Classic cakes are surprisingly are rare to find today as there are such a variety of options available. However, when we were growing up, those cakes have always been the staple of any household, homemade or store-bought.
They’ve always been a part of our celebrations, birthday and otherwise. Many cultures, including India, have traditions of exchanging sweets, so it’s no surprise that cakes have been a big part of our childhood.
If you’re a 90’s baby, growing up in a modern city means that you’ve probably had your fair share of classic cakes.
However, for our Gen Z’s who have so many fancy and complex cake options available, the chances are that you haven’t experienced these simple yet classic cakes. So, you’re in for a ride!
Let’s get started and take a stroll down our memory lane while we talk about the cakes we’ve had growing up.
Black forest cake
Growing up as a 90’s baby, we know how limited our cake options used to be for a lot of us. Hence, black forest cake was ‘the birthday cake’ for some of us.
A cake covered in chocolate shavings, cherries, and cream was the dream of every child. Not only did it look good, but it was also the perfect cake for the people who didn’t want a whole chocolate cake.
Not only was it loved by everyone, but it was also our go-to cake for any birthday party. Simple, classic, and decorated with cherries, you know this was a crowd favourite.
Red velvet cake
We can’t talk about classic cakes without talking about one of the most beautiful ones, which are red velvet cakes. Red colouring, cream cheese frosting, and moist sponge cake make this a soft and gooey cake that just melted in your mouth.
This cake is easy on the eyes and also a great option for people who don’t like overly sweet cakes. The cream cheese’s tartness balances out the sweetness of the cake.
Besides being used on birthdays, it’s also a festive cake option during Christmas.
Fruit cakes originally come from Britain, where they’re used as tea time cakes, but then were adapted into many different cultures and became a hit with children.
They’re also known as ‘Tutti Frutti’ cakes in Indi. Tutti Frutti is just candied papaya and has no similarity to its European cousin. These small bits in bright green, red, and orange have been used to decorate children’s classic cakes throughout the country.
Some of the cakes had candy mixes in them, which was the best kind of mix for us as children. So, getting this cake would make our birthdays even more exciting!
In Indian culture, we have a wide variety of sweets mixed with Indian spices and flavours, so naturally, we even had a cake where we did the same thing.
Mawa is a milk-based product often used as an ingredient in cooking Indian sweets. They’re made from Mawa, cardamom, nuts(almonds, walnuts, and cashews) which turn into a cake that’s spongy, soft, and not overly sweet.
If you haven’t had the chance to try it, just go to any bakery, preferably Parsi and get yourself one, don’t miss out on this treat.
Butterscotch is one flavour that we’ve seen almost everywhere, be it sweets, ice cream, or cakes. The butterscotch cake consisted of caramel, butterscotch chips, and fresh whipped cream topped with cashews or walnuts.
If nostalgia was a flavour, butterscotch might be just it. Not only is this cake fluffy, but it was also considered a fancy cake as it had caramel in it. You can’t be a 90’s kid and not have had this cake.
I can say that chocolate cake has been one of the most loved classic cakes in all of our childhood. You would have eaten that gooey and special chocolate cake which was the most exciting part of your birthday celebration.
The only thing that would have made it better is if you had a mother or a grandma who made a homemade chocolate cake on your birthday. Made from butter, cocoa powder, and flour - this delicious treat is easy to make and yummy all the way. Of course, it also helps to bake this cake with or without eggs, and it’s still a delight.
Vanilla cake with sprinkles’ Confetti cakes’
When we were young, colourful things were so attractive in clothes, drawings, or toys. So naturally, that also applied to food, so vanilla cake with sprinkles or ‘confetti’ cake is a children’s favourite.
The colourful sprinkles made the cake look like it was filled with confetti, which is why many kids called it a ‘confetti’ cake.
It may be a vanilla cake, but it’s sweet, buttery, and the sprinkles make it crunchy. It’s a cake that was easy to make at home, and it was so exciting when you got to put the sprinkles on the cake!
Plum cake on Christmas
While growing up, other than the festival of Diwali, Christmas was yet another festival that was an exciting time. It was filled with chocolates, Christmas trees, Santa bringing gifts, and plum cake!
One of my favourite things about Christmas was watching my mom bake the cake on a pizza stone and the sweet smell of anticipation in the kitchen. It was made with plums, almonds, flour, eggs, buttermilk, and a whole lot of love.
Christmas was never complete without plum cake, hot chocolate, and a cosy sweater.
Baking a carrot cake was the perfect opportunity for moms to make us eat veggies without the fuss. It’s also the cake version of ‘Gajar ka halwa. It’s a pretty simple classic cake made with carrots, pineapple pieces, and cream cheese frosting.
Even as an adult, I’m baffled by the simplicity of this cake. It’s a plus that it has a vegetable in it, so you can even pass it off as a healthy treat on your cheat day.
Ice cream cake
Do I even need to explain why this cake is on this list? There’s nothing more that we as children loved more than ice cream and cake. The appeal is crazy when you combine these two into one.
With warm chocolate sponge cake and cool ice cream in the middle, it’s an ecstatic moment as a child. The best part is that you could store this cake and have it for a long period.
Best classic cakes to try (again) today
Here’s a summarised list of classic cakes that we believe is worth revisiting in today’s day and age.
- Black Forest cake
- Red Velvet cake
- Fruit cake
- Mawa cake
- Butterscotch cake
- Chocolate cake
- Vanilla cake with sprinkles’ Confetti cakes’
- Plum cake on Christmas
- Carrot cake
- Ice cream cake
This trip down the memory lane is sure to give you some cravings, so you can just order one of these cakes bask in their sweetness and nostalgia. So on some days when you feel a bit blue, feed your inner child some ice cream cake and you’ll surely be feeling better in no time.
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Have you tried traditional East Asian rice cakes before? Check out our Japanese rice cake home recipe!