HELLO and welcome to first first in the new series of the Bake Off Bake Along. As a week one tradition, this weeks bake was CAKE!
I for one am really excited that Bake Off is bake on our screens! It’s one of the only programs I’ll watch religiously and joining in the bake off with Rhyme and Ribbons and This Particular last year gave it an extra element of excitement and challenge.
The Great British Bake Off to me signifies the end of summer, and ten weeks of flour strewn kitchen sides, weight gain from weekly indulgences and kneading, mixing, icing, timing, piping, stirring and my way through signatures, technicals and showstoppers I’d never have otherwise thought I’d try.
I already love some of the contestants this year. Val with her quirky dancing and listening to her cakes, Selasi with his effortlessly cool and calm demeanor…
This week we were spoilt for choice with the bakes, between a moist drizzle, zesty jaffas or shiny mirror glaze. Last year I started the Bake Off with a lemon and ginger drizzle, so that one was out. One of my colleagues Jon deems himself king of the giant Jaffa cake and so I was also not keen on trying to outdo him (plus, no offence if you’ve made one this week, but I thought they were a bit easy…).
So that leaves just one cake bake left, the showstopper.
A tricky, sticky, reflective mirror glaze.
Funnily enough about a fortnight ago I was busy ogling Katherine Sabbaths amazing cake creations, and she often uses a very shiny glaze which I had no idea how to replicate, so started looking into mirror glaze. I thought I’d just save it for a recipe after Bake Off is over, but hey presto, Paul and Mary provided!
Wanting to save chocolate for later in the series, I thought I’d do something fruity this week, using a red or purple glaze of some variety for my cake. As it turns out, on a nice long walk on Saturday, loads of the blackberries were already blooming and we dived into the hedgerows like children, scrambling around picking fruit.
Wanting a mousse element incorporated in this weeks bake, I settled on a lemon Genoise sponge with a raspberry and blackberry mousse, forest fruit jelly and berry mirror glaze.
There are a huge number of ingredients and steps involved making this bake, so I’m not actually going to list them fully, but I will link you to some of the recipes I loosely based this bake on.
- Genoise Sponge Cake (which I added lemon zest to and drizzled lemon juice on once out the oven and hot) Can you believe HOW MANY pips came out of one lemon?!
- Raspberry and Blackberry Mousse (plus a cheeky swig of Chambord, though I mostly strained the pulp and seeds before mixing with the whipped cream and just added whole blackberries in the middle layer)
- Forest fruit jelly based roughly on the recipe above (pretty much just fruits, sugar, water and gelatine).
The trickiest bit to actually make the mirror glaze cake was the timings. Lucky it was a bank holiday as this cake took a while! I made the lemon genoise cake base on the Saturday, giving it plenty of time to cool so I could slice it with the fancy cake slicer I got for Christmas. I was pleased with the rise of the genoise, and slicing it was actually quite a neat job.
Next, the whipped raspberry and blackberry mousse was layered on top of the two cake bottoms and left to set, followed by the forest fruit jelly. As I only had two cake tins, I then had to wait again for the next layer of cake, mousse and jelly to all set in turn on top.
Once piled up and frozen to set, I was really pleased with how the cake looked, forgoing the top cake layer I’d originally planned because the jelly had set far flatter and neater than I could have got the cake top!
I was nervous about the mirror glaze, having never made it before. Plus, did anyone else notice that every recipe you look at online does it differently?!
Vast differences in ingredients quantities too! In the end I opted for 120ml water to bloom 5 tsp gelatine, then 100ml water + 80g glucose + 300g sugar heated in a pan until clear and boiling. 200g white chocolate was mixed with 185g condensed milk and the hot sugar mixture combined with the gelatine was poured over the top and whisked vigorously to melt the chocolate. It actually seemed to work!
Mixing 2/3 with a purple gel food colouring, and 1/3 with a red, I then marbled them together, held my breath and poured over the top of my cake. Amazingly, this seemed to work too! It stuck to the frozen cake. It looked pretty shiny! Hooray!
The only thing I will say is, it’s bloody sticky, and also you waste SO much glaze that drips off the cake rather than just on it!
I left the cake to set properly in the fridge and then had some serious fun choosing how to decorate it! Regal, is how I’d like to think of this weeks bake!
Taking it to a family BBQ to celebrate his little brother Daniel’s repatriation (he’s been stuck in Canada unable to fly home for a month!) I was so chuffed that everyone enjoyed it and the layers came out beautifully separated!
Cake week for week 1 of the Bake Off Bake Along was a success! Yes, it took me the best part of a day to create, yes it was eaten in about 10 minutes flat, but the achievement of seeing your own hand reflected in the top of a cake was so worth it!
Bring on the biscuits…!!
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