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For these desserts and many more, A World of Cake offers recipes, variations, and entertaining historical and cultural facts. Cake family trees, "world tours" of cakes served for holiday celebrations, and a centuries-long cake timeline offer fresh perspectives on cake and the place of honor it holds on the worldwide dessert table. Lovingly baked everywhere for life's special occasions, cakes are enjoyed where families and friends gather. Adopt a tradition from another country for your next cake gathering.
If Epicurious.com ever decided to do a cake-version of "Around the World in 80 Dishes," Krystina Castella's A World of Cake (Storey) would be a good book to have on hand. Truly global in her coverage, Castella's book is a great resource for anyone with a sweet tooth and particularly, a penchant for cakes.
The introductory chapter includes a year's worth of cake-appropriate holidays (October 2 for Gandhi's birthday; late May/early June for Lazybones Day in the Netherlands). My favorite part of the introduction is where Castella discusses cake categories: Chiffons, doughnuts, honey cakes, rice cakes, and more all have their place in the larger cake family. With 150 cake recipes showcased by region, there are some that are definitely familiar: King Cake, Black Forest Cake, Panettone, Mochi. And then there are the unfamiliar, and that's when things get really exciting. Malpuas from India, Nutmeg Cake from Armenia, Bolognese Rice Cake from Italy, Simnel from Ireland—the list goes on and on. Options for fillings, icings, and other flavors are presented with each recipe and interesting factoids about the specific recipe help put the cake in context. So if cakes have a special place in your heart and on your palate, you'll appreciate Castella's passion and knowledge about cakes and its world wide appeal.
Recipes to try:
- M'hanncha (Snake Cake) from Morocco
- Pan de Muerto from Mexico
- Vasilopita from Greece
Chapter 2: North America. Sugar and Spice and Doughnuts Are Nice
Chapter 3: Latin America. Street Sweets and Festive Quinceanera Cakes
Chapter 4: Western and Central Europe. Pastry Artistry and Cafe Culture Get Married
Chapter 5: The British Isles. Comfort Cakes and High-Society Delights
Chapter 6: Scandinavia. The Romance of Berries and Liqueur, Topped with Cream
Chapter 7: Eastern Europe. Marzipan, Gingerbread, and Other Fairy-Tale Cakes
Chapter 8: The Mediterranean. Epic Confections from Balmy Climates and Ancient Cultures
Chapter 9: Africa. Deep-Fried Nibbles and Crunchy Bananas
Chapter 10: The Middle East. Ancient Treats and Sacred Sweets
Chapter 11: The Indian Subcontinent. Milk Sweets, Dumplings, and Candy Confections
Chapter 12: The Far East. Good-for-Your-Soul Sweets
Chapter 13: Southeast Asia. Welcome to the Spice Islands
Chapter 14: Australia and New Zealand. Cakes with Character
Posted August 13, 2013