Wednesday, April 1, 2015

International Bake Date: Spring 2015

When your weekend starts with Kazakhstan chocolate and real Parmigiano cheese, just know it will be awesome. But before we get to that...If you are a foreign student like myself, the first conversations you had with now friends would have been something like "I have never heard of your country in my life." "Is it on the map?". Fortunately, everyone is so used to this prelude that we don't get offended and we go on to have fun-filled memories. Another thing that bonds us together is discovering mutual loves such as baking.

So finally against the odds of times and location,last weekend, we held the second ever International Bake Date. The first time around Namibian and Grenadian baking talents clashed in the form a tie-dye cake, apple pie and banana bread. This time we spread far and wide to capture the baking spirit of the continents. Everyone brought a recipe to try, some native to country, some native to taste, and all native to experimentation with substituted ingredients.


Bonjour, Bonjour! Qu'est-ce que c'est? It's Madeleines. So my Congolese sister grew up on these soft, buttery cakes and they taste like something that would be sold out of a bakery within its first half hour on the shelf. That kind of home-made sophistication. I mean look at that golden crust! The heart of this recipe lies in the proportions of butter and powdered sugar which we had to make here.


If you like After Eight ice cream, you should love this cake. (Am I the only one who often mistakenly ordered after-eight for pistachio as a kid?) So this cake, in addition to minty green chocolate, includes coconut. Anybody in love with the coco? I have mad respect for my Italian sis here. And not just because she fed me cheese. She took lots of creative measures to source chocolate, mint and coconut and her substitutions qualifies her to be my partner on my future Amazing Race appearance. That show is still in on the air right? You know I live outside of civilization.

Check the recipe out and substitutions here.


So we tasted this cake at a friend's house and after hastily scribbling the recipe on the back of a old receipt, we swore we would try it before we left china. For the first time, a method over taste caught my attention. My friends, this cake was boiled, BOILED! And it tasted amazing. For more details on how to make this cake, read Scotland taught me.


This where it all started. This chick and I were always exchanging recipes, figuring out how to bake in one temperature ovens and naming desserts after ourselves. But she is the real boss. Anything she combines taste homey and right. I call it the Namibian essence. I really wish she would bottle it already. Anyway, since we love her apple pie so much, she made this Norwegian Apple Cake. It was her first time and it was on point.


I've done this before here. Because of the fresh pineapple juice, it still remains the softest and most moist cake I have even baked. But I need to find those maraschino cherries.


What a coincidence! Around the same time we started baking, our Vietnamese friends came into the kitchen with a strong dough nut game. I need these sprinkles in my life.

Look out this Summer for the last International Bake Date. More cakes, more countries!