I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published January 15th 2013
When Marie Antoinette, the ill-fated Queen consort of Louis XVI, famously said 'Let them eat cake!", just what kind of cake was she talking about? A light, fluffy sponge, a moist, dark chocolate cake or plain butter cupcakes with pink icing and sprinkles? I suppose we'll never know, but it's probably safe to bet that she wasn't imagining some of the stranger cake types and flavours that you can currently find floating around the blogosphere or even at a cake store near you.
While there is now a school of thought that questions whether the unlucky Queen ever really uttered those words, it is certain that cakes were very popular with the aristocracy in her time and remain popular around the world today. From fairy cakes to fruit cake, Black Forest to butter cake, and cupcakes to croquembouche, cakes have been a large part of the food life and celebratory occasions of cultures around the world for many centuries. You can even find a reference to birthday cakes by the Latin poet Ovid in 8 AD.
In searching for a cake recipe on the internet recently I stumbled across some exceedingly strange concoctions that either piqued my culinary interest or had my jaw dropping in disbelief. There were cakes made with peanut butter, mayonnaise, cola, and tofu - not all together, I can say with some relief. There were any number of interesting confections made with beer, pomegranate cake sounded interesting, and I was intrigued by vanilla cake infused with green tea and honey. Gin and tonic cupcakes sounded edible, and even maple french toast and bacon didn't sound too nauseating. But what about wheatgrass cake, or chocolate covered potato chip cupcakes? And I positively draw the line at buffalo chicken cupcakes or salt pork cake, apparently once included in a cook book written by the infamous Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. Who would have thought it?
I think I've now exhausted my supply of interesting, different, or just plain sickening cake flavours. What about you? What's the weirdest cake flavour you've come across. Don't be shy, our Weekend Notes readers would love to know - the more disgusting the better, for the purposes of creative culinary debate. So far my vote goes to salt pork cake that's made with pureed salt pork and molasses, among other things. But I'm prepared to be convinced.
I've seen a cooking programme that did beetroot cake, and there are recipes for potato cake. I have also experimented at making a marmite cake (it was actually really nice). Ill put it up on Recipe Yum at some point.
Marie Antoinette was talking about 'brioche', a cake-like bread used as an alternative. Oh and her breasts were NOT the models for the old champagne glasses, despite it being an attractive idea. Very nice article.