This remarkable creation was commissioned by award-winning, home-swapping platform, Love Home Swap to celebrate their 10th birthday, and to acknowledge their global travel community’s resilience over the last 18 months. With each ingredient representing one of the 100 countries that Love Home Swap’s members have homes in, this cake was an immensely complex project.
The average cake tends to have around five to 10 ingredients, which most people will be familiar with – eggs, butter, sugar, flour and some kind of flavouring such as cocoa powder or vanilla extract. However, the shopping list for this cake reads like a vivid travel journal, taking travel-lovers through bustling spice markets, fascinating natural wonders, and into the heart of communities and kitchens around the world.
It’s designed to inspire as well as transport cake-lovers to their favourite holiday destinations, with highlights including a number of exotic ingredients alongside some more standard ones:
- Chocolate from Belgium
- Maple syrup from Canada
- Oolong tea from Taiwan
- Hibiscus from Singapore
- Cinnamon from the Seychelles
- Meadowsweet from Kazakhstan
- Cane sugar from Zambia
- Sesame seeds from Cyprus
- Lingonberry jam from Finland
- Tonka beans from Nigeria
- And eggs from the United Kingdom
The stunning creation (which weighs in at over a whopping 50 kilograms and measures over a metre in height) features star-baker and Engineer Researcher Rahul Mandal’s signature creativity and innovation – with five layers depicting a stack of suitcases topped with a globe, all of which have been hand-decorated using fondant icing. The cake layers include the following flavours: chocolate and cherry, mixed fruit and nut, spiced citrus and berry, tropical sponge with tropical jam and white chocolate, passionfruit and peach.
Célia Pronto, Managing Director of Love Home Swap commented:
“Love Home Swap hit a few big milestones in 2021: we turned 10 and we wanted to celebrate the 100 countries on our platform with a celebration cake. So what better way to do that, than by honouring these 100 countries using an ingredient from each one? But this cake is about more than our milestones; we’ve been inspired by the way our global travel community has remained optimistic and pulled together to get through the last 18 months, so this celebration is dedicated to all of them.
The tourism industry is recovering, but we all know the current situation is only just scratching the surface of people’s desire to travel and reconnect. We hope this cake inspires us all to keep dreaming and planning for future adventures.”
Dr Rahul Mandal, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2018 commented:
“As far as baking challenges go, this one was epic and the hardest bake I’ve ever done, but I knew straight away I had to take it on. Like many others I’ve missed going on holiday recently and I appreciate more than ever before how travel - taking a leap, exploring a new place, meeting new people and seeing how others live - is so good for the soul.
When I was asked to take this particular leap, I didn’t have to think twice. The hardest part wasn’t in fact making the cake, it was devising the recipe and ensuring the flavour balance was just right. I wanted to capture the essence of all these wonderful countries and celebrate them in the way only a cake can do.”
The recipe and step-by-step instructions are available at lovehomeswap.com/100ingredientcake for anyone brave enough to take on the challenge and recreate this masterpiece at home. Rahul’s main piece of advice?
“It’s a big challenge but approach it like you would any other travel adventure; try to relax and enjoy every stage.”
Rahul also provided his top five tips for anyone tackling a showstopping celebration bake:
- Whether your cake includes 100 ingredients or just five, if you’re an amateur baker, always follow the recipe – they are tried-and-tested, so don’t go rogue!
- Always measure the ingredients out properly and mix them together well. Baking is more science than art.
- Don’t use too much raising agent as your cake will end up rising too quickly in the oven and then fall flat in the middle.
- Make sure you know your oven well. Each oven will likely have hot spots which can ruin the bake if you’re not careful with monitoring the heat.
- Always be patient. If something doesn’t work, think about what you could do differently and try it again – you’ll get there!