Tonight a fresh bunch of 12 amateur home bakers from across Ireland will hit our screen as the Great Irish Bake Off returns. As a contestant from last year’s show I know all too well how they will be feeling about now. They will know everything- when they went out, their good bakes, their not so good bakes, when their mistakes were made, who cries when, who stand out when and of course the big secret; who has won. What they won’t know is perhaps one of the most frightening things however, and I remember having many discussions last year with my fellow contestants about this. I’m talking about the editing process.
The bake off is filmed in advance, normally a few months in advance. This is the case for almost every international version of the original Great British Bake Off. It allows the editor’s time to perfect the final reel, obtain any additional footage and the marketing side gets a better chance at promoting the whole series in order to gain a bit of interest. The reason I’m mentioning this is because I have come to understand that this series only finished filming around 4 weeks ago. We had over 3 months of waiting before episode 1 and 5 months from when the final was filmed to when it was on air (this was particularly difficult for me as I had won). What I’m getting at in this intro to the real reason why many of you are on my blog, to see how to make this cake, is that I’m slightly concerned that the series has been rushed out a little. Of course I want to see it succeed and that those involved will get what they want out of being on it but it wouldn’t be fair to them if it doesn’t present them in the way it could. On the bright side for the contestants they won’t be experiencing ‘the fear’ for as long as we first 12 did!
Time for this recipe-when baking is mentioned the first thing to spring to mind is cake so naturally episode 1 is cake orientated. Last year in our signature bake we had to make 12 cupcakes which could be up to 2 different flavours and faced a Genoise Sponge for our technical challenge. I made Sourdough Carrot Cake cupcakes and Passion Fruit cupcakes in this round and then placed 1st in the technical, a good week considering cake is maybe my least favourite area of baking!
This year in their first challeneg the bakers have been asked to make a cake that represents their personality, a ‘getting to know you cake’. The technical will be under wraps until the show is live so we will see what they’ve been faced with then! So I have decided to link this post to the show’s challenge and do a ‘get to know me’ cake. My preferred style of cake is French Patisserie and/or ‘naked cakes’. Fondant Icing cakes turn me, I hate the stuff. This cake is a shout out to the Fraisier cake with its strawberry decoration but the mousse filling differs from the traditional crème patisserie. To finish is a thin layer of not too sweet Italian meringue blowtorched for some colour. This incorporates a lot of the elements in baking which appeal to me most and overall it is relatively uncomplicated, a little patience and an eye for perfection will go a long way!
You will need:
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
225g fruit puree
3 gelatine leaves
225g Greek yogurt
85g caster sugar
2 egg whites
Fresh Strawberries, sliced in half
2 egg whites
35g caster sugar
How to do it:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Line the base of a 6inch/15cm round tin with baking paper.
- Beat the whole eggs and sugar together on full speed for at least 5 minutes until very thick and pale. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds more. It is ready when the mixture ‘ribbons’ on the surface when drizzled from the beaters.
- Add a pinch of salt to the flour then sift half over the egg mix and start to fold in gently until evenly mixed. Sift the rest of the sugar over and fold together until no flour is visible.
- Pour into the prepared tin, tap on the surface a few times to remove air bubbles then bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- For the puree; place the gelatine leaves into a bowl of water and leave for 10 minutes. Heat ½ the puree in a pan for 2 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the gelatine leaves and mix into the warm puree until dissolved completely. Add in the remaining puree.
- Meanwhile beat the egg whites until soft peaks then start to add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff. Mix the yogurt with the puree then fold in the meringue mix.
- To assemble slice the cake in two. Line the cake tin with some cling film and place 1 half of the cake at the bottom. Arrange the strawberries, cut side facing out, around the edge of the inside of the cake pan. Pour over the mousse until it just covers the top of the strawberries. Top with the other half of the cake. Put into the fridge for the mousse to set for at least 2 hours.
- Follow step 6 to make a meringue with the remaining ingredients (or make an Italian meringue with 2 tbsp water) and use a knife to spread over the top of the cake. Either use a kitchen blowtorch or place under a hot grill for a few minutes to colour the meringue.
So I hope you feel up to giving this and that you can tune in or catch up on tonight’s episode of the Great Irish Bake Off. Maybe I’ll give the technical challenge a go too!
Thanks for reading,