Let Them Eat Cake

Posted on May 30, 2010 by Vivi in CULINARY ANTHROPOLOGY, RECIPES

Chocolate Mandarin Layer Cake

I asked my friend Emily for advice about what to get my boyfriend for his birthday. Birthday gifts can be stressful in new relationships. You don’t want a gift that expresses an inappropriate amount of sentimentality, and adding a cultural division to the equation leaves one with a tense and complicated situation. Obviously, I was stressin.

Mi amiga Emily has been in Argentina for a few years and also has a local boyfriend, so who better to ask for advice?

Vina: What should I get him? How do birthdays even work in this country?

Emily: ‘oh, on my boyfriend’s birthday, I make him a cake. Here it’s the duty of the girlfriend to provide the cake for the birthday party.”

(I was a little shocked because this was the first that I had heard about it!)

Emily: “Yeah, if you don’t bring one, your boyfriend won’t say anything of course, but the other guests will think you’re lazy or something.”

So later I confronted Lucas about my newly acquired information.

Vina: “A friend from work told me that it’s the girlfriends job to bring a cake to the birthday party.”

Lucas: “Si Vivi, ees normal here.”

Vina: “So were you expecting me to bring a cake to your party?’

Lucas: ‘Si.”

Vina: “Well were you going to tell me?!”

Lucas laughed….”no.”

So now that I knew I had to make a cake, I just had to decide what kind.Lucas suggested chocolate banana with dulce de leche, peaches and whipped cream. I couldn’t think of anything more disgusting, but I should have expected as much from the boy who puts four packets of sugar in his coffee.

So I decided on a banana chocolate chip three-layer cake with dulce de leche filling. I covered the outside with melted chocolate. Inspiration struck and I decorated the top with chocolate dipped mandarin orange slices and cinnamon. The end result was far more beautiful than expected and very well received at the birthday party. They even applauded for me! Maybe I have a future in baking…


  1. the argentinian king May 30, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    thanks for the great cake that u made for me… it was so good…. i was so happy to spend my birthday with u,, love u

  2. Is there anything you can’t do??!


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