We are always up for a celebration of cake and fruit, and when you mix them, you get the lovely National Raspberry Cake Day on July 31! This day recognizes the refreshing dessert that is a summer favorite for many. Raspberries infuse this cake with a unique flavor, elevating it to another level entirely.
History of National Raspberry Cake Day
The raspberry grows in all temperate zones of the world and was once only a midsummer crop. However, as with everything, advances in technology have allowed this berry to be produced all year long. The freshest, juiciest berries are harvested from July to September, however, making July the perfect month to celebrate National Raspberry Cake Day.
The raspberry itself has been eaten since the early ages. Our ancestors from the Paleolithic age would pluck them off bushes to eat. It wasn’t until the 4th century B.C. that people began to cultivate raspberries. Their sweetness was a valued taste, and they were also used in everything from herbal teas to medicinal sachets. Records of this cultivation have been found in Rome and seeds were discovered at some Roman forts in Britain. This is why it is thought that Romans spread the cultivation of raspberries throughout Europe.
Medieval Europe used these wild berries in many ways; they added them to medicines and used them as pigments in paintings and in manuscripts. At that time, the only people who could afford these berries were the upper class. By the 17th century, however, these berries were grown all over British gardens, and the cultivation of raspberries gradually spread around Europe.
When European settlers traveled to America, they discovered that the Native Americans had already been eating this fruit for a long time. The cultivated version was introduced to America, and soon, commercial plants were being sold all over the country. By the time the world entered the 19th century, raspberries were being produced in many major states across America, and by 1880, approximately 2,000 acres of land was used to cultivate this berry.
These berries have also been linked to multiple myths. According to one of them, raspberries used to be white until a nymph named Ida pricked her finger while she was picking berries for a crying infant. Her blood dripped on them, turning them red. Another myth, this time from Germany, claims a raspberry twig was tied onto a ‘bewitched’ horse’s body to calm it down. Yet another myth attributes the fox’s red coat to eating too many raspberries.
At this point, there is no information on this particular day, its founder, or even how the raspberry cake came into existence. All we know is, we are very thankful to whoever came up with the idea, and we are raising a slice (of raspberry cake, of course) in their honor.
National Raspberry Cake Day timeline
Roman agriculturist, Palladius, writes about raspberry cultivation — one of the earliest records of this berry's cultivation.
Medieval Europe uses the raspberry for medicine and in paintings; only the rich can afford to eat them at this time.
After many British gardens grow berry bushes and plants, the cultivation of this fruit spreads around Europe.
William Price sells the first batch of cultivated raspberry plants in New York.
The world produces 822,493 tonnes of raspberries — Russia contributes to 21% of this total, followed by Mexico and Serbia.
National Raspberry Cake Day FAQs
Can I use frozen raspberries in a cake?
While it depends on the recipe, you can usually use both fresh and frozen raspberries. However, it is recommended not to thaw them first as the cooking time is long and will automatically thaw them out.
Are frozen raspberries good?
Frozen raspberries do not contain any additives or sugar, so they usually pack the same nutrients as fresh raspberries.
How long do Raspberries last?
Fresh raspberries last for a few hours and, if stored in the fridge, they last for around two to three days.
How To Celebrate National Raspberry Cake Day
Put your own spin on this dessert
If you enjoy raspberry cakes, perfect an easy raspberry cake recipe before giving it your own unique touch. Add some lemon curd, mix in a few other berries, use raspberries with bitters for an extra zing, or make a dark chocolate raspberry cake. Play the mad (kitchen) scientist and create a recipe that is completely you.
Organize a raspberry-themed meal
Get the family together for a berry-licious meal. Raspberry-flavored drinks can be paired with raspberry-glazed salmon, and the star of the evening can be the raspberry cake, of course. You can get one from your favorite baker or wow the family with your perfected original recipe!
Visit a raspberry festival
There are plenty of organizations and even local farms that host berry-themed events each year. Look out for the ones that celebrate the raspberry, and visit them. Make sure to try out all the raspberry creations on offer. If you are unable to attend this event, maybe try creating your own with the help of local farmers and community leaders.
5 Fun Facts About Raspberries
Many fruits in one
Raspberries are made of little droplets or units, and each can be considered a separate fruit.
They are colorful
Raspberries come in red, purple, gold, or black — the golden ones are the sweetest.
Don't blow a raspberry
The flapping noise you make with your lips is also called ‘blowing a raspberry’ — this term might have originated from the Cockney dialect of England.
The name might be French
An old French word ‘raspise,’ meaning 'sweet rose-colored wine,' seems to have inspired the raspberry's name.
Raspberries are crossed with many fruits
Raspberries and blackberries are crossed to create the loganberry — a cross between red raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries creates boysenberries.
Why We Love National Raspberry Cake Day
These berries have loads of nutrients
As is the case with many berries, raspberries, too, are chock-full of nutritional benefits. They contain loads of vitamin C, minerals like manganese, and fiber.
There are so many varieties
While the boysenberry and the nessberry (a cross between a dewberry, raspberry, and blackberry) might not technically be the same fruit, they are taken from the raspberry. Plus, whoever says no to tasting new berries?
A combination of our favorite things
Who doesn't love cake? And raspberries? On this day, we happily combine two of our favorite treats: cake and raspberries. This celebration gives us free rein to enjoy this mouthwatering dessert guilt-free.
National Raspberry Cake Day dates