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Delicious History: The Log Cake
The festive season is almost upon us; and what is Christmas without all the wonderful food and desserts ?
The log cake (also known as bûche de Noel in French - literally translated as Christmas Log) has its roots all the way back in the Iron Ages of Europe (1200 bc – 400 AD) even before the Medival era.
To celebrate the Winter Solstice at the end of December, families would get together and decorate logs with pinecones, holly and Ivy; in some families, they would also pour wine and salt on the logs. These logs, called Yule logs were then burnt and their ashes were believed to bring good luck and ward off evil (much like the colour red during Chinese New Year). This log was so important that rivalries would start up between families to see who had the biggest log.
Whilst history is vague as to the creation of the log cake, folklore has it that the creation of the log cake came about due to the Great Napoleon Bonaparte. He believed that the cold air entering the house through the chimneys caused the spread of diseases and issued a decree for the people of Paris to close the chimneys during winter. With the use of hearths being prohibited, the French were not able to burn the yule logs and subsequently re-invented this tradition by creating a cake in the image of the yule log. Voila ! the log cake was born. Others believe that as with the technological advancements that ensued, there was no more necessity for hearths and the bakers came up with this dessert to keep the tradition alive.
The traditional log cake is made with a thin genoise or sponge base which is filled with buttercream or jam which is then rolled to resemble a log (much like a swiss roll) and decorated with buttercream and icing sugar. The French, taking decorations to the extreme would often slice off one end of the cake and set it on top of the main cake to resemble a branch (the cut-off end) sticking out of the main branch (the remainder of the cake) and carefully draw in the grooves of the “bark”.
Feeling hungry after all that reading ? T Time offers 2 different log cake flavours - Red Velvet & Fresh Cream and Rich Chocolate; and as in the ancient times, the yule logs were not allowed to burn completely, bits of the logs were kept to start the next years log and put around the house for protection; so don’t eat all of the log cakes this year, save some for good luck
Click here for T Time's Log Cake Promotion!
The Controversies of Coffee
It dates back to the 13th century and had been known to energise a person after consuming it. Once ripe, the berries are picked, processed and dried to yield the seeds inside. The seeds are then roasted; transforming the colour, taste, smell and density. Brewing the ground up beans will result in a cup of aromatic dark beverage.
A Religious Controversy
Coffee was first consumed in Sufi monasteries in Yemen in the mid-15th century. It was regarded as a Muslim drink. By the next century, it had spread to the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and northern Africa. It was later exported to Italy, to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and the Americas. A beverage which was once banned in many countries for religious reasons was also regarded as a luxury to others. It only became widely accepted after Pope Clement VIII settled in its favour despite appeals to ban the drink.
Brewing it My Way
Soon coffee houses began to appear and quickly became popular. Some of these remain today such as Cafe Procope in Paris or the Royal Exchange Grand Cafe in London. As these establishments continue to flourish, people continue to enjoy coffee in its various forms - espresso, caffé, caffé latte, cappuccino, etc. The different methods of brewing coffee also drew a following. One can consume coffee brewed in a percolator, through a drip, French Press, a balancing siphon or even through a coffee sock!
Coffee Purist or The Adventurous
The idea for flavoured coffee may be a bane of many coffee purists but it has a strong following. These flavoured syrups are strong and concentrated, intent on engaging one's sense of smell and taste. The variety these days are endless with Hazelnut, Caramel, French Vanilla and Irish Cream making to the top of the list for many.
Controversial Coffee the Way You Love It
Coffee is best drunk with a meal, usually at breakfast although it can be consumed at any time of the day now. Sipping a cuppa over dessert or with a slice of cake can also conjure a very pleasant experience - a perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness. So whether you prefer your cup of Joe steaming hot, iced or flavoured, do remember you're consuming a beverage that has been around for centuries and not merely part of a passing food fad.
Stay tuned for the Coffee Tipple Nights @ T Time for the non alcoholics......
Coffee or Stout?
Red Velvet? The 'good to knows'......
It's just a red chocolate cake with cream cheese topping? Of course not! Here's some interesting stuff about the Red Velvet for you to impress your family and friends.
Why the name "Red Velvet"?
There are several stories; one of the more widely accepted versions indicates that the "Red Velvet" was the result of a highly successful marketing strategy during the Great Depression. As people were cutting down on expenditure including expenses on food colouring and extracts, the Adams Extract company came up with Adams Red Velvet Cake recipe. The brilliantly coloured cake was a hit! Suppose it helped that the recipe was given free at the stores. "Velvet" was taken from the description of the texture of the cake.
When was the "Red Velvet" revived?
It 'appeared' in a 1989 film - Steel Magnolias, which led to the resurgence of the Red Velvet cake. And nope, not the 21st century!
What are the key ingredients of a Red Velvet cake?
Red food colouring, cocoa powder, buttermilk and/or vinegar. Some insist that both, buttermilk and vinegar, are required but some make do with vinegar. These ingredients help bring out the red in the cocoa. Typically, it is covered in white frosting.
What are the other names for the Red Velvet cake?
Devil's Food cake, $100 (and up) Cake, and Waldorf Cake.
Is there an alternative to that huge dose of artificial colouring?
Colour from boiled beetroot.
Latest addition to the T Time cookie collection - Red Velvet Cookie.