Did you know that a language dies every two weeks? That is 26 languages a year!
This semester I am taking a course on Endangered Languages. For the class we are trying to raise awareness of world languages individually and on our campus. Conveniently, this Thursday is International Mother Language Day, and a perfect day to spread awareness and celebrate all the languages in the world!
I encourage everyone to check out this website, Endangered Languages, and click on the button that says “Start Exploring.” Every colored circle on this map is a language in danger of dying out—perhaps even this year. Some of the circles I clicked on had the status “Critically Endangered, Speakers: 1.” Can you imagine if there was literally nobody left on this earth besides you who spoke your mother tongue?
I love baking and I also love language, and today I got to combine those together! I used a leftover cake from the Strawberry Pocky Cake I made a few weeks ago, and gave it a Neapolitan flair with Chocolate Ganache Frosting and a Whipped Strawberry Filling. Then I decorated the outside with chocolate to celebrate and raise awareness for IMLD. Because it was a small cake (and some of my chocolate signs may or may not have broken….and were consequently eaten…) I only have two languages represented on this cake, though they are meaningful to me. The reason I chose English is because it is my Mother Language, or first language. I chose Chinese because that is my L2, or the second language I learned. (Yes, I did learn Spanish in middle school before I learned any Chinese, but I am not counting that because none of it stuck 😉 )
On to the recipe!
First, I made some chocolate decorations for the top of the cake. I melted some chocolate, then spread it on a wax-paper-covered cake pan. After chilling this chocolate sheet in the refrigerator, I piped white chocolate words on the chocolate. (The Chinese phrase 国际母语日快乐 and the Korean phrase 행복한 세계 모어의 날 both mean “Happy International Mother Language Day”) You may notice later that the Korean phrase did not make it onto the cake. It may have broken. It also may have been eaten.
Then I made the chocolate ganache. First, I heated cream with butter and sugar, then poured it over chocolate chips. This mixture then rested for about an hour until it reached a spreadable consistency.
While waiting for the ganache to firm up, I made the strawberry filling. This recipe calls for freeze dried strawberries, which is what drew me to it in the first place. I love unusual ingredients, especially ingredients I love independently of whatever I am baking. Have you ever eaten freeze dried strawberries? They are DELICIOUS!
Anyhow, after pulverizing the strawberries, they were added to whipped butter, which then was combined with sugar to create the filling.
Finally it is time to stack and frost the cake!
Ta-da! Truthfully, it is cuter in person, but you can get a pretty good idea of the cute decorations and colorful layers inside. Sorry for my camera skills
1 vanilla cake (mine was 6 inches), recipe of your choice
Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
Inspired by Serena Bakes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
• Combine the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan and heat over low until the sugar and butter are melted, and the mixture is hot. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
• Place the chocolate in a medium bowl, and pour the hot cream over the top. Let this sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk to combine.
• Let the ganache rest for about 1 hour, until it is a spreadable consistency. Be careful, because this mixture will harden completely.
Inspired by Cooking Classy
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
• Whip the butter in a stand mixer for about 6 minutes, or until fluffy and light colored.
• Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a bag and pulverize into a fine powder.
• Add the strawberry powder into the whipped butter and thoroughly combine.
• Add in the heavy cream, and then the sugar. Whip for another 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
To Assemble the Cake:
• Level the cake and split it into three layers horizontally.
• Brush each cake layer with simple syrup. Place one layer of cake on a cake board and frost with the strawberry filling. Place the next layer on top and repeat. Add the final layer, syrup side down, on top.
• When the chocolate ganache has reached a spreadable consistency, frost the top and sides of the cake.
• Decorate as desired and serve at room temperature
• Both the filling and the ganache harden, so it is best served the same day you make it, at room temperature.
• I LOVED using freeze dried strawberries! They added such a great flavor and color, and are completely natural! They were great in the filling and as decoration on the cake. I will definitely be adding those to my baking repertoire!
Rating: 5/5 stars
Thank you to everyone who took part in eating this cake!