Curious cakes: 8 unusual recipes for creative baking

By
Hannah Koelmeyer
Added
06 May, 2015

We celebrate those weird and wonderful cake recipes that come from the adventurous minds of those who aren’t afraid to push baking boundaries.

Sure, everyone loves a chocolate cake, and it's impossible to go wrong with a classic red velvet with cream cheese icing, but sometimes it’s fun to challenge your concept of ‘cake’ and be a little more daring with your flavours and baking techniques. We run an equal-opportunity kitchen here, and if parsnip, for example, wants to get into the cake game, who are we to argue? Also, the more unusual your cake, the more impact it will make – and don’t worry, while some of the combinations here may sound strange, there’s nothing controversial about their flavour. 

Banana cake

 

Not your garden-variety banana cake, this Vietnamese dessert is more along the lines of a baked banana fritter. Laced with sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk, this is a sweet and rich fruity treat.

Chocolate-chip cookie layer cake

Trust April Carter to come up with a cake that’s a pile of giant choc chip cookies sandwiched together with chocolate ganache. The trick here is to ensure the cookies remain a bit soft so you can still slice it like a regular cake.

Zucchini and lime cake

A gorgeously tangy cake, zucchini sounds like a bizarre ingredient to use in a cake but it’s no stranger than carrot. The zucchini gives the cake a lovely moist, yet springy, texture.

Moroccan apple and lime cake

Lucy and Greg Malouf first tasted this cake on a hot afternoon in Morocco. The cake is simply layers of sliced apple sprinkled with butter, sugar and lime zest, weighted and baked slowly in a bain marie, then chilled overnight. The result is light and exquisitely refreshing – the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon mint tea.

Purple yam and sweet coconut cake

Can you believe there’s no food colouring in this cake? The striking colour comes from a purple yam called ube, a favourite ingredient in Filipino desserts, prized for its distinctive colour and subtle flavour. 

Many-layered spice cake

This fascinating Indonesian cake isn’t hard to make, but it does require patience for the special cooking method. The alternating spiced layers, each barely thicker than a wafer, are baked and then grilled one at a time.

Orange mug cake

A cake baked in a mug in the microwave? These quirky, dangerously simple cakes are a bit of a marvel (they cook in around 2 minutes). We have two whole books on the subject, so if orange cake is a little too pedestrian for your boundary-pushing tastes, there are plenty of flavours to choose from!

Parsnip and ginger traybake

While zucchini is an easy thing for me to accept in a cake, parsnip requires a little more of a leap of faith. Lucy Cufflin is the woman to convince me though (and you can always trust that Lucy’s recipes are both delicious and foolproof). Paired with spicy ginger and mellow coconut, the parsnip brings a peppery earthiness to this cake, which perfectly offsets the divine honey buttercream.

For more incredible cakes that are guaranteed to make an impact, check out our collection of 23 recipes for awe-inspiring cakes.

MORE INTRIGUING CAKE RECIPES

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