While some days of national observance serve a very worthy function, (such as the Great American Smokeout, observed the Thursday before Thanksgiving), some seem to serve no function at all, like June 7th (…how DOES one properly observe National VCR Day, nowadays?) To many, it seems like a lot of these ‘national days’ are just plain silly, or at least only have what I suppose would be called a ‘niche appeal’ (would you believe, there’s a ‘National Bunsen Burner Day’? Yup. March 3rd!)But if there’s one National Day that deserves FAR more attention, if not joyous celebration in the streets, it’d HAVE to be National Chocolate Cake Day! (Imagine La Tomatina, you’ve heard of this, yes? The yearly festival held in in the tiny town of Bunol, Spain, where as many as 50,000 people gather to celebrate by pelting each other with over 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes? No? Well, ok… now you have.) Anyway, imagine that, but getting pelted instead with Red Velvet cupcakes, then dousing your friends with a fudgy ganache and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Now THAT’s a holiday we could all get behind! Well, except that it’s terribly wasteful of perfectly good chocolate. So… yeah, never mind.
Anyway, would you believe that chocolate cake is a relatively new invention, generally believed to have originated in the late 1800s, after Doctor James Baker of Boston first figured out that cocoa beans could be ground into a flour-like consistency in a water-powered mill? (Before then, chocolate was reserved mainly for making beverages. The phrase ‘chocolate cake’ meant any cake eaten while drinking chocolate, just like the coffee-less concoction we call ‘coffee cake’ beautifully compliments a Sunday morning cappuccino today.)
There’s a versatility to chocolate cake that’s incomparable in the confectionary world. We celebrate with it, console ourselves with it, and mark the milestones of life with it.
It’s hard to imagine living in a world without chocolate cake, and thanks to Doctor James Baker, Bostonian-extraordinaire, we don’t have to.
This one’s for you, Doc!