Invented (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) in New Zealand and named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue treat is served overflowing with whipped cream and summer fruits. Click through the gallery to see other cakes celebrated as national treasures.
courtesy Takahide Nakazawa/Tourism New Zealand
Sweden: Swedish Princess Cake —
Sweden's prinsesstarta is a dome of sponge, jam, custard and cream, covered by a sheet of green marzipan. Stockholm's Vete-Katten is one of the best places for a Swedish fika experience (a coffee and cake break).
courtesy Vete Katten
Great Britain: Victoria Sponge —
Few things complete an afternoon tea session as perfectly as a slice of homemade Victoria sponge. Named after Queen Victoria, this sponge cake with raspberry jam and -- sometimes -- cream has regularly been voted the nation's favorite.
Indonesia: Lapis Legit —
Heart attack-inducing levels of butter -- the best one uses only Dutch Wijsman butter -- and egg yolks make up the recipe for Indonesia's lapis legit, a sweet, moist and firm delicacy served as a holiday treat. Harlie, an online-only lapis legit specialty store, serves a neatly layered cake.
Kransekage in Danish (or kransekake in Norwegian) is composed of differently sized ring cakes, made with ground almonds, arranged in a stack.
Mad Ukendt/Visit Denmark
Australia: Lamingtons —
The classic Aussie Lamington is named after a former governor of Queensland. It consists of plain sponge cake jazzed up with a chocolate coating and coconut sprinkles.
Singapore/Malaysia: Pandan Cake —
Essentially a chiffon cake, the pandan cake is infused with green-colored juice from the pandanus palm, giving it a sweet woodsy fragrance and an alarmingly radioactive hue. The cake is hugely popular in Singapore and Malaysia.
courtesy Bengawan Solo
Germany: Black Forest Cake —
Native to Germany, Black Forest cakes are traditionally made with up to half a cup of a cherry brandy called kirschwasser. Its German name is Schwarzwalder kirschtorte.
Uruguay: Postre Chaja —
Created in 1927 by a teahouse owner, postre chaja is a Uruguayan cake with layers of soft cake, cream and (usually) peach encased in a meringue shell.
courtesy Postre Chaja Facebook
Italy: Tiramisu —
Meaning "pick me up" in Italian, tiramisu is a sweet treat made from layers of sponge fingers dipped in coffee, heaped with mascarpone cheese whipped with eggs and sugar.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd
France: Madeleines —
Few other cakes conjure up memories of failing to read masterpieces of experimental literature quite like the madeleine, a small scallop-shaped cake often served with tea.
Turkey: Baklava —
There's always room for baklava at the end of a Turkish meal. Those from Gaziantep province are made of layers of filo pastry filled with semolina cream and Antep pistachio. They became the first Turkish product to be recognized as a protected dish by the European Union in 2013.
OZAN KOSE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Austria: Kaiserschmarrn —
Kaiserschmarrn is a specialty dish that can sometimes be eaten as a main course in Austria. Fluffy pancakes are shredded into little pieces and drenched in a fruit sauce. Vienna's Cafe Central serves a supersize kaiserschmarrn.
Fotograf Herbert Lehmann/Café Central at Palais Ferstel