy too!!:)

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterAsha

That basque cake has to be better than Prozac, just look at it!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

gorgeous sweets, as always!!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

I am curious about Gateau Basque...it does sound delicious. And Miette....gorgeous miette...I shall make it my first stop in SF when I go there this march.

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterVeron

I know there are some great things going on in this post but I can't be bothered to read about them. I only have eyes for that FANTASTIC rainbow cake!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterButta Buns

wonderful post and so true...although I have enough chocolate in the house just in case...lol

that rainbow cake looks so neat ...I will have to try that at a party this summer...yumm!

I just keep drawing sweets and treats for my "Yummy Sketches of the Day" and they seem to make me smile and get rid of any winter blues ....

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Evans

Not only have you brightened my day, but now I want to make a trip to France! I will have to make that Basque Cake!

Oh I had basque cake once and I nearly died a sweet scrumptuous death of happiness! It was so amazing! But can I actually do it? Me doubts I can! I will print out your picture and eat it instead and pretend it was the real thing!

February 19 | Unregistered CommenterEllo

I've never heard of the Basque Cake before, but it sure looks good - how can you go wrong with a 3-in-1 hybrid?

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

Thank you, hun! The kids are out of school, it's raining again & these little treats will hit the spot! If I get my act together, I'll post a picture - either the cake or me losing my mind.

xoxox Amy

February 20 | Unregistered Commenterfamiliabencomo

GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE!!!

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterEB
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