Our home and native land is celebrating a birthday! Isla says: We need to bake a cake. Of course we do. I should have thought of that myself!
First, I thought about making a Victoria sponge cake, named after an old by-gone queen. But it doesn’t make the grade as a food suitable for posting here, where we like to feature healthy eating for kids of all ages… Darn!
Then I made a wonderful discovery. Canada’s queen (Queen Elizabeth, of course, who is also, not so coincidentally, Queen of England) came up with a perfectly delicious cake around the time of the last world war that should have done very nicely. I made a couple of adjustments to the sugar and fat components (see above comment pertaining to healthy eating ), and away we went! Sadly, The Queen mustn’t know how to bake very well… My cake turned out flat as a pancake. Or perhaps it was my adjustments???
Whatever, I had two options: make another cake and stack them, as I explained in my directions, below. Or ice the single layer I had already and call it a Canada Day pizza. Regardless, I’ve adjusted the technique a little, which you will see reflected in my instructions, in an attempt to get the cake to rise a bit more successfully. If you try it, let me know how it comes out?
I’ve updated the icing, too, using goat’s cheese and low-fat cream cheese, based on an idea I found on WordPress recently. Then I smothered the whole thing in raspberries, long-known as a super food, and super good too. This buys nicely into the pizza idea.
Then Isla had the best suggestion ever: let’s make it a flag cake! So the pizza became a very respectable looking flag, and the end result was fit for a queen… Or for a country’s birthday party.
Have fun on Canada’s birthday and dig in to the best healthiest birthday cake ever!
Vinny’s Jubilation Cake, with a polite curtsy to Queen Elizabeth
• 6 oz (170 g) dates, chopped and with any stones removed
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup (240 ml) water
• 1/3 cup (100 g) honey
• 2.7 oz (75 g) butter, softened (about 1/2 cup)
• 1/4 cup (50 grams) canola or olive oil
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
• 1 and 3/4 cup (190 g) plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/3 teaspoon salt
• 150 g chopped pecans (optional)
5 oz chevre (goat cheese), at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup, in honor of Canada Day (or icing sugar if you want a pure white background for your flag)
1 pint fresh raspberries or any red berry in season
1/3 cup raspberry jam (if making the layer cake)
1/3 cup whipped cream (if making the layer cake)
1 tablespoon raspberry jam (to paint the maple leaf)
How to mix it all up
1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) prepare two 8×12″ pans by spraying them with oil and lining them with parchment paper. You only need one pan for the pizza flag.
3) Combine in a small pot the dates and hot water. Bring to a boil and allow dates to bubble for a few minutes, stirring until the dates become sticky, like a thick jam. Add the baking powder, mix slightly, and stand back! It makes a good show.
4) In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and honey. Add the beaten egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.
5) Whiz the flour, the second amount of baking powder and salt in a food processor for 30 seconds. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Pour in date mixture, and mix all together gently.
6) Pour batter into one of the pans. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let stand.
7) For the layer cake, make another batch of cake dough and bake a second cake in the second pan. You can freeze the cakes at this point wrapped in tin foil. Thaw and frost them on the big day, as follows.
1) Cream all icing ingredients together in a medium bowl.
2) For the layer cake, spread 1/4 cup raspberry jam over the first layer. Then spread 1/3 cup whipped cream over the jam. Top with the second layer.
3) Spread the cheesy icing smoothly over the top of the cake and along the sides.
4) Make a cutout of a maple leaf. I reduced this image to half size.
5) Dilute 1 tablespoon raspberry jam with a little warm water or lemon juice until it is spreadable. Use the cutout to paint a maple leaf in the centre of the cake with jam, then remove the cutout. Make a row of raspberries on each end of the cake. Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day, Everybody! And no, this isn’t Vinny!