Penn State, Monash libraries team up for second Great Rare Books Bake Off

September 02, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Last year Penn State took home the trophy. Who will be named champion this year?

Penn State’s Eberly Family Special Collections Library is again teaming up with Special Collections at Monash University for a unique rare recipe baking challenge. Like last year, participants are needed to help Penn State win The Great Rare Books Bake Off.

Penn State students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are invited to discover the hidden gems of the historical recipes from the special collections of Monash University — one of our International Partner Libraries — and the Penn State University Libraries. Each has once again combed through their rare cookbook collections and found some exceptionally enticing recipes waiting to be baked and eaten.

Between the two universities, there are 12 recipes to choose from. Participants can try their hand at Pennsylvania specialties like Wet Shoo Fly Pie and Ogontz Cinnamon Buns, or Australian favorites like Lamington Cake or Pavlova. Recipes for bakers of various skill levels are included, with historical context provided along the way.

To spice up the bake-off, Monash and Penn State have turned the event into a friendly competition with institutional pride at stake. To join the competition, bake any recipe you’d like and post a photo or video to social media with the hashtag #TheGreatRareBooksBakeOff (add #BakePennState so your post will be counted in favor of our institution). The university with the most entries will win the Great Rare Books Bake Off and garner possession of the Grand Champion Trophy to proudly display in their space until the next competition.

The bake-off will run Sept. 5–11. Recipes and contest details are available at the competition website at

A virtual panel discussion, “Historical Desserts, Drinks and Discussion,” will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, as part of the festivities. Food historians and special collections curators from both universities will discuss the challenges and rewards of baking historical recipes. Register in advance at


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Last Updated September 02, 2021