The Great British Bake Off. 9.02 Cake Week
Remember those days in summer when even looking outside made you sweat? Imagine being filmed in a tent having to bake cakes only to be told you would have to temper chocolate. The Great British Bake Off can be so cruel.
The Signature Challenge was simple enough as a traybake with 16 identical slices. One sponge was not enough for Rahul as he went for a sandwiched Lemon and Cardamom Traybake which appeared like finger sandwiches but tasted better than they looked, and like cake too. Antony opted for cardamom too with coconut for a Burfi with pineapple jam which resembled a delicate Indian Bakewell Tart. Briony kept it a bit closer to home with her Spanish Turron and Orange Traybake. Even though they looked as if they'd fallen out of the oven, neither judge minded.
Dan made it as far as Germany for his Black Forest Slice and found himself in direct competition with Ruby. Hers was delectable even if it refused to cool while Dan's received the first Hollywood Handshake. Also masking a drinking problem was Terry with his Rum and Raisin Traybake which certainly got Prue excited. Manon foolishly refused the raising agents and restricted herself to egg whites for her Rosemary and Honey Traybake which was deemed bland and tough. Jon also plumped for the aromatic herb to complement the citrus in his Lemon Meringue Traybake.
Whether it tasted like fresh grass or frogspawn, Kim-Joy went exotic with her Pandan Chiffon Cake with Palm Sugar Cream though Paul failed to abide the flavour. Luke kept things relatively simple with his Lemon and Poppy Seed Traybake yet the sponge was sloppy and tough. As did Karen for an Almond and Marzipan Traybake with Rhubarb Jam which looked vibrant but dry.
The Technical Challenge was Le Gâteau Vert, translated as The Green Cake (that A-level in French clearly didn't go to waste). Pistachio Genoise sponge sandwiched with a Pistachio Cream and covered in a spinach-flavoured fondant. Yes, spinach. Even Manon looked concerned at recreating Monet's birthday cake.
Get the basics right and it should be relatively straightforward, which included separating the eggs and whisking the whites first! Karen decided to start again while Terry initially ploughed on then resigned himself to redoing the sponge, as did Dan. Creating three layers should have been a doddle, if the cake had risen high enough. Somehow Luke got away with putting his together with the best bits of both his failed sponges, no-one else noticed. Karen's sponge barely had time to rise which gave her bottom spot while Ruby's was stodgy. Top of the technical class were Dan, Rahul then Jon.
While the technical challenge always seems cruel, the prospect of baking a Chocolate Collar Cake on one of the hottest days of the year likely should have seen an intervention from the UN.
Rahul could even explain the science behind the chocolate tempering process before presenting his Chocolate Orange Collar Cake. His science qualifications clearly hadn't gone to waste either as the cake was remarkably high prompting the second Hollywood Handshake of the day to his blissfully confused face which was enough to earn him Star Baker. Similarly, Ruby again reached for the liquor with Cointreau in her restrained and elegant Chocolate Orange 'Jackson Pollack' Collar Cake which was awarded with the third handshake. Two handshakes in a row, that Hollywood is getting soft.
Having triumphed in the Technical Challenge, Jon went for an Hawaiian Shirt Pina Colada Cake with a delectable sheen while the flavours complimented each other well. Antony also went for inspiration from the wardrobe with a Sari collar for his Pistachio, Saffron and Rose Cake. Opening it up brought out the beautiful green and yellow colours though the saffron was overpowering.
The heat was clearly causing havoc as buttercream was melting before it could set. There was also the argument that whoever was judged first had an unfair advantage as the competition would be exposed to the heat for longer. Karen could certainly have that concern for her Strawberry Fayre Chocolate Cake featuring handwritten lyrics into the collar but they survived and the cake could not be faulted. Perhaps the most vibrant decoration was Dan's red and black collar for his Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Birthday Cake which set the bar high.
Due to the layers another consideration was oven time; the more layers involved, the trickier it was to time. Perhaps trying to redeem himself from last week, Terry went all out with his Champagne and Strawberries Eiffel Tower Collar Cake. Perhaps he was a bit over ambitious as the collar simply refused to set then only the bottom half of the tower itself remained. Prue then even called the sponge 'boring', could there be a more callous remark on a baking show?
Kim-Joy specialises in the cute and her collar of a blue cat chasing a ribbon was divine for her Yuzu and Raspberry Genoise Cat Cake yet was a bit dry. Manon's Almond Princess Cake centred around her work as an au-pair and dressing up, despite the use of setting spray the initial melting of her collar still reduced her to tears. She then left the acetates on to reveal... a set chocolate collar and tasty sponge.
Briony went for a triple-layered Chocolate Fudge and Salted Caramel Creation which was overbaked yet the flavours were prominent. She was never really in danger, unlike Luke who took a risk for his Raspberry and White Chocolate Collar Cake which featured a whipped double cream crumb coat and art deco collar, then promptly melted and with that Luke was sent home.