When you think of cake, what images come to mind? Do you see towering red velvet cakes with four, five or six layers of cake and frosting? Do you picture delicately domed Princess Tortes? Like most foods, the types of cakes that we all eat and enjoy vary widely from person to person and from county to country. In A World of Cake author Krystina Castella explores cake traditions and recipes from all over the world.
The book starts out with an overview of the history of cake, and an exploration of all the different holidays throughout the year where cakes are traditionally made and eaten in different cultures. The book then moves on to talking about different types of cakes – and doesn’t stop at just regular cakes and cupcakes, but includes cheesecakes, chiffon cakes, donuts, dumplings, fritters, fruitcakes and more. There is also a quick guide to common cake-baking methods before getting into the recipes, which are divided up by geographic region. The book has 150 recipes and covers just about the entire globe, from North and South America to Scandinavia, Africa, India and the Far East.
The recipes are very diverse, since they range from deep fried cakes to delicately yeasted cakes, and the recipes are all written out very clearly in order to make them as easy as possible to follow along with. This is something that is easy to appreciate if you decide to venture out of your comfort zone and bake a dessert from, say, Slovenia. You will find yourself wanting to expand your baking horizons, too, as the the book is packed with beautiful photos of the cakes that it describes, and many that give the flavor of the region as well as that of the cakes. There are plenty of tips on baking and also historical notes scattered throughout the book, and just about every recipe includes at least a few variations should you want to spice things up even further than just baking that new-to-you cake recipe.