Birthdays Around the World Call for Cake

Birthdays Around the World Call for Cake

Birthdays Around the World Call for Cake

Meet HBA educator award winning teacher, Elizabeth Hagan, Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), Carroll, Iowa. Elizabeth has her high school students researching, baking and photographing a topic she loves—the culture and types of birthday cakes baked in other countries. 

Elizabeth shares that she started baking as a child. “I loved sweets and baking gave me the opportunity to make what I loved. Early on I loved trying all of the sweet treats and just playing in the kitchen. Next I was playing “restaurant” and selling the treats to my siblings and parents. As I got older, I began trying new recipes for the county fair through 4-H, where I was able to learn a few more skills from my mom and trial and error.”

Like so many careers, they’re launched by experiences at home and in communities. “After going to college for FCS education, I fell in love with baking science and love learning why some baked goods turn out and others don’t go as planned. I love learning about the function of each ingredient and how every ingredient plays a role in recipe development. Now, birthday cake baking engages my students to achieve multiple learning objectives- sciences, literacy, history and math.”  

Elizabeth’s favorite birthday cake?  Funfetti!

“I’ve always loved a funfetti cake! It lives up to it’s name- fun. The colorful sprinkles brighten any day- especially a birthday! My first funfetti cakes were made using box mixes, but eventually discovered homemade funfetti recipes and haven’t looked back! I don’t know if I like how it tastes or looks better.”

Elizabeth’s cake baking tips: 

1. Use cake flour for an extra fluffy cake! It’s produced from soft wheat, has lower protein content, so creates less gluten development, giving your cake a fluffy texture.

2. Don’t be scared to use a lot of sprinkles to enhance appearance and make the cake extra “fun!” 

3. For even layers, allow the cake to cool completely overnight. THEN gently slice the cake with a chef’s knife, to remove any rounded edge or peaked sides. This will allow for even stacking and a smooth finish. 

5. Funfetti cakes are especially easy to decorate, because you can use so many colors to add a visual appeal to a white cake. 

Learn ALOT more about cake baking, access Elizabeth’s lesson resources and follow her Birthday Cake blog series

Access Celebrations Take Cake, a recorded ZOOM FORUM, with Elizabeth and ASR-Group Research Chef Eleonora Lahud, including live-linked Cake Baking Resources. 

Bearthday Cakes Around the World lesson resources Follow Elizabeth’s 3-part blog series The Sweet History of Birthday Cakes

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