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Lebanese (?) cake

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I have been asked to try to make a cake that the person thinks is probably Lebanese. It is a yellow cake with almonds in it, a buttercream and fruit filling and covered with buttercream. The pronunciation sounded like Mah-jeoung. Does anyone here have any idea what this is or have a recipe or picture. I understand it may not be Lebanese but might be some other Mediterranean countries cake.

She said I could make anything similar, but it could not look American, it must look Mediterranean. Any help would be appreciated.

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I'm scratching my head here. A yellow cake with almonds, buttercream frosting & fruit filling? Doesn't sound very Lebanese to me! Not Eastern Mediterranean, either. More likely French or Italian....

As for the cake looking "Mediterranean," & not "American"--maybe ask your client what he/she means by that. More details from your client about the flavor profile, texture, and appearance of the cake might help you out, too.

Meanwhile, here is a Mediterranean cake made with olive oil (page 196):


And another olive oil cake made with almonds:


Some fruit & whipped cream on the side? That wouldn't look "American."

I haven't made either of these recipes myself. To be honest, given the choice between eating an olive oil cake and a traditional butter cake, I'll take the butter cake every time. :wink:

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I'm stumped as well. Cakes are just not traditional Middle Eastern fare.

However, I will say that there are plenty of bakeries in the Middle East, and they make and sell Western-style cakes that are very popular.

Having said that, I honestly have no idea why they're so popular. They tend to be, at best, barely edible. ;)

The layers are made with a genoise (chocolate or white are the standard varieties). Filling is typically some sort of buttercream -- again, white or chocolate are the standards. To the credit of these bakers, it's a good buttercream -- very light and fluffy consistency, not too sweet, and not at all grainy. I wonder if it might actually be combined with whipped cream. Sometimes there is a fruit filling between the layers, but more often than not, the cake is topped with the fruit filling.

This doesn't sound too bad, except for a couple flaws in execution. Typically, cakes based on genoise are soaked in a syrup that provides moisture without making the cake soggy. Genoise is quite dry if it's not soaked. Of the cakes I've had, some are not soaked at all (which seems to be the norm in Amman) and very, very dry, while others are soaked in runny liquids (usually soda/cola or maraschino cherry juice) and end up very soggy.

But then again, thanks to the French influence on Lebanon, I wouldn't be surprised that their French pastries -- including cakes -- would be quite good. :) Unfortunately, I have no idea what kind of cake it actually is. The word you described seems to come from the same root as "dough," so depending on regional dialect, that might have been a generic term for "cake."

Still, given that French influence, my guess is that the cake was based on an almond genoise, properly soaked (perhaps with an apricot syrup?), filled with fruit and buttercream, and iced with that buttercream. Sorry for the vague description, but look to some French cake recipes for direction.

Good luck!

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I phoned my friend of many years who was born and raised in Lebanon and grew up speaking French as well as Lebanese and English.

She said that other than some regional celebrations, the "traditional" cakes served at most parties, weddings, and so on, were French in origin.

She said they could be any shape or size, were often genoise layers filled with a very rich buttercream or even a mousse and covered with rolled fondant.

The traditional decoration for certain occasions would be almonds coated with gold foil, candied fruits and flowers.

She orders cakes from this place to send to her family members still living in Lebanon. These are all very modern designs but are popular.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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