In Italy bright, yellow mimosa is the symbol of Festa della Donna, International Women’s Day, March 8th, a day that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Italian men buy bouquets of mimosa to give to the special women in their lives to show their support and appreciation for all they do.
Mimosa became the traditional flower for this early March celebration in 1946, to mark the first occasion of the holiday after the end of World War II. It was chosen because of its bright color and fragrant scent and because its blooms are a promise of spring. The tiny yellow flowers with fern-like leaves are bunched together in bright fluffy pompons and are the inspiration for a delicious Italian dessert known as torta mimosa .
This cake is gorgeous but somewhat difficult to make and involves several steps depending on the recipe. Most begin with making an Italian sponge, pastry cream and a syrup. The results are breathtakingly delicious but time-consuming. The individual mimosa flowers are created by dicing a part of the sponge in small pieces and placing them on top of the cake to simulate the look of a bouquet of mimosa. The closest I’ll probably get to this cake on March 8th is on the web, eating a piece vicariously unless I can find a male friend who likes me enough to go through all the trouble of making it. On second thought I’d be just as happy to get a sprig of mimosa.
The recipe below is from Giallo Zafferano, a well-known online site for Italian cooking. The recipes are in Italian however this one has been translated into English.