Why The Mimosa Cake Is Used To Celebrate Women's Rights

There are several desserts synonymous with specific holidays. Fruitcake is often enjoyed around the Christmas holidays, while babka is traditionally eaten for Hanukkah. In Italy, mimosa cake is had in celebration of women's rights. 

International Women's Day is the day we observe women's rights and promote equality, according to the organization's website. On March 8, 1857 in New York City, women marched in protest of unfair working conditions, long work days, and unequal workplace rights, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Later, in 1908, women marched again to fight for better working conditions as well as the right to vote. Two years later, the day was officially observed in the U.S., and a decade after this, the suffrage of women was ratified. In Italy, the holiday was first celebrated in 1946, when activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei offered mimosa flowers to their fellow women in a show of sisterhood and support. The mimosa flower became a symbol of the holiday, and later, so would the cake that mimicked the flower's appearance.

The cake bears a resemblance to the flower

International Women's Day is called Festa della Donna in Italy and the mimosa blossom flower is traditionally presented to mothers, wives, daughters, and friends as an observance of women's achievements throughout history (via Eataly). The flower was reportedly chosen because (like women) while they may present with a delicate appearance, they have the ability to grow and thrive in harsh conditions (via Experience Bella Vita).

The mimosa cake gets its name from its resemblance to the flowers, per Fine Dining Lovers, thanks to its crumbly, yellow topping. It was invented by pastry chef Adelmo Renzi in 1962, when he entered it into a pastry contest in San Remo. The traditional cake is made from custard and whipped cream, then covered in soft, spongy squares to create the crumbly-looking top. This sweet treat is now closely associated with the holiday and its sales as well as the sale of mimosa flowers paint the country yellow around this day.