While the American version of Mother’s Day has become a rather commercialized holiday, history of the traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood have existed throughout the world for thousands of years. Here in the United States, the modern version of Mother’s Day started early in the 20th century with an initiative by Anna Maria Jarvis.
On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, Jarvis held a memorial service to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. She sent 500 white carnations for all who attended the service, marking the first official observance of Mother’s Day. Jarvis chose the white carnation for the symbolism, which she described as “ Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity, and broad-charity of mother love…. the carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts”
Unfortunately for Jarvis, the sheer economic driver of the floral and greeting card business overcame the sentimental message that she wished to convey. Dismayed with what the holiday had become, she later unsuccessfully attempted to have the holiday rescinded. She died in a sanitarium, her medical bills paid by the very industries that profited from her intent to celebrate motherhood.
Families today choose to commemorate their mothers, special aunts and others in many different ways. For me, handcrafted cards, potted pansies or marigolds, or special drawings to hang on the refrigerator have always expressed the true feelings of the day. One of my favorites, ‘How to be a Mom”, written by daughter Emily 25 years ago in second grade , still hangs on my office wall.
Cooking together in the kitchen is also a wonderful way for families to celebrate our mothers, who often are the primary providers of food and nourishment. Preparing French Acadian Strawberry Cream Cake is both a family-friendly activity and a delicious dessert for that special Mother’s Day meal.
The cake is a gluten-free, chocolate cake prepared with light buckwheat grown by Bouchard Family Farms of Aroostook County, Maine. Once cooled, the cake is filled with a simple whipped cream infused with strawberry jam. Then, equal parts of heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate are used to make a chocolate ganache to blanket the confection with chocolate. Sinful!
This year, treat all the special Mothers in your life to cake.
FRENCH ACADIAN STRAWBERRY CRÈME CAKE
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 ½ cup Acadian light buckwheat flour Bouchard Family Farms brand
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder Dutch processed preferred
- 1- teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1- cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup melted butter or oil
FOR THE FILLING:
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons strawberry jam
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped (may use good quality chocolate chips)
- 1- cup heavy cream
TO PREPARE THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 – 8 inch round cake pans
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Add the applesauce, eggs and melted butter or oil. Whisk or stir until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 - 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a rack. Chill or freeze the cake for easier slicing into layers.
TO PREPARE THE FILLING:
- In a chilled bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Then beat in the strawberry jam. Set aside.
TO PREPARE THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it gently starts to simmer. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 3 – 4 minutes to soften.
- With a small spatula, very slowly stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is very smooth. Set aside.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Using a very sharp, serrated knife, slice one of the 8-inch round cakes into 3 layers. Spread the strawberry cream filling between each layer.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, and spread it all over the top and the sides. Transfer the cake to a plate and refrigerate or freeze.
TO SERVE THE CAKE:
- Garnish with fresh strawberries and mint leaves. Serve at room temperature.