Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A little bit about Indonesian Cuisine

     Cakes from Euforia Confections are created from Indonesian family recipes.  Our Thousand Layer Cakes and Triple Delight Cakes are traditionally used to celebrate important events and holidays in Indonesia and have been enjoyed by generations of families in Indonesia.  Part of what makes food so awesome is knowing the tradition behind it, the history of it, and how it has evolved over time, so today's post is going to be a bit of a history lesson.  Don't worry, you won't be quizzed.
     Because Indonesia is located on what were once popular trade routes connecting the Middle East to the Far East, several of Indonesia's 17,000 islands became known as the Spice Islands.  Trade with other cultures started with China in approximately the seventh century.  That is how spices such as cardamom, cumin, and caraway became widely used in addition to the introduction of tea, soybeans, noodles and nasi goreng (fried rice) in Indonesian cuisine.  Nasi goreng is considered a national dish of Indonesia to this day.  Heavy traffic from traders brought new foods and cooking techniques from around the world to Indonesian culture.  Starting in the 1500s European nations started fighting for control of the Spice Islands, and by the 1600s the Dutch had set up their empire in Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) and gained control of the trade routes.  To remind themselves of home, the Dutch brought cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, and corn, among other items.  Some of the native upperclass and nobles were introduced to the Dutch cuisine, which led to a fusion of Indonesian and Dutch flavors and methods.  Many of the cakes and cookies popular today can trace back to the Dutch colonial era (specifically the Spekkoek and Spiku - or Euforia's Thousand Layer and Triple Delight cakes respectively).
     Due to the time and work involved to create the Spekkoek (or Lapis Legit as it is also referred) and Spiku (or Lapis Surabaya meaning  'layer cake' ), they are typically only enjoyed for celebrations in Indonesia.  Layered cakes are very popular for Indonesian weddings as they symbolize the couple climbing a ladder to success.   For this reason, many couples will slice the cake from the bottom and work their way up.  Other occasions to enjoy these cakes include birthdays,  New Year, and Eid al-Fitr.
     Kartika (Euforia's founder) grew up baking these cakes with her mother using the family recipes passed down while growing up in Indonesia, and she wants to share them.  We think every day has a reason to celebrate which is why you can get these delicious cakes at any time at Euforia Confections.