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 Rahul standing next to tiered cake shaped like suitcases and a globe.

Love Home Swap is 10... and we're celebrating a decade of unforgettable travel experiences with a record-breaking birthday cake!

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 13 minute read

The last 18 months has forced many of us to put our travel plans on hold, so what better way to celebrate a monumental birthday and the world starting to return to travel than with a record-breaking cake made by a Great British Bake Off (GBBO) winner? At Love Home Swap we like to push the boundaries of what we can achieve (after all, it’s what’s made us an award-winning site!) So when it came to our 10-year birthday, we knew we needed to celebrate in style - and challenge ourselves to make a splash once again. So we asked GBBO winner (and fan favourite) Rahul Mandal to make us a truly whopping showstopper cake. And so creative genius Rahul put his thinking cap on, and came up with the world’s first 100-ingredient cake. With each ingredient sourced from one of the 100 countries that our members have homes in, this cake is an exotic and delightful reminder of the incredible adventures that await our members as we return to travelling.

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.

 Rahul standing next to tiered cake shaped like suitcases and a globe.
Rahul with Love Home Swap’s record-breaking 100 ingredient cake

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:
- Maple syrup from Canada
- Oolong tea from Taiwan
- Sesame seeds from Cyprus
- Lingonberry jam from Finland
- Tonka beans from Nigeria

 Arial view of 100 ingredients layed out on a display board with the flags of origin beneath.
Grid of the 100 ingredients included in our showstopping bake

Can you guess where some of our other ingredients are sourced from? Take our quiz below to find out!

The stunning creation (which weighs in at over a staggering 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. And we can happily confirm that they were all absolutely delicious!

 Grid of ingredients layed out with the country flag of origin labelled beneath the ingredient
Close up of just some of the ingredients, including pecans from Georgia, cloves from Indonesia, white chocolate from Germany and papaya from Malaysia.

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 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 here for anyone brave enough to take on the challenge of recreating 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 painting the finishing touches onto Love Home Swap's five tier 10th birthday cake
The cake is made up of five layers, including mixed fruit and nut, chocolate and cherry, tropical sponge with tropical jam, spiced citrus and berry, and passionfruit and peach.

Rahul also provided his top five tips for anyone tackling a showstopping celebration bake:

1. 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!
2. Always measure the ingredients out properly and mix them together well. Baking is more science than art.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Be patient. If something doesn’t work, think about what you could do differently and try it again – you’ll get there!

Download recipe for the chocolate and cherry cake

Download recipe for the mixed fruit and nut cake

Download recipe for the spiced citrus and berry cake

Download recipe for the tropical cake with tropical compote

Download recipe for the white chocolate and passionfruit cake

10 years of home swapping – from our members

We caught up with some of our members who have been with us since Love Home Swap since the very beginning. We asked them to share their thoughts on why they love home swapping, and their favourite travel memories.

Amanda, Tennessee

Amanda has been a member of Love Home Swap since the very beginning in 2011, and has done an incredible 32 home swaps with us in that time. Exchanging her vacation home in La Fossette, Tennessee, she’s travelled across the United States to destinations like Savannah, Asheville and Chicago, plus she’s also swapped across the pond to countries such as Ireland and France!

 couple standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Amanda and her partner on a home swap in Paris, France

Why is home swapping a great way to travel?

“The most obvious reason is the expense, or lack thereof. What other options allow you to stay in gorgeous, spacious homes for essentially a few dollars a day?

The feeling of living like a local is a unique and invaluable experience. You get the true feeling of the area. Often the owner will leave a list of recommended restaurants and markets so you?can go straight to the best places without apprehension.?

I also really enjoy the acquaintances I've made through swapping. It's always nice to touch base with them again. Many have wanted to return to my home, so it's like having a friend come back for a visit. I've also been able to recommend someone's home to another swapper based on the knowledge that they are very pleasant people.”

Why did you start home swapping?

“When I saw an advert in a travel magazine for Love Home Swap. It sounded like the best idea I had ever heard. I felt like it would be a great adventure and offer so many opportunities. I was right!”

What would be your advice for people who are home-swapping for the first time?

“Look forward to all the new, exciting things that swapping is going to bring to your travel experience. Meeting new people, living like a local (not a tourist), saving money, staying in a wonderful home with space to enjoy, [there are] so many reasons to love it! I would also suggest being open to accepting an offer from somewhere you've never considered going. I've had some great trips to places that weren't in my plans.”

Martin, UK

As an avid traveller, Martin has been a member of Love Home Swap since 2014. Swapping his holiday homes in Cambridgeshire and Cyprus, he’d done an amazing 14 home swaps with us, including trips to Portugal, Sweden, Poland and more!

Why is home swapping a great way to travel?

“Somehow it just feels so much nicer than traditional holidays. You get to know the people you are swapping with, some better than others, and generally you become friends. Advice and recommendations are most likely to be right too! The fact that there is no or little cost involved is nice too. It encourages you to go away more often and to places you might not otherwise have thought of or gone to. I love receiving random swap enquiries and looking at where they are and what is around. Philadelphia is a great example of somewhere in the US I hadn't targeted, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.”

Why did you start home swapping?

“A friend told me about it. We had just renovated and extended our cottage as a holiday let and this friend knew I liked to travel. He told me a client of his used this site [Love Home Swap] and had been all over the world. I checked it out, joined up and have never looked back!”

What would be your advice for people home-swapping for the first time?

“Be open to anything and surprise yourself. Treat your swappers as friends, never customers.”

Dawn, UK

Dawn has been a member of Love Home Swap since 2012. In that time, she and her family have swapped their charming home in Derbyshire 11 times for UK hotspots like North Wales, Cornwall, London and further afield in Switzerland, The Netherlands and France.

 Woman, man and child sitting on a park bench waving and smiling
Dawn and family on one of their many home swaps

Why is home swapping a great way to travel?

“There’s so many reasons we love home swapping. We find the houses we stay in are so much more homely and well-equipped than a rental home and we like people enjoying our home while we are away. The recommendations for places to visit, restaurants, cafes and shops that house swappers provide are really useful.

We also like the money-saving aspect of it, and have saved something like £50,000 over the years. We have ended up going to places we wouldn’t have thought of, which have all turned out to be brilliant.”

Why did you start home swapping?

“Home swapping is great way to travel for families. We started swapping when our children were tiny, as home swapping is almost free and as I was a full-time mum, it was a real advantage. We swapped with other families with young children for many years so that we could use each other’s toys, garden swings, sand pits, videos, cots and changing tables. And we could be certain that it was a toddler-proof home!”

What would be your advice for people home-swapping for the first time?

“My advice would be to not search through the website for the perfect home to stay in, but rather send a request to a number of properties in the area you are interested in. You are trying to find someone who wants to come to your place at the right time, so you do need to be flexible. What tends to happen when you send a number of requests is that some people are interested for another time, so you end up with a list of likely future swaps as well as someone wanting to swap straight away.”

Have you been a member of Love Home Swap for a few years? Have you got happy travel memories that you’d like to share? Then tell us an anecdote or show us your pics using the hashtag #welovehomeswap or head over to our friendly Facebook groups to strike up a conversation! Whether you’re a new or long-term member, we’re delighted that you’re part of our community. Here’s to the next 10 years of making happy home swapping memories.