Wednesday, 22 June 2016

What makes a cake, a cake : delicious treats masquerading as cakes.

Those spongey treats laid out on the cake counter beaconing you in certainly hit the spot, but what about the other baked goods on offer? Be it shop bought, or freshly baked, what makes for an actual cake, and how can you tell the difference between these tasty goods masquerading as cakes?

Firstly, you have to look at what makes a cake, a cake. When you take apart the basic elements; flour, sugar, butter and eggs, your not really left with much to go on, but these keys ingredients are used in so many baked goods, not just cakes, that it can at times be difficult to tell the difference.

Some baked goods have been in questioning for years, the poor humble Jaffa Cake has been the subject of debate for decades, but it was legally declared a cake after much debate as to whether it's content made it a biscuit, or a cake, so as the name suggests it is legally a cake. (1)

Then there's the delicious sugary coconut covered treat, the snowball, a mound of delicious fluff covered in chocolate and coconut, to most of us it's not really a cake. This, much like the Jaffa Cake, was also declared a cake, a subject that's been back and forth in many a ruling (2), but aside from the obvious lack of sponge, what exactly makes it a cake, aside from the much argued case that you need a cup of tea to wash it down with?

If we're going to start debating actual cakes, then the cheesecake deserves a mention, technically not actually a cake, but the cake tag has stuck to this tasty desert for many years.

It may not be a real cake, with it being comprised of cream cheese, biscuit base, and tasty extras, but we're still happy to keep associating it with cake, besides, it's always a tasty treat..

Then there's the Eccles cake, whilst it does contain similar elements of a cake; butter, and sugar, it's actually comprised of a flaky pastry, rather than a spongey base. More shaped patties, than actual cakes, but we traditionally retain the cake name with this baked treat.

We could debate baked treats masquerading as cakes for years, but for some the cake name simply brings about images of delicious baked treats, rather than cakes that have met a certain criteria to become an actual cake. Besides when faced with cupcakes and brownies, the debate could go on for years, so let's just agree to eat the delicious cake regardless of it's form, or ingredients, it's all delicious at the end of the day!