St. Valentine’s Day (Heart-shape cakes)-A A +A
By Artie Sy
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
TOMORROW is St. Valentine’s Day and the whole world celebrates love and romance. Did you know that the greetings on St. Valentine’s Day surpass the greetings send on Christmas day? Well it does, because love and romance know no cultural or religious boundaries. That fact brings us to the origins of the St. Valentine’s Day the undisputed day of love, romance affection, and care and of sweethearts and lovers.
St. Valentine’s Day combines the Christian, Roman and Celtic customs and traditions. From the Christian comes the saint himself, St. Valentine, but did you know that there are two St. Valentines listed in the Catholic Church's list of saints and both concern and are linked with love and marriage and love and romance?
The 1st St. Valentine concerned a Christian who married Roman soldiers because he believed that marrying them to their wives made them better soldiers?
The 2nd St. Valentine concerned a Christian who was in a jail and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. He then wrote her a love letter and signed it “your Valentine who loves you forever.” From that signature has come the entire manner in which all Valentine cards are signed.
The Romans, on the other hand, during the month of February, on the ides (15 of the month) held a festival where a goat and a dog were sacrificed and all the names of the attending maidens were placed in a large urn. At the end of the festival, and the sacrificing rites, the bachelors drew from the urn a name and that name was his date for as long as they both wanted. From those encounters usually came love and marriage. Imagine that, think of blind dates.
The 3rd influence concerned the Druids, where the beginning of the spring festival also coincided with the middle of February, and in England the mating of bird and fowl and (maybe humans also) coincided with that date. So this date also had love and mating overtones.
So while many of us think it is a Christian festival the feast of St. Valentines, more of us believe it is the Catholic Church's deliberate superimposing the festival with the existing festivals of the region where the Church was trying to propagate Christianity. By giving the pagan and roman feasts a Christian overtone. In the end, the feast of St. Valentines mostly prevails as a lover’s day and a day for lovers. That brings us all to the Valentine’s Day of today. Christian, Roman and Celtic.
Now, we have a multi-layered multi-cultural mult-religious, and a multinational variety of tokens gifts and messages. We send on all these with messages of love and love and love on St. Valentine’s Day.
A most popular way of showing ones love and affection is sending candy and cake beside the letter or card which accompanies the gift. For a cake, a favorite shape is the heart. What nicer way is there of sending the love of your life a cake in shape of a heart? So let’s bake a cake in the shape of a heart... What? No heart shaped pan? Not to worry, a heart shaped cake can be made with a square pan and a round pan.
To begin do you want to start from the scratch or do you want to take the short way to a heart shaped cake? Let’s presume you are all busy and have only a few short hours to make a heart shaped cake.
You will need:
1 round cake, no icing
1 square cake, no icing
Make sure that the center of the round cake equals the side of the square cake. (You can buy plain cakes at the bakeries in Baguio)
1 box of icing sugar
1 small tin of evap
Touch of vanilla and or color
1 small pack of strawberries, evenly sized with leaves still on
3 small sugar flowers
Paper lace of about a yard, or enough to go around the edge of your heart cake, or if you can’t find paper lace, buy fine colored lace, of pink or red. 2 inches wide.
Begin with the square cake. Lay the cake on the serving plate. Divide the round cake into exactly 1/2 down the center and put half alongside one side and the other half alongside of the adjacent side of the square cake. Push with a small knife the lace carefully around the edge of the now heart shaped cake. Now your cake is edged with lace. Cover the lace with strips of wax paper so that the icing will not smear the lace when you ice your cake.
Et voila!!! You have a heart-shaped cake. Take the box of icing sugar pour it into a bowl, being sure to sift the sugar to remove all lumps. Pour in evap carefully, making sure and mix gently, and make sure the icing is not too watery. When the icing is of a consistency to hold its shape, flavor with a touch of vanilla and color if you like, but you can keep the icing white. Carefully spread on the cake, taking care not to smear the lace. When totally iced, remove the wax paper and border the now iced cake with small strawberries. You may divide the berries, or you may place them whole. Put the 3 flowers (stands for “I love you”) in the center of the cake and there you have it, a cake heart shaped for the love of your life.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 13, 2013.