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« Cake Byte: A Super Sweet Giveaway and Cake Poll from Cakespy! | Main | Cakespy's Bite of the Big Apple: A Final Roundup of the Ultimate Cakewalk »
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)

Love that rainbow layer cake! Love it!

MMM...Basque Cake.
Is that the Space Needle in the background?

I want some jordan almonds now. I haven't had those in a long time.

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterEmiline

I've never heard of Basque Cake before either but looking at the recipe it sure sounds great!

Cakes sure are give you that well being feeling! :D

Rosie x

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Oh I learn something new everytime I visit!! never heard of basque cake. And that rainbow cake made me smile instantly :-)

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterVegan_Noodle

Ok, the rainbow cake reminded us of a big oversized roll of lifesavers! Looks deliciously fun :)

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterTablebread

I have a "you make my day" award for you....

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Evans

The Gâteau Basque cake looks really good.

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

That rainbow cake looks so cool!

February 20 | Unregistered CommenterOiyi

Yum yum yum, j'adore le gâteau basque!
The recipe seems so simple yet delicious.

Also, kudos on getting the accents right in both 'gâteau' and in 'dragées'; you wouldn't believe the spelling mistakes I see in very renowned, well-respected publications that never seem to bother to check their foreign spelling....

February 21 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Laure

I am sooo excited!!! I am Basque and when I hear people know about us I get overjoyed!

February 21 | Unregistered CommenterAran Goyoaga

Lydia: Happy to help! What a perfect idea for his birthday. A showstopper, isn't it?

Dhanggit: I'd say it's about time!

Su-Lin: Yes, the texture is really something else entirely. It's unlike any other cake I have ever had.

Anamika: Thanks for visiting all the way from Botswana! You are so talented, I checked out your sugar craft!

Bethany: Yes, but it is so tasty when it's done...

Stickygooey: Yes, I think the Jordan Almonds / dragees are a bit of an acquired taste. However, when you get good ones that are pretty fresh...yum.

Chililady: Thank you!

Bittersweet: That's what we're hoping they do!!

Happy Cook: Glad you liked it! :-)

Obsessive Foodie: We don't have a car so we walk everywhere, that is our secret!

Josephine: Thanks, they are so pretty, aren't they?

Karen: No, thank YOU for sending it! So happy!

Karen: Thank you! We will try to answer soon...

Deborah: It's about time you tried it!

Asha: Yes, delicious, isn't it??

Rural Vegan: Yes! Cake over drugs. Cake as drugs? Hmm...

Veggiegirl: Thanks! Your blondies recently looked awesome.

Veron: Have you been there before? You will love it!

Buttabuns: Thanks! And I just want to say, once again, buttabuns, thank you for visiting. Can you tell I like your name, buttabuns? Just once more. Butta. Buns. he he he

Diana: Yes, don't cakes just have that magical power?

TW: Yes, it does kind of transport you doesn't it? I would love to add your gumdrop cake if it's ok, to this writeup!

Ello: I don't know, there ARE delicious printer papers, but few are as delicious as the Basque cake, methinks.

Cakelaw: You can't go wrong!

Amy: Cake is way better than losing your mind!

EB: You said it! As usual, spot on.

Teachin': Yeah, isn't it totally fun?

Emiline: Yes, it's the space needle! That's the view from le cakespy's kitchen.

Rosie: Yes, cakes are the best for making you happy! Thank you for your kind words.

Vegan Noodle: If you left smiling we're doing our job! :-)

Tablebread: Oh, what a great association! I like that!

Diana: You make our day too! Thanks!

Kevin: Oh, it is.

Mary-Laure: Thank you! We try!!! ;-)

Aran: Yay! So happy to recognize your peeps--and their fantastic cake!

February 21 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Love your site and your drawings are so fun.

I'm in the mood for a tasty treat now...

February 22 | Unregistered CommenterMe, Myself & I

Me, Myself and I: Thanks! I seriously love the red velvet cake pic on your site today.

February 22 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Bing ADORES Jordan Almonds and it was one of my valentine gifts to her.

Now, she can go get me some basque cake.

February 22 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Oh this sounds lovely! I can't see the jam layer though? And I've been wanting to try some Basque recipes too so this is perfect.

Ooo that rainbow cake looks delicious. And I'm sad I missed your giveaway! I would've loved the chance to win some of your beautiful artwork. :)

February 26 | Unregistered Commentereatme_delicious

Maria: exactly. Sounds fair to me!

Wandering: There's no jam on this one, points to you for noticing! ;-) We like to add to our liking. It's a good one!

Eat Me Delicious: Thank you for the kind words--and the cakes are wonderful! Damn you for posting those biscuits which we've been dreaming about all day though.

February 26 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Eating a dessert like cakes might make you happy… enjoy with friends.. Do not worry about problem but you should concern about your health as well. Don’t eat too much. It might make you fat.

January 31 | Unregistered CommenterProzac Withdrawal
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