Sweet as . . . the best way to cheer up

SLICE OF LIFE: Auckland cake shop owner Karla Goodwin says cake is a mood lifter.
SLICE OF LIFE: Auckland cake shop owner Karla Goodwin says cake is a mood lifter.

After a bad break-up, a stressful day at work or a craving for something naughty, sweet-toothed Kiwis turn to cake to make themselves feel better.

A new survey carried out by The Coffee Club found cake was New Zealanders' favourite comfort food, ahead of the classics such as pies or fish'n'chips.

Out of 300 respondents, 35 per cent said cake was their favourite comfort food, with chocolate and carrot cake the most popular.

Bluebells Cakery owner Karla Goodwin said cake had a "nostalgic quality" that made it an appealing comfort food or pick-me-up.

"It's a small treat that makes you feel good for that hour or so that you're enjoying it.

"You don't tend to go and eat an apple when you've had problems with your boyfriend."

The 34-year-old, who opened her shop in Hillsborough, Auckland two years ago, said she had a sweet tooth and craved sugary treats.

Goodwin said chocolate was most popular with men and children, while women went for carrot or lemon.

While cake might sound like a more feminine form of comfort food, it was not unusual for men who worked locally or contractors in hi-vis vests to come in and buy a box of cupcakes for themselves or their families, Goodwin said.

The survey found pasta, especially lasagne and spaghetti bolognese, were also popular forms of comfort food, with 11 per cent of the vote.

Meanwhile, 8 per cent of respondents said they preferred ice-cream.

Bacon and eggs, hot rice pudding, roast dinner and burgers also featured as Kiwi favourites but cake was head and shoulders above the rest.

Kiwis said the comfort food they associated most with New Zealand was fish and chips.

A quarter of respondents identified it as the comfort food they most associated with New Zealand, followed by cake (20 per cent) and pies (12 per cent).

Roast lamb, chocolate fish, pavlova and pizza also gave Kiwis a sense of place.

But regionally, the responses were quite different.

Every respondent from Southland and Otago said the Southland cheese roll was their favourite comfort food.

Most Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury respondents picked fish and chips.

One Wellingtonian named crayfish ravioli as their go-to comfort food.

Residents of Hawke's Bay and Manawatu seemed to have a sweet tooth and offered a variety of sweet desserts, predominantly cakes and muffins.

And the over-riding theme from Marlborough was definitely wine.

Sunday Star Times