16 Cake Recipes From Around the World

A little less frosting, a little more sticky rice, orange blossom water, and poppyseeds

We tend to think of cake as a frosting-slathered dessert you get on your birthday, but around the world, “cake” can refer to anything from layered dough with poppyseeds to a green chiffon cake with pandan. Here, our favorite global recipes.

Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters

This elegant cake is soaked in a fragrant lemon syrup, perfumed by flower waters. The garnish is candied rose petals sprinkled with toasted coconut. Get the recipe for Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters »

Sticky Rice and Almond Cake (Nian Gao)

Nian Gao

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

A heady mixture of olive oil and preserved oranges flavors this moist, dense Sicilian dessert.

Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit

This variation on a classic French pound cake, in which ingredient quantities are determined by relative weight, uses olive oil instead of butter for a light, fresh flavor. The recipe was developed by SAVEUR contributor Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who recommends using a Polder Kitchen Scale for accurate measure.

Black Forest Cake

This classic German cake, a masterpiece of cherry brandy-soaked pastry engineering, improves the longer it sits. Get the recipe for Black Forest Cake »

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Emerald green, fluffy pandan chiffon cake, beloved from Indonesia to Singapore, is a curious manifestation of America’s culinary influence on Southeast Asia. In 1948 Better Homes and Gardens published a General Mills recipe for chiffon cake. Years later the recipe made its way to Southeast Asia—most likely on boxes of imported cake flour—where home cooks made a version flavored with the juice from pandan, an aromatic grass with a floral, vanilla-like flavor. By the 1970s, viridian chiffon cake was all the rage, and it’s just as popular today as it was 30 years ago. See the recipe for Pandan Chiffon Cake »

Sesame-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin)

This sticky-sweet cake, made with semolina flour and coconut milk, is commonly served at holidays and special occasions in Myanmar. Get the recipe for Sesame-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin) »

Princess Cake (Princesstårta)

Swedish princesses Martha, Margaretha, and Astridin loved baking this smooth, vanilla cream and raspberry jam filled cake in their domestic science classes so much that their professor, Jenny Âkerstrom, named the confection after them.

Mezcal Chiffon Cake

Smoky mezcal and bright pomelo zest flavor this airy, eggy chiffon cake, the perfect quick dessert. Get the recipe for Mezcal Chiffon Cake »

Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters

This North African cake is baked with dried coconut and sweetened condensed milk and then soaked in a fragrant lemony syrup with orange blossom and rose waters. Get the recipe for Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters »

Swedish “Gooey” Chocolate Cake (Kladdkaka)

Swedish “Gooey” Chocolate Cake

Hungarian Plum Cake (Szilvás Pite)

Yogurt adds a slight tartness to this cake from home cook Mária Keresztes Kovács. While any stone-fruit may be substituted, plums—especially Italian plums—are in season well into autumn.

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat.

Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica)

Able to be assembled up to 2 days prior to baking, this multilayered pastry cake is stuffed with poppy seed, walnut, cottage cheese, and tart apple fillings. Get the recipe for Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica) »

Goan Coconut Cake (Baath)

A hint of rosewater adds sweet, floral aroma to this moist, dense semolina cake, packed with four types of coconut. Refrigerating overnight gives the semolina time to soak up the sweet coconut liquid, resulting in a softer, more tender crumb. Get the recipe for Goan Coconut Cake (Baath) »

Chocolate Chip Moon Cakes with Almonds and Spiced Fruit

Chocolate Chip Moon Cakes with Almonds and Spiced Fruit