World Baking Day is upon us — Sunday, May 17. For those who don’t know, World Baking Day is a day when folks from around the world pledge to bake a cake, pie, cookies — anything sweet and bakeable — for somebody special in their lives. Pledge online on the World Baking Day website in advance, and on the day of, get your hands dirty and put a smile on someone’s face, whether it's your mother, your best friend, or the entire team at work. The hardest part, though, is deciding what to bake. Since it is world baking day, after all, why not bake something from abroad? Here are 10 international (and Instagram-able) desserts you can bake this World Baking Day.
In order to form this list, we went through some of our previous lists, like Around the World in 80 Desserts and Sweet Pies from Around the World, and selected desserts we felt rise to the occasion. We made sure to include a variety of dessert types — cookies, custards, pies, and cakes — that have varying levels of difficulty. Even if you’re not a baking whiz, it shouldn’t stop you from pledging to make something delicious.
Some desserts on this list, like flan or Pavlova, might sound familiar to you, while others, like the South African melktert, you could be hearing of for the first time. Tempted as we were to include desserts that require tropical items like tender fresh coconut or dragonfruit, this is meant to be a list of cakes you can actually bake this weekend, with ingredients that are either already in your pantry or a short distance away at your standard grocery store.
Prepare yourself for the big day by learning these 12 foolproof tips to baking like a pro, and be aware of the common baking mistakes that could ruin your day — and how to fix them. Always remember that baking is, first and foremost, fun, and while being a perfectionist comes in handy, it is the thought and the effort that counts. But really, just follow our tips and you’ll be fine.
Take someone special in your life to another place this weekend with these sweet, gooey, rich, and comforting desserts from around the world.
As far as cookie sandwiches go, macarons and whoopie pies are delicious, but a bit overused. Surprise whomever you are baking for this weekend with South American alfajores, which consist of two shortbread cookies with a sweet filling. They are usually served with coffee, and come covered in chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar and/or coconut flakes. We recommend making lemon alfajores with a dulce de leche filling.
Babka, which means “grandmother” in Polish, is a soft, brioche-like bread with a beautiful etymological backstory: the grooves on the surface of the bread resemble the long, pleated skirts worn by older women. The most popular kinds of babka come swirled with chocolate or cinnamon. There’s a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and Elaine spar over whether chocolate or cinnamon is the superior babka; we’re inclined to say chocolate is best, especially when you toss some pecans into the mix.