So it seems I may have started a thing by suggesting that we need to have a Great Canadian Baking Show Bake Along some folks did across the pond for the Great British Bake Off!
So here we go!
The first week the Battenberg Cake was the technical bake, which was won on the the show by Vandana Jain. On the show the bakers were given all ingredients they needed to make the cake, along with a recipe that was missing some key bits of information. Those of us following along were lucky to be able to use a more complete recipe (here), and also to have watched the bakers on the show, and learn from their experience. The bakers also had 1 hour 45 minutes to complete the bake from start to finish.
I set out to try this bake within the same 1 hour 45 minutes.
So let’s get going!
The day before I did read the recipe to make sure I had all of the ingredients. As cherries are not in season, and I could not find any cherry extract, I opted to use some blood orange oil as one of my flavours. I am going to keep the other flavour pistachio, but instead of using pistachio paste as in the recipe I would use actual pistachios. (I did find pistachio paste at the Italian Centre Shop and Barb’s Kitchen Centre). I also decided to use homemade fondant instead of premade fondant, for this I used my favourite fondant recipe from Michele Foster.
0 Minutes – I give the recipe a read, and assemble all my ingredients and tools.
2 Minutes – Start making the pistachio paste first. For this I just put a 1/2 cup of shelled pistachios in the food processor, gave it spin, added about 1/2 t water and voila fresh pistachio paste.
5 Minutes – I realize that I do not have the 9 inch square pan that is called for, I do have 8 inch, but then the cake will be slightly smaller. Since the recipe calls for making a divider out pf parchment paper for the 2 flavours in the one pan, I take a look at my loaf pans and I have 2 – 9 inch by 4.5 inch loaf pans, problem solved!
7 Minutes – OK, lets get mixing. I follow the recipe and get the batter made. I then divide it between the 2 bowls and add the flavours to each bowl. To add colour for the blood orange, I use some red powder colour (this ingredient is cool, mixes in nice).
20 minutes – Lets put these cakes in the oven! since I am using 2 pans I reduce the cooking time from 25 minutes to 20 to see how that works.
22 Minutes – I heated up the cherry jam (I used an Austrian Marasca Sour Cherry), then strained it to remove the solids and set aside.
While the cake was baking I decided I needed to get some garnishes for the final cake. Since I was doing blood orange, I figured some candied orange peels would be go well, along with some pistachio brittle. I got these going while the cakes were baking.
40 Minutes – Then I check the cakes and they need another 2 minutes.
42 Minutes – Cakes are done, out of the oven to cool.
47 Minutes – Cake come out nicely from the pans, as they always do on the show I promptly put them in the fridge to cool them quicker.
48 Minutes – I add some of the red powder colour to my fondant to give it nice pink colour, then set aside.
55 Minutes – I check on the cakes, they are getting cool, I decide to cut them into 1.5 inch wide strips since that is how high they were. I made the cuts about 0.5 inches in on each side. I did not trim for length yet, and will wait until the marzipan and fondant are on to do that to get a clean end. Still slightly warm so back in fridge.
60 Minutes – I roll out the marzipan on some parchment paper, I make sure the size of the marzipan is the the same width as the cake will be and long enough to just go all around.
70 Minutes – Time to get this cake put together! I had to reheat the strained jam a bit to make it more brushable (for this we are not looking for layer of jam, but want it to soak into the cake a bit and help “glue” it together). I assemble the 4 rectangular cake pieces into the checkerboard pattern.
75 Minutes – Instead of brushing the outside of the cake with jam I brushed the marzipan. I then placed the the cake in the middle, and since I rolled onto parchment, I used the paper to help wrap the cake in marzipan. I slightly trimmed each end to square things up (some sampling occurred, yum!)
80 Minutes – Now it is time to roll out the fondant. I followed same approach as the marzipan. Then placed the marzipan covered cake on the fondant, brought the fondant up around the cake and sealed the bottom. Each end is trimmed to square things off so you can see the fondant and marzipan layers, along with the different coloured cake.
90 Minutes – Oh crumb, I need a plate for this.
95 Minutes – Found a plate, I now place the finished cake on the plate, then add the some candied pistachios and candied orange for a garnish.
100 Minutes – All done!
That wasn’t so bad! Now I did have some advantage over doing it on the actual show, but I think it turned out pretty good in the end, plus I managed to make the 2 garnishes during the same time period too!
Looking forward to next week, I hear it is bread!