10 International Desserts to Bake This World Baking Day

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Bake something at home that will transport you to a different place

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10 International Desserts to Bake This World Baking Day

10 International Desserts to Bake This World Baking Day

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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.

Alfajores (Argentina)

Alfajores (Argentina)

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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 (Poland)

Babka (Poland)

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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. 

Basbousa (Egypt)

Basbousa (Egypt)

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Basbousa is a semolina cake soaked in simple syrup that can be infused with orange or rose water, if so desired, and topped with nuts, usually almonds. There are many names for this cake throughout the Middle East. It pairsperfectly with strong, bitter coffee. For a summery flavor, make coconut basbousa.  

Dobos Torte (Hungary)

Dobos Torte (Hungary)

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A magnificent sight to behold, this seven-layer sponge cake is layered with chocolate buttercream and capped with caramel. It seems like a decadent treat created for royalty, but its origins are actually quite utilitarian: confectioner József C. Dobos wanted to make a cake that would expire later than other pastries (as if it would even last that long), and thought to employ a caramel top, which helps the cake retain moisture. Brave bakers who are willing to put in the time and effort could truly wow somebody by using this dobos torte recipe. 

Flan (Spain)

Flan (Spain)

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Gluten-free bakers, rejoice. Flan, or crème caramel, is popular all around the world, and we can see why. The simple, eggy custard topped with soft caramel is as refreshing as it is decadent, and its simplicity allows bakers room to get very creative. Check out this almond-infused flan with raspberry salsa or, if your taste buds lean toward savory, blue cheese flan. Make sure to monitor the flan very carefully as it bakes; there’s no covering up an off-the-mark flan, as the sides look porous and unappetizing when overcooked.

Melktert (South Africa)

Photo Milktart Modified: Flickr/Alexandra E. Rust/ Cc 4.0

If you love custard but feel like you ought to make a pie for World Baking Day, try baking a traditional South African melktert, which is a pie made with sweet pastry crust and a custard filling. The milk is infused with a stick of cinnamon before being made into custard, and its flavor is more pronounced than that of the eggs. 

Pavlova (Australia/New Zealand)

Pavlova (Australia/New Zealand)

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If you’re going for aesthetics, you can be sure that a Pavlova — which is named after the slender and elegant Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova — will please. It’s not all in the looks, though: this meringue, which is crisp on the outside but soft on the inside, is delicious, especially when topped with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. This weekend, try topping mini-Pavlovas with satsuma and pomegranate

Sacher Torte (Austria)

Sacher Torte (Austria)

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Death by chocolate? Try it the Viennese way. Sacher torte, a dense chocolate cake with layers of apricot jam that’s covered in a dark chocolate icing, is one of the city’s most iconic dishes. It even helped establish a five-star hotel, Hotel Sacher, which was founded by the son of the cake’s inventor, and is, unsurprisingly, famous for their Sacher tortes. For a lighter snack, make Sacher torte cookies.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (United Kingdom)

Sticky Toffee Pudding (United Kingdom)

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A British classic, sticky toffee pudding is a moist sponge cake made with chopped dates, smothered in toffee sauce, and served with vanilla custard or ice cream. It is best eaten warm. For a healthier take on this gooey deliciousness, try making quinoa sticky pudding.

Tarte Bourdaloue (France)

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Tarte Bourdaloue is a shortcrust pie consisting of poached pears, frangipani, and crushed macaroons. During preparation, the pears are cut and arranged in so the slices have the look of fallen dominos, and as a result, browned edges peek from the pie after baking and the effect is gorgeous. Make whomever you bake for this weekend swoon by using this classic tarte Bourdaloue recipe.