Share a slice on International Cake Day
American critic and essayist Louis Menand once said, “We have much wisdom to gain by learning to understand other people’s cultures, and permitting ourselves to accept that there is more than one version of reality.”
One thing that unites humans all over the world is our love of food, and the joy and pride we get in sharing our cherished culinary traditions with others. Cooking traditional dishes is actually a way of preserving and honoring your culture, so that no matter where your travels take you or where you end up settling down, you can still make and enjoy the unique food that belongs to your own corner of the world.
Celebrated on July 20, International Cake Day is a celebration of friendship between people, countries and nations that uses a humble desert to help us learn more about each other and where we came from.
But just like Menand says, there’s more than one version of this sweet reality! Virtually every country has its own unique take on cake. For example there’s English fruitcake, Canadian prairie spice cake, American election cake, German Black Forest cake, Mawa cake from India, Tres Leches cake from Mexico, Italian tiramisu, South African malva pudding, Thai Mango Cake and Chinese egg cake, to name but a few!
The world can always benefit from more sweetness and friendship, so consider celebrating International Cake Day this year with one of these activities—or your own unique take on the day!
- Share your heritage. Bake a cake using a recipe from your own cultural background and share it with friends and neighbours. Print out copies of the recipe so your pals can enjoy it again anytime they want! Always be mindful of food allergies when offering homemade items to others.
- Host an international potluck tea party. Afternoon tea is a typically British tradition, but you can give it an international flair by inviting each of your guests to bring a sweet treat that represents their heritage. This is a great way to get to know your friends better, and to learn more about where they came from and why each dessert is unique to their country or culture. Make sure everyone brings containers along so each person can take home lots of leftovers!
- Teach. If you enjoy baking, invite a young friend or family member over and teach them how to make your favourite cake from scratch. Baking, like storytelling, is a way to ensure that our traditions are passed down from generation to generation.
- Donate a cake. It’s always best to call ahead first, but a women’s shelter, soup kitchen, maternity home or other similar organization might be very happy to receive a cake or two to share with residents who may not get homemade treats very often. If you’re able, bring along some canned goods and other shelf-stable items like peanut butter and cereal to donate too.
- Share your favourite recipes. If hosting tea parties and giving away cakes just isn’t your thing, you can still share your love of cake on July 20 by passing along cherished traditional family recipes. Email them to friends or share them on social media so others can understand a little bit more about where you came from—and what it tastes like!
International Cake Day isn’t a wildly known or recognized holiday, but does that really matter? Life is short; so take any chance you can get to make it sweet!
417403A CAN/US (06/19)