What do you mean you've never made punschkrapfen or kvæfjordkake?

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Image: XX obscure baking challenges Paul and Mary haven't thought of yet

Photo: food52.com

Tomato soup cake. Yep, really …

Just like pastel bakeware, crouching in front of ovens and salacious pastry innuendo, unfamiliar cakes have become a hallmark of The Great British Bake OffSeriously, how many of us were regularly grilling up a schichttorte before Mary Berry showed us how? Had you ever even heard of Charlotte royale before series four? No you hadn't, don't lie. 

 

In fact, as the show goes on and the challenges become increasingly obscure, we're worried that the judges might just start making this stuff up. So to save Paul and Mary from spinning themselves a sugar web of lies, we've found a few delicious-sounding bakes that the contestants almost certainly won't have tried before. 

 

They're tricky, they look impressive, and they definitely actually exist. At least, we're pretty sure they do.

 

'The World's Best Cake'

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Whisks down, everybody! We've done it. We've created the greatest cake in the world. Or at least, Norway has – the kvæfjordkake, also known as verdens beste ('world's best'), which is a layered sponge, meringue, vanilla custard, almonds and cream concoction almost as magnificent as the fjords themselves. 

 

True, it doesn't feature any weird icing or complicated pastry latticework, but it's the WORLD'S BEST CAKE. What more do you want?

 

Danish goose breast cake

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Goose breast

Photo: Cyclonebill / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: cyclonebill

It would just be handing Mel and Sue jokes on a plate, really. The Danish gåsebryst cake translates as 'goose breast', presumably because of its rounded shape rather than the fact it goes pimply in the cold. It's made from a puff pastry or sponge base layered with jam, then heaped with vanilla custard, then piled with cream, all tucked in beneath a cosy blanket of marzipan. Because the Danes aren't afraid to serve squidge on top of squidge, and that's what makes them great.  

 

Speaking of squidge, you can just imagine this challenge going down brilliantly on a hot, clammy day in the Bake Off marquee. And by 'down' we mean quite literally. To the floor. 

 

Depression cake

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Depression cake

Photo: Lee Khatchadourian-Reese / CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

This cake is so-called because it was invented during the Great Depression of 1930s in the US, when luxuries like butter, milk and eggs were scarce – not because it's baked with the tears of your enemies, though if you happen to have some handy you might as well pop them in for flavour.

 

Usually flavoured with cocoa, depression cake often included vegetable oil, vinegar and boiled raisins for sweetness. Some even used bacon grease instead of oil, which sounds like the opposite of depressing to us. Just add pretzels and you've basically got a new cult food trend.

 

Punschkrapfen

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Punschkrapfen

Photo: Toni Grass / CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Every bit as fun to say as they are to eat, punschkrapfen are little Austrian cakes filled with nougat, apricot jam and cake crumbs, soaked in rum and covered in a sticky pink rum punch glaze – like a drunk fondant fancy.

 

"But wait!" you cry. "Aren't all cakes technically filled with cake crumbs?" Well yes, but not like this. Once upon a time the punschkrapfen was a way of using up all the cake trimmings that were left over in fancy Austrian bakeries, making it the ideal challenge for the Bake Off contestants. No ingredients, just an hour to forage as many bits of old cake as you can from the floor, the green room and Paul Hollywood's goatee. GO!

 

Wet bottom shoofly pie

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shoofly pie

Photo: Syounan Taji / CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

A signature dish from the Pennsylvania Dutch community, shoofly pie is a stateside cousin of our treacle tart – made with molasses for a dark, rich, sticky filling. And it comes in 'dry bottom' and 'wet bottom' varieties, so it's like a slice of heavy Bake Off innuendo just waiting to happen.

 

Legend has it the name comes from the clouds of flies that would swarm around the sugary pies as they sat cooling on the windowsill, so by rights this would probably have to be 'ShooMelandSue pie'. Though that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

 

 

Smörgåstårta

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Smörgåstårta

Photo: Mrs Gemstone / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: gemstone

It might be unexpected from a nation famed for its understated design, but there ain't nothing flat-pack about the smörgåstårta – aka the Swedish sandwich cake. Built out of bread, iced with mayonnaise and decorated with everything from hard-boiled eggs to fish roe, it's like every buffet item your gran has ever made, crossed with a hilarious birthday prank. 

 

And if your average everyday run-of-the-mill smörgåstårta is this spectacular, you can only imagine what magic the Bake Off contestants could create with eight tiers of bread, a blowtorch and a piping bag full of sandwich cream. Make it happen, Mary and Paul. Voulez-vous? UH HUH. 

 

Tomato soup cake

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Tomato soup cake

Photo: food52.com

Don't be afraid, but this is a real thing. Tomato soup cake was apparently dreamt up as long ago as the 1920s, featuring spices and dried fruit – you know, just like carrot cake. See, it's not scary!

 

But of course, being the Bake Off this couldn't be served up straight from the Campbell's recipe book. No, they'd have to dream up their own exotic twists, such as chicken noodle soup cake. Or wobbly condensed mushroom cake. Or minestrone cake, with tiny pasta pieces. Imagine!

 

What weird and wonderful cake would you like to see featured on the Bake Off? Comment below or tweet us @Homemade