Growing up I lived in what I like to call a bubble. I never traveled much, had never been on a plane, and never thought I would leave the country. When I left for college I figured I would put in my four years and then return home to my little bubble of Long Island. Well, the world had other plans for me. I majored in Chemical Engineering and got a job outside of Washington DC for a huge petroleum company. Within my first year I traveled all over the US and my first international trip…to Tokyo, Japan….by myself. The terms “trial by fire” and “sink or swim” always come to mind when I think of those days, but I definitely swam.
Over the next 10 years my travels continued. Thirteen countries across five continents, often traveling alone. Each experience was more amazing, and eye opening, than the one before it. Most importantly though, it burst my bubble. It made me realize just how big and wonderful, and simultaneously misunderstood, this world is. You can learn a lot about world history in school, or see news reports about current events, but it just doesn’t compare to seeing it up close and in person.
On every one of my trips I tried to really learn about and experience the culture of the country I was in. The one thing that I enjoyed the most was trying all the different cuisines. At the end of every trip I would stop at a local grocery store so that I could take home some interesting ingredients. For some unexplained reason, I started incorporating those ingredients into my cake recipes. I have always loved to bake, so I decided to make cake my canvas of choice to paint a picture of the places I had been for my loved ones.
That’s where the idea for this book first began. So many times what you learn about the world through school or the news is some obscure fact about politics, or something bad that happened, but you never really learn about the people. I think it’s important that we learn about both. Through the Cakes without Borders series I hope to share some of the amazing places I’ve been, or hope to visit someday, through cake. And if you are wondering “why cake?”….well, it’s approachable. Many desserts or flavor combinations from around the world are not common to the American palate, so people may be reluctant to try them in their traditional form. But if you incorporate those same flavors into a cake, it becomes much less intimidating.
Each recipe is a completely unique cake recipe, either a layer cake (with a filing and frosting) or a bundt/pound cake. Many of them use flavors combinations that aren’t even often used in dessert, like the Doce de Tomate (tomato jam) cake. While others are variations of a well-known dessert just in cake form, like the Baklava cake.
I hope that by trying these new and interesting flavor combinations it will bring a little window to the world into the reader’s kitchen. Purchasing the book will also be actively helping because a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit a children’s humanitarian organization that has saved more children’s lives than any other”.