Let Them Eat EU Cakes!

This year is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), which lead to the formation of the European Union. Over the weekend they had a big party in Berlin, where among other things they sampled two traditional cakes from all EU member countries. Here is the official list of cakes.

Over on European Cuisines they are planning to feature recipes for all the cakes - quite an ambitious undertaking. Here is their list of cakes with links to the recipes. So far they have the British Eccles Cakes, Banitsa with feta and Banitsa with pumpkin from Bulgaria, and the Cake That Conquered The World in the '70s-'80s, Schwarzwalder Torte aka Black Forest Gateau from Germany.

I do wonder how those official cakes were decided upon though. The definition of 'cake' seems a bit stretched - for instance the Bulgarian entries, both involving strudel, seem to be pastries, not cakes. And why Eccles cakes, which are also technically more like pastries, over so many other great British cakes that are really cakes? The other British entry is Hot Cross Buns - surely that's bread, not cake. What about a Dundee cake? A Victoria Sponge? A classic seed cake? If we're going the bun route, surely a teacake is more cake-like than a Hot Cross Bun? And Belgium is represented by the Doughnut of all things.

Here's a page from the British Food Trust that lists some Great British Cakes. Amusingly, they list the Black Forest Gateau there.

The Powers That Be, whoever they are, seem as confused as Marie Antoinette.

Switzerland is not on the list since it's not part of the EU (and won't be for the forseeable future, given the anti-EU stance of the party in power at the moment). I've been talking to some people about what official Swiss cakes would be, and the current concensus is on the Zuger Kirschtorte, a cherry torte that oozes with kirsch, and the Aargauer Rüeblitorte, a dense and moist carrot cake. I have to say for my tastes both are a tad heavy....my favorite Swiss cake is a plain, elegant Mandeltorte (almond cake).

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The cakes representing the Netherlands are not what I would pick either. One is an apricot pie, the other a large cake with lots of cream. I don't know anyone who has actually baked one of the 'cakes' by himself, both are usually shop bought. If there is something typically Dutch, I would choose appeltaart, apple pie - a pie a lot of people bake themselves, it is kind of a classic Dutch thing to do. It is also served in many cafes to accompany a cup of coffee (though not home baked). The other would be boterkoek, made up of flour, lots of butter and sugar. Strange how they got this list together, I really wonder who made it!

I have blogged about my very own Dutch apple pie recipe before, here is the link: http://www.xs4all.nl/~alicedj/2006/05/apple-pie.html. Happy baking!