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Cake recipes with tradition

In many parts of Europe, including Switzerland, it is traditional to invite people for coffee and cake in the afternoon. Some people also have a piece of cake before midday on Sunday for brunch, baked according to an old cake recipe handed down from generation to generation. In any case, cake is an essential part of any birthday celebration. Then, the cake is very often baked by the host him- or herself as a treat for the birthday boy or girl.

The specialities differ from one region to another. Although the Bündner nut tart and its cake recipe are famous all over the world, it is nevertheless a typical pastry originating in Switzerland. Everybody is familiar with the Sacher torte: a Viennese classic. According to tradition, the recipe for the cake was first developed in 1832 by a sixteen-year-old baker apprentice and, of all places, at the palace kitchen of Prince Metternich. There are clear references to stollen and its recipes that date back even further. The first written documentary reference to the Dresden stollen, which differs significantly as regards taste from today’s Christmas stollen, dates from 1474.

Preparing for cake baking Preparing for cake baking
Even the young help out Even the young help out
Preparing the dough Preparing the dough

Honey was introduced very early on into bakeries. The ancient Egyptians used honey in their bakery products and not without reason. It was believed that the golden-yellow, viscous substance possessed magical powers. This is why it was not only relished but also offered to the gods to ensure they were well-disposed. Similarly, honey was found amongst burial objects. Today, honey is still very popular in Christmas bakery.

Cake recipe for natural sweetness

The popular fruitcake has a long tradition in Switzerland. In addition to honey, fruit was also regarded as a source of sweetness. Now as before, apples, for example, continue to be processed into delicious fruitcakes. Here in Europe, each country has its own favourite version. Some cake recipes have already survived over several centuries and are passed on from generation to generation. Apples are also served up in the form of strudel. The roots of strudel probably lie in Hungary. It is made by wrapping a thin layer of dough around the corresponding filling. Cheesecake is found in many countries, likewise either savoury or sweet.

Germans prefer the sweet version and actually expect a quark cheesecake baked on  shortcrust pastry whenever they order a piece of cheesecake. If cheesecake is ordered in Switzerland, it may also be served in a savoury version with onions, Emmental and other kinds of cheese. There are other recipe recommendations with nuts or fruit that are just waiting to be tried.

The gugelhupf has been widespread in Switzerland since the seventeenth century. Its name is explained by its shape, which has a spherical appearance. The well-known and very tasty Rüebli torte (carrot cake) is partially baked in this shape. The Rüebli torte tastes just as good if it is served up in the form of a tart.

Store cakes in a fresh place

The question remains regarding storage, so as to preserve bakery products for as long as possible. This varies considerably according to the type of baked goods. We know from Christmas biscuits that biscuits can be stored very well in a tin can that, ideally, should close hermetically. In this way, the biscuits remain crispy for a long time. In contrast, honey cake or fruit bread should be stored at a temperature of around 17ºC Celsius in a tin.

However, just as gingerbread, cakes taste best when they are fresh. When it comes to storage, the recipe, cake and processing method may all be of importance. In the case of a pound cake, they are best stored under a covering hood or wrapped in aluminium foil. In contrast, puff pastry should ideally be eaten right away or may be briefly re-baked the next day. However, this is only possible if it is not glazed. The same applies to yeast dough. The refrigerator is not a good place to store cakes.

Dough quickly goes stale in the refrigerator. Though if you want to store a piece of cream or fruit cake, then the right choice is the fridge. However, it should not be kept for more than two days. Freezing is not a problem either for cakes or tarts, this is also what the recipes say. If you thaw a cake or a tart, it should then be consumed and not frozen for a second time. Pound cakes keep for up to six months when frozen, all other cakes made according to recipes should be consumed within three months.