In honor of World Cake Day, Musement takes a look at 20 cakes around the world.
World Cake Day, or November 26, is my absolute favorite day of the year…I enjoy it even more than my birthday or Christmas. I’ve got a sweet tooth—quite an extraordinary one, in fact, and for me, like for all the sweet-toothed people out there, any time is a good time to eat a cookie, try out a new cake or sneakily grab a piece of chocolate. It doesn’t matter if it’s the early morning, right in the middle of lunch or late at night: someone with a real sweet tooth will always be in the mood for a slice of cake to bring joy to their heart—and their palate. Today is World Cake Day, and the sweet-toothed from all around the world will be free to celebrate it like everyone should: by eating all the cakes they could possibly want.
To celebrate this wonderful day, here are 20 cakes and pies (both sweet and savory) from around the world that you should taste at least once in life—and, why not even start today!
1. Devil’s Food Cake
Chocolate-filled chocolate with chocolate on top. There’s a reason why it’s called “devil’s food!” This sinful temptation has a cocoa base filled with chocolate ganache and is covered with chocolate frosting.
2. Angel Food
By contrast, this angelic delight is white, soft and as light as a cloud. This cake owes its softness to the well-whisked egg whites, and its sweet and delicate flavor to the vanilla and almond extract.
3. Milk Tart
Arguably one of the most emblematic sweets of South Africa, the milk tart, or Meltert, contains a solid crust topped with a creamy milk filling that doesn’t solidify and is often topped with cinnamon. Recipes vary by family and baker, but one thing’s for sure: you’d be remiss if you didn’t try one when you’re there.
4. Black Forest Cake
A classic sweet that comes directly from Germany, black forest cake is a decadent delight, a chocolate base topped with Chantilly cream, cherries and chocolate curls.
Beloved in New Zeland, Lousie Cake contains a pillowy shortcake crust topped with a layer of raspberry jam that’s crowned with a crispy coconut meringue. It’s rumored to have been created in honor of Queen Victoria’s daughter.
6. Tarte Tatin
A symphony of flavors and textures: soft, caramelized apples (according to the authentic recipe, they can only be Reinette or Chantecler) on a golden crisp shortcrust dough. This emblematic French dessert is one of the greatest “mistakes” of all time.
Chocolate and apricot jam—but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. This cake is emblematic of Austria and a must-try when you’re in Vienna.
8. Polyot Cake
This Soviet-era invention said to have been created in Kiev is still a big hit in Russia. The melt-in-your-mouth egg white cake traditionally incorporated ground peas, though today they are often replaced with almonds and cashews.
9. New York Cheesecake
Everybody knows it, and many adore it: the powerful contrast between the soft, sour filling and the sweet and crunchy shell characterize this iconic treat.
10. Pastiera Napoletana
An Italian cheesecake of sorts, this Neapolitan pastry is traditionally prepared on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), and, in the most traditional recipe, one must use lard instead of butter for the crust. It’s filled with sheep ricotta, cooked grain and candied citrus.
The national cake of Australia, the Lamington is a chocolate-covered sponge cake topped with coconut shavings—simple, satisfying and perfect with a cup of tea. You may occasionally come across a version with a fruit filling.
12. Banoffee Pie
Crunchy cookies, banana, toffee and whipped cream come together in this mouth-watering British dessert.
13. Saint-Honoré14. Clafoutis
This soft cake comes straight from the French countryside. Its texture is dense and pudding-like, and the fruit fillings depend on the season. The classic version has black cherries, but it’s just as amazing with peaches or plums.
This traditional Turkish dessert is a semolina cake made from milk or yogurt and molasses, that’s filled with a layer of kaymak cream.
16. Tres Leches Cake
Literally meaning “three milks cake”, this sponge cake typical of Latin America is named for the three kinds of milk it is soaked in: evaporated, condensed and heavy cream.
This chocolate cake typical of Argentina fuses said dulce des leches with chocolate cookies and cream cheese. Sweet, decadent and downright luscious.
Kremówka is a multi-layer Polish dessert found in pretty much every bakery around the country. This cousin of the Napoleon contains dreamy creamy delights layered between crispy, flaky mille-feuille crust and topped with powdered sugar. It just so happened to be the favorite dessert of the late Pope John Paul II.
The Chinese eat mooncake in honor of the lunar Mid-Autumn festival, a major holiday celebrated every year according to the cycle of the moon. The individually portioned cakes are comprised of sweet dough generally filled with red beans or lotus roots.
20. Honey Cake
India’s cuisine is incredibly diverse, and one of its signature treats is an egg-free honey cake found at various Iyengar bakeries in the southern part of the country.