Last week the latest series of The Great British Bake Off got off to a cracking start! In Cake week the contestants had to make a sandwich cake as well as a showstopper chocolate cake. But what of the Technical Challenge, the bake that has everyone worried and panicking that it will pass muster from Paul and Mary. I know I couldn’t have managed the Technical Challenge. I would have been like Ruby, the youngest contestant in this series. It all got too much for her and she burst into tears. In the end Toby left, which was sad to see. I liked him, he seemed a crazy kind of guy but genuinely nice. There were lots of disasters this time and a huge abundance of blue plasters being used!
The Technical Challenge this week was a cake that I’ve heard of and tasted but never attempted myself. An Angel Food Cake is an American recipe, I believe where the rise comes from whisking egg whites to make them light and airy. The cake does not contain any fat but lots of sugar! It isn’t something I would choose if one was on a menu in a cafe or something I would bake. Judging by the experiences of the GBBO bakers, ranging from raw cakes to a cake containing salt instead of sugar, it sounded like it was tricky. I was determined to have a go myself though.
Some plain flour and about 1/3 of the caster sugar was weighed and sifted into a bowl.
In another bowl I separated 10 egg whites, the yolks were put to one side to add to the lemon curd for later.
Separating eggs is one of those skills I either get right or wrong. I find if I don’t need the egg to be perfect it comes out neat or if I need a perfect separated yolk everything leaks and the eggs don’t come out right. Today though they did work out, I separated them by hand easily enough. You need 10 egg whites for the cake but luckily the egg yolks get used in the lemon curd. I hate recipes that involve waste like that!
The egg whites were whisked on a high speed until they were frothy.
The egg whites whisked up! Can you guess what crucial stage I missed out on?
I added lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites.
Whisked again for a few minutes.
The sugar and flour mixture was folded in gently. This was done in 3 stages.
Not the effect I was expecting. I tried folding the flour in carefully but it seemed to knock all the air out.
There doesn’t look to be much mixture in the pan! This is where I thought, where have I gone wrong?
I came to realise at this stage that this isn’t a cake you can make when you have lots of distractions. Not long after I started getting the ingredients out, my teenage daughter decided to saunter down for breakfast and she began to make pancakes for herself and her brother. Normally I don’t mind them doing this on a Sunday but the timing was completely out. Then I left the ingredients out on the side as my mum phoned for a catch up. As I got to the whisking stage I was distracted by nagging at my children for not putting things back in the cupboard. I realised when my cake didn’t look like other angel cakes I had seen that there must have been something wrong. One of my friends on Twitter asked if I had added the sugar? I remembered I had about 200g to add that was still on the counter! Back to the beginning I went. Of course I couldn’t use the first attempt cake, it went in the bin and the tin went in the sink to soak! As the mix was stuck to it (you don’t grease the tin but I think you should do it lightly!) I had no luck. I had to use my other ring tin, a Bundt style one.
I forgot to add the sugar! This is what happens when you are distracted!
Skip an hour, extra ingredients later and carefully read instructions. Now here is version 2, this time made in my fluted ring tin. I didn’t grease it like the instructions said!
I should have greased the pan! This is what was left when the cake came out of the tin. Not very easily, I hasten to add!
There are two distinct camps here- the Greasers and the Non-Greasers. IF and this is a big IF, I make this cake again I will grease the tin lightly. Unless I buy a special tin marketed as an Angel Cake tin. It’s just I didn’t want to go out and buy a tin to make a cake I might not bake ever again!
The “naked” Angel Cake. It actually broke in half as I wrestled with it but it’s amazing how I managed to stick it back together!
Straining the lemon curd through the sieve. I had been worried it wouldn’t set but it did eventually!
Making the Lemon Curd wasn’t stress free either. The remaining egg yolks, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest went into a pan and was heated on a medium heat. It didn’t seem to want to thicken up. I added the butter to it but it still seemed to take ages. I wasn’t convinced. I felt like cheating and running up to the supermarket for a ready made jar! In the end it got taken off the heat and about an hour later it looked more like it should do. It then had to be strained through a sieve. At least there was some spare to put in a jar for toast!
The remainder of the lemon curd was put into a jar and will be used for toast!
Then I realised I hadn’t got any double cream to decorate the cake with. I was doing really well here, so organised or what? I had to go up to our local Morrisons and grab a pot. It ended up being a shopping trip for several items we were low on like milk and bread! I certainly wasn’t sticking to the 2 1/2 hour time limit that they had on the Bake Off! I had started this at 10am and it was now about 2.30pm!
To decorate the cake I whipped a 300ml pot of cream gently.
The cream was whipped up but I think I whipped it up too much. It just wouldn’t spread properly and it didn’t look very much. You could still see the crumbs through the topping. What a mess!
The cake was decorated with the whipped cream and drizzled lemon curd. The GBBO version had passionfruit on it. I couldn’t find any passionfruit in the shops so I used some yellow and white Dr Oetker wafer daisies to complement the colours of the cake.
So what was the verdict? My hubby found the cake to be very sweet and sickly. He didn’t like it and fed it to our dog! The children didn’t fancy it because they didn’t like the lemon curd on it. I had a small piece, the sponge tasted light and airy but it wasn’t worth all the faffing and the effort. If I make it again I will make it when I have no distractions or time constraints!
I would love to know how you’ve got on if you have baked the cake .
Here is the recipe if you are brave enough to have a go yourself:
A slice of Angel Cake cut up for pudding.
The rest of the cake.
Love Sam xx