Around the world in eight cakes

Around the world in eight cakes

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We take a trip around the world to check out some of the best national cakes on offer.

From Dundee Cake to the Danish pastry, there is a long tradition of cakes being named after the place they originated. While you’re on your travels, it’s always worth trying out the local treats and seeing if there are any ideas you can bring home to make you a star baker. Here are some options to make up a mouth-watering world tour.

New York Cheesecake

Cheesecake is thought to have originated from Greece in around 2,000 BC, the NY version we know now was created by Arnold Reubens in the 1900s. It isn’t the only US-based dessert to achieve acclaim – Mississippi Mud Pie, named after the river, and Key Lime Pie after the Florida Keys have also achieved worldwide popularity but locals claim they still make the best. 

Pavlova whips up war down under

The pavlova was created to celebrate the world tour ballerina Anna Pavlova in the 1920s. The meringue is at the centre of an ongoing feud between New Zealand and Australia over where it was first invented. The OED lists its origins as New Zealand, but given how tasty it is, it’s no surprise that the Australians are not ready to let it go as a national dish. 

Mexico’s Tres Leches cake is perfect for hot summer days

A perennial favourite, Tres Leches is a cold vanilla sponge soaked in a sauce made of three types of milk - sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk. In case that’s not indulgent enough, some versions substitute regular milk with heavy cream and if you’re visiting Mexico in the summer is the perfect way to cool down. 

Madeleines are France’s unforgettable treat

Originating from the Lorraine region in the North-East of France, these plump little sponge cakes are best known for appearing in the opening of Proust’s novel Swann’s Way. The taste reminds the character of the taste of his childhood and sparks a long reminiscence. If you’re looking to make memories as well as cakes, this might be the place to start.

Sweden serves up a cake fit for royalty

The Swedish Prinsesstårta, or Princess Cake, is comprised of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream which is topped with marzipan. The recipe first appeared in 1948 and got its name because the country’s princesses – Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid - were such fans of the treat. Any cake with a royal seal of approval has to be worth trying. 

Battenberg is a cake with English and German roots

Another cake with royal origins is the Battenberg cake, named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. It is named for the town of Battenberg in central Germany and also the aristocratic Mountbatten family in the UK. Comprised of light pink and yellow squares held together by jam and wrapped in marzipan, the cake remains popular both sides of the Channel. 

Venture into the black forest for Germany’s top cake

The schwarzwderkirschtorte, or black forest cake, was invented in Germany in 1915 by a pastry chef named Joseph Keller at the Café Ahrend. The traditional recipe calls for four layers of chocolate sponge, cherries and whipped cream and you can still visit the place, now called Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, where it was invented. 

Ring in the New Year with Japanese Mochi

This Japanese rice cake is made from short grain rice, which is pounded into paste and molded into the right desired shape. This light dessert is eaten year round, but it is a feature of the celebrations for the Japanese New Year and makes for a light treat to balance out some of the greater excesses of the celebration. 

Wherever you travel, remember to check out a local bakery and find out more about the history of your sweet treats. We can’t help you avoid a soggy bottom or a collapsing flan, but as exchange experts, moneycorp can help with your travel money so that you can just get on with planning your culinary tour.

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