Baking has existed for centuries and continuously adapted to new ideas and methods over time. Aside from being a source of nutrition, baked goods hold special significance for many cultures. Today, through globalization, we are able to come across many different types of cakes and pastries with textures and flavors from all over the world. A dream come true for those who cherish the art of baking or simply like to indulge in the tasty results!
The United States is a nation known for being shaped by diverse cultures. What makes American cakes and pastries especially interesting is that they’re a result of international traditions combined with local ideas and ingredients. The following recipes can be traced back to some traditional European and Asian baked goods – each with its own unique American twist.
A cake that has seriously made a name for itself is the iconic New York Cheesecake. How is it different from any other cheesecake? The secret lies in its creamy consistency. Unlike other cheesecakes, which are usually made with a combination of heavy cream and sour cream, the New York Cheesecake includes a generous amount of cream cheese, giving it a rich and dense consistency.
As legend has it, the New York cheesecake was invented by a restaurant owner named Arnold Reuben. Originally from Germany, Reuben is said to have invented the New York Cheesecake while experimenting with a cheese pie recipe. Today, many restaurants in New York have their own version of this namesake cheesecake – each claiming to be the best.
As simple as the ingredients of some cheesecake recipes may be, the baking instructions can be pretty intimidating. Not to mention the frustration of having a cracked surface and trying to avoid under- or over cooking the cake. Luckily, we have a no-bake recipe! The No-Bake U.S. Montmorency Tart Cherry Cheesecake makes it possible to whisk together a creamy cheesecake without the hassle of baking it just right. The finishing touches to this recipe are the vibrant, sweet-tart flavored U.S. Montmorency Tart Cherries. These juicy, red cherries pair nicely with the rich and creamy cheesecake and are easy to add to the recipe with U.S. Montmorency Tart Cherry Pie Filling.
Soft, fluffy dough meets cinnamon and sugar. These sticky and sweet pastries known as cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns are commonly eaten for breakfast or dessert in North America. Originally from Scandinavia, the Swedish ‘kanelbulle’, which translates to cinnamon bun, is likely to have been introduced to the United States by Scandinavian immigrants in the 17th or 18th century. The Swedish roll typically consists of flour, milk, yeast, sugar, and butter or margarine. Unlike today’s American cinnamon roll, the Swedish variant often consists of dough that is flavored with a hint of cardamom.
The classic American cinnamon roll is often topped with icing. However, different regions in the U.S. are known for their own versions of the sweet roll. Have you heard of the popular Philadelphia Sticky Buns? It’s said that German settlers around Philadelphia created their own spin on these baked goods, adding ingredients like brown sugar, honey, and raisins.
Taking inspiration from both the classic cinnamon roll recipe and ingredients from the Philadelphia Sticky Bun, these Raisin & Apple Cinnamon Rolls make for a tasty treat. The natural sweetness of California Raisins combined with cinnamon and juicy Washington Apples gives the roll an additional burst of flavors. Baked warm in the oven, these spiced pastries are a sensory delight!
A classic, all-time favorite is the moist and zesty Lemon Pound Cake. The original pound cake, which dates back to as early as the 1700s in northern Europe, did not earn its name because of the cake’s weight, but by the measurements of the ingredients. A traditional pound cake consists of one pound of each ingredient: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. The simplicity of the recipe is likely to have aided in the widespread popularity of the cake.
It is said that the pound cake arrived in the United States from England around the 18th century. The 1796 cookbook American Cookery, written by Amelia Simmons, contains the first known published recipe for an American pound cake. Over time, people experimented with new versions of the pound cake, adding ingredients like lemon zest or chocolate and serving the cake with a coating of icing or powdered sugar. The recipe is especially popular in the southern states, where some versions of the pound cake are considered a part of the traditional cuisine.
What makes the Lemon Pound Cake stand out amongst others is the refreshing and zesty incorporation of citrus. Lemon is used for both the cake batter and the glaze, which makes the pound cake feel lighter and extra moist. The Lemon Pound Cake made with gluten-free flour, such as yellow dry pea flour, offers a modern take on the lemony delight. Easy to follow and requiring very few ingredients, this recipe nicely mixes tradition with food of the future, pulses.
Cookies are always a great treat, but seem to get special attention around holidays like Christmas and Easter. The sugar cookie and classic chocolate chip are nothing new, but have you ever heard of crinkle cookies? Named after their crinkly and cracked appearance caused by the use of cold dough, these cookies are eye-catching and delicious!
The origin of crinkle cookies is unknown. Some say they are originally from the Philippines where they are typically made with purple yam and called Ube crinkles. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are said to have been invented by Helen Fredell in St. Paul, Minnesota in the early half of the 20th Century. Her recipe has become known as the blueprint of classic chocolate crinkle cookies, and many new versions have been invented since!
Aside from their appearance, crinkle cookies have a unique texture. The center of the cookies are soft and moist, similar to chocolate brownies, while the outside, which is covered in powdered sugar, provides a crispy crunch. Chocolate California Prune Crinkle Cookies are a delicious take on these little baked goods, reducing the sugar through the use of prune purée while keeping the sweetness and delightful textures. Made with California Prunes, these cookies are a great way to impress health conscious family and friends with their beautiful appearance and magnificent taste.
The world of baking is full of opportunities. American cakes and pastries offer a wide range of flavors and textures – some passed on by tradition and some stemming from regional products and innovations. A glance at the recipes above reveals how versatile baked goods can be and how easy it is to get creative with different ingredients. Whether you decide to bake one of these treats for an Easter picnic or a regular Wednesday afternoon, these yummy desserts may be the answer to satisfying your sweet tooth. Enjoy!