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red-velvet

O’Hara’s Irish Red Velvet Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream

Think you need to eat green this Saint Patrick’s Day? Think again. Come Saint Patrick’s Day, few desserts can stand up to the mighty Guinness Chocolate Cake – until now.  Irish Red Velvet Cake is as cheery as a wee leprechaun’s cheeks and as fiery as his beard. The crimson batter contains a dusting of cocoa and is bound with buttermilk – both characteristics of a traditional Red Velvet Cake, popular in the American South. But a few glugs of O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale gives this otherwise ordinary cake Celtic edge. This delightful Irish-American fusion makes an ideal dessert for the 40 million Irish Americans who celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day every year. (And, since Saint Patrick’s Day is more widely celebrated by Irish Americans than the Irish, this fusion turns out to be quite apropos.) What is an Irish Red Ale? Irish Red ales are reddish-brown in color and full-bodied. In the case of O’Hara’s, toasted malt sweetens the drink, while a bit of hops deepens the finish. Too much of the bubbly brew can give the Irish Red Velvet Cake a yeasty, bread-like flavor – a modest 1/2 cup does the trick. Cutting back on the …

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Zimbabwe Candy Cake | Chikenduza

Candy. Cake. From Zimbabwe. Given the name… and the fact that we needed a celebration recipe (this being the last recipe of our ‘official’ adventure to eat a dish from every country in the world)… well, I had to make it. That’s not to say there weren’t other choices for celebration food. I could have made sweet potato cake (spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg) or sliced mango with custard. But I was sold when I saw the shiny pink glaze on the mound of cakey bread. I would have never known this cake existed, if it weren’t for several homesick Zimbabweans who shared their pinings on Fiso’s Kitchen. This is a treat you’d find in Zimbabwe’s city bakeries. From what Fiso says, Candy Cakes are usually big and dense, made in a double a standard muffin, but I made mini ones in my muffin tin so I wouldn’t have to go buy special equipment. Though her version is yeasty, she also mentions a recent trend of baking powder being used in Zimbabwe’s Candy Cake. Personally, I’m …

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Swedish Princess Cake | Prinsesstårta

They say this spring green dome from the 1930’s made with layers of sponge cake, raspberry jam, custard, and whipped cream is DIFFICULT. Everyone says so, in fact, except for the Swedes. Curious, right? I finally figured out why: Swedish folk have great recipes and three quarters of a century’s worth of tips and tricks up their sleeves. Like, ahem, pre-rolled marzipan and boxed custard. I even saw one Swedish video which used prepacked cake, already sliced in thirds. “We all start out as children.” This Swedish Proverb hints at what I learned, first hand, when making this cake: we must crawl before we can walk, we must be children before we are grown. Experience comes one step at a time. Considering I made each part of this cake 3 times, and messed it up terribly along the way… I thought you might benefit from my errors. So, do forgive me, but before we get into the recipe, I must tell you about the top five mistakes I made when making this cake, so you don’t do …

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Lemongrass Dawet

Lemongrass. Coconut milk. Slushie. Pink. Pink. Pink. Hello. The weather’s been heating up lately, so when I happened up this Dawet recipe so beloved in Suriname, I knew we had to try it. When I discovered it was also enjoyed in slushie form? I did a little dance. Slushies are always a good idea. The refreshing, tropical drink is made with an easy, homemade lemongrass syrup, a swirl of coconut milk, and a splash of water (or ice, if making a slushie). Dawet originates from Asia, and is especially popular in Indonesia. The drink was brought to Suriname and popularized as a result of colonization and immigration. In my research, I found several photos of the dawet in Suriname, and it seems the slushie is popular among street vendors. Ava and her friend were fans. There’s so many ways to make this drink. I suggest making the syrup and then toying with how much coconut milk you’d like, versus how much ice. The quantities given are what worked for me, but there really are no …

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Mauritian Banana Tart

Don’t let the startling geometry fool you. Today’s Banana Tart is for those who like mellow desserts. Big bites of health. An entire banana tree in the belly, topped off with delicate lattice goodness. I know. It’s craziness. You can thank the dreamy island of Mauritius, way out in the Indian Ocean, for teaching me this ingenious way to use up ripe bananas. The ingredient list is so simple and pure, I almost can’t believe it. Bananas, barely a smattering of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a vanilla bean. That’s it. Let’s just say I’d be proud to serve this tart to the tiniest tot. Now, if you’ll kindly excuse me, I’ll be in the corner, daydreaming about going back in time so I can bring this tart to Ava’s first birthday party. The dense mashed banana would have made a fantastic, healthy first birthday “cake” (you could probably even leave the sugar out without harming the taste – just use very ripe bananas). P.S. If you’d rather, you can always fly to Mauritius, …

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Kulfi

Makes 4.5 cups The sweet, rich flavor of kulfi will transport you (and any toddlers you know) to India quicker than quick. No need for fancy equipment, either. Freeze the kulfi in any mold you have – I used plastic shot glasses from a party supply store. The two year-olds I polled had no problem with this. Ingredients: 1 12 oz can evaporated milk 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 2 slices bread 1 cup cream, whipped 2 Tbsp pistachios 1 tsp rose water 1/4 tsp cardamom red food coloring, optional Method: Pack your bags. We’re headed to beautiful Vagator beach in India. Once there, we’ll sit down with a few kulfi pops. You’ll need whipped cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, bread, rose water, cardamom… … and pistachios. Add everything *except* the rose water and cardamom to a blender. Once smooth, divide the mixture in two. Season one bowl with rose water and the other with cardamom. If you’d like, you can make the rose water pops pink with a drop of food …

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Yucca/Cassava Balls | Getuk Lindri

Makes two dozen Mildly sweet, bite-sized balls of mashed, sweetened cassava (yucca). This unusual treat is a big hit in Brunei. Read on to learn my struggles with this dessert. My first epic fail. Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 cup water 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 pound cassava root, peeled, rough fibers removed, and cubed 1/4 tsp salt red & green food coloring Method: 1. Peel and cube cassava (yucca). Steam for 30 minutes or until cooked. 2. Add sugar, water, and vanilla extract to a small saucepan. Heat over low until sugar dissolves. This is unbleached organic sugar, which is why it looks a little darker. Vanilla extract is possibly the best thing in the whole wide world. Don’t forget that bit of salt. 3. Now, let the games begin. I fought and fought to get my cassava (yucca) smooth, creamy, and without fibers. The battle ended with a food mill, but I’m not sure, even then, that I got everything out. I may have stomped my feet around and yelled a few times. …

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