These sweet treats will bring the world into your home

These sweet treats will bring the world into your home

Travel inspiration


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The world is taken over by cake

Those of us with a sweet tooth might wish everything would be made out of cake — a roll of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or even our cat we thought impossible to love any more. Sometimes in life, nothing is a piece of cake.

You’re in luck because everything here is cake. Even though bloody at times, definitely delicious.

Lamingtons, Australia


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Australia’s favorite, this sponge cake covered in melted chocolate and coconut shreds originated in New Zealand under the name Wellington. Popular variations sometimes ask for strawberry sauce, jam filling, or even whipped cream.

According to a popular belief, its origins date back to the turn of the twentieth century. A maidservant of Lord Lamington, the governor of Queensland, accidentally dropped pieces of sponge cake into melted chocolate and instead of getting rid of them as waste, they were turned into a dessert. The coconut was added to avoid messy fingers. 

How to make it at home

  1. Start with making your sponge cake, let it cool and cut into small squares
  2. Prepare the chocolate frosting from icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk
  3. Dip the squares into the frosting and afterwards dip them in shredded coconut

Malva pudding, South Africa


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Another spongy cake is the South African malva cake, with a caramelized texture and the addition of sweet apricot jam. It’s often served hot with a cream sauce poured over it, along with ice cream or custard. 

The cake grew in popularity after Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, Art Smith, served it at a Christmas dinner in 2006 in South Africa. 

The origins of the dessert are in dispute, though. Sometimes it’s dubbed Marshmallow pudding as its texture resembles that of a marshmallow. However, the title might have been earned from the Afrikaans Malva lekker, which translates to English as a marshmallow. Others believe that the recipe originally contained Malvasia wine.

How to make it at home

  • Beat or whip eggs and sugar and add jam
  • Melt butter and add to the wet mixture together with vinegar
  • Use flour, soda, and salt to prepare the dry mixture
  • Add milk, combine the two mixtures together, and place in the oven
  • Prepare a sauce with fresh cream, sugar, butter, hot water, and vanilla essence and pour it over the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven so it can soak in

Cendol, Southeast Asia


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This iced dessert with worm-like squiggles would probably not be the epitome of a dessert that would immediately come to mind. 

It has become an icon of Southeast Asia even though the precise origin isn’t entirely known. The first mention dates back to a 1932 article in a Malaysian newspaper, even though Indonesians claim the dessert has its foundation in their dawet, an exotic drink with similar ingredients.

Depending on the region, it can have a variety of ingredients. The base, however, is always coconut milk and string-shaped green jelly made out of pandan leaves or extract. Other toppings include creamed corn, red beans, vanilla ice cream, or durian.

Guinness cake, Ireland 


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This Irish delicacy comes loaded with sugar, chocolate and cream cheese frosting which resembles the foamy head of Guinness. Despite alcohol being rather widely used in cooking and baking, there aren’t many recipes that would ask for the addition of a beer like Guinness.

The history of Guinness goes back to 18th-century Dublin when Arthur Guinness leased a small brewery at St. James’s Gate for 9,000 years at an annual rato of £45. No wonder that the Guinness cake is somewhat of a St. Patrick’s tradition as the celebration is associated with the Irish.

How to make it at home

  • Melt butter and Guinness together and add sugar and cocoa powder
  • Beat together eggs, yogurt (sour cream or buttermilk) and vanilla extract and pour it all into the chocolatey mixture
  • Add baking soda and flour and bake
  • For the frosting, melt butter and add cream cheese, confectionery sugar and a splash of vanilla

Blood pancakes, Finland


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One must admit the Scandinavians are inventive when it comes to utilizing every bit of an animal. The blood pancakes were likely first made in Finland where they are known as veriletut (one blood pancake is verilettu), but they’re popular in Sweden (known as blodplättar) and Norway as well.

This “treat” asks for blood and typically cow or pig blood is used, although any blood will do. Back in the day it would be served mostly after an animal slaughtering when the blood was fresh to not waste anything. Adding blood might sound a little odd but these pancakes are nutritious and especially high in iron.

How to make it at home

  • Mix flour and eggs in a large bowl and stir in beer and sifted blood
  • Add fried onion, butter, salt, and marjoram
  • Scoop up a little of the mixture and fry it on a pan
  • Serve with crushed lingonberries and if you can’t find any, use red currant or cranberries as an alternative

Tarta de Santiago, Galicia, Spain


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Having originated in Galicia in the Middle Ages, the tarta de Santiago or the cake of St. James gets its name from a cross imprinted in the thin layer of sugar on the top. This cross belonged to the patron of Spain, St. James the Great, whose memory it honors. 

It’s mostly enjoyed in Santiago in the northwestern part of Spain during the Semana Santa, or Christian Easter. One legend has it that it was brought to Galicia by a pilgrim and eaten by those on their way to the cathedral.

The cake is rather thick and made with ingredients that are typical of other Iberian desserts. 

How to make it at home

  • Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow
  • Add almond extract and lemon zest into the mixture
  • Stir in almond flour and salt, put in a tray and bake
  • Place a stencil of the cross of St. James on top and dust with powdered sugar

Dragon Beard Candy, China


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Looking like a strange kind of cocoon, this Chinese cotton candy has become popular also in other parts of the world, especially among street vendors in Asia, and Chinatowns in big cities.

Its history goes back to the second imperial dynasty of Han which ruled about 2,000 years ago. Many legends surround the origin of the sweet treat but the one that caught on most successfully involves a Chinese Emperor of the Han dynasty. When tasting the candy, the small white wisps of the candy stuck on his face resembling the whiskers of a dragon.

What it lacks in the variety of ingredients — corn syrup and corn flour is all that’s needed for the base and corn starch for dusting — it makes up for in its elaborate and extremely technical process of preparation. The mix is stretched into long and sticky strands and the preparation requires a lot of time and patience. When long enough, the strings are wrapped around a filling, usually made from crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or coconut. 

Sakotis, Lithuania


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This traditional egg-rich dessert is popular at weddings and special occasions like Christmas and birthdays. Sakotis is sometimes known as spit cake and its variations can be found all over Europe.

Its makers achieve the distinct tree-like shape by repeatedly pouring batter onto a horizontal spinning rod while rotating it over a fire. The process is labor-heavy and it can take hours before it’s finished and can be served. It takes an expert to know when and how to pour more batter over the cake so making it at home might be quite a challenge.

Did you enjoy reading about desserts from around the world? Do you want more inspiration? Visit Stories.

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