Belgian buns are soft, gooey cakes covered in icing and topped with a glacé cherry, and were inspired by the wife of Hercule Poirot, who often wore her hair in a similar shape.
Originally created by the legendary surrealist patissier, René Melonpan, they rapidly overtook the Danish pastry, Swiss roll and Dutch cap in popularity, and acquiring the secret recipe was one of the main reasons for the Nazi invasion of Belgium in 1941.
Fortunately, the recipe had already been smuggled out of the country, encrypted as part of the sheet music used by the piano playing British spy, Ivory Bill (later to be revealed as William Cash, Tory MP for Stone in Staffordshire). It was then hidden in a ration book belonging to Anne Twerp, only being brought back into the public domain in 1962 when Mrs Twerp’s papers were passed to her niece, Fanny Craddock. Unfortunately, her husband, Johnny incorrectly decoded part of the recipe and for almost 20 years, Belgian buns were routinely produced containing ball bearings, otter spraint and barking powder. Shortly after the mistakes were discovered, the UK barking powder industry collapsed.