Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Passion For Baking - Cake Competition

Jo Wheatley is the winner of Great British Bake Off Series II (2011).
The show takes non-professional bakers and puts them through a series of challenges and each week a contestant is eliminated.  The next series is due to be aired in a few weeks time and I am looking forward to watching it!

Jo has recently published her book, A Passion for Baking and it's a well written book.  No long and fancy ingredient lists and most of all, I love it when the author adds a note about the recipe, whether it's one of a family member's favourite or a creation for a get-together with friends.  It is like the author is sharing a bit about their life and I like that friendly touch. :)

So, to celebrate her book launch, Jo hosted a competition ~ the prize was to win a day on one of her Masterclasses that she runs from her home.  We were to bake the Chocolate Birthday Cake from her book and include the book in the photo to show that we had followed her recipe.

Here was my take on it:

I made modelling chocolate with dark and then white chocolate which I used to hand make some roses, leaves and butterflies.  Modelling chocolate I've said somewhere else before is really odd stuff.  Its stiff and hard yet gets greasy when warm.  Not fun at all.
The cake was filled with chocolate ganache which piped in rosettes and attempted piped roses (like they do on cupcakes with butter-cream) I don't think my nozzle is quite the right shape :p  I decided last minute to make some  honeycomb (also known as cinder toffee, hokey-pokey).  This was fine except that overnight in a cake it kind of melts and ends up being like chewy toffee.

It was a great recipe but I think my execution was wrong.  I don't think my oven works that well and when I checked the cake after its allocated baking time it was definitely not ready.  I ended up over-baking it :(
Piped chocolate ganache swirls was a bad idea too as its pretty firm on cooling and it meant the cake was hard to slice.  The knife couldn't cut through the ganache and so would drag it down squashing the cake.  Perhaps I should have used a hot knife?

Nevertheless, I entered the competition.  I didn't win or get chosen as one of the six finalists.  The cake looked pretty though :p  Oh, I think it coincided with Father's Day as well as my neighbour's birthday so we shared some cake with our neighbour too :)


  1. Win or lose I'll definitely vote for your cake! I agree on the modelling chocolate. Most of the blogs I read said that also.

    1. Thank you Texas Food Handlers :)
      I wish I could send you a piece (not that there is cake still hanging around though)

      I will have to remember to post how I made the honeycomb. It involved boiling sugar and bicarbonate of soda! Explosive stuff! :p

  2. How do you pipe the rosettes? And with what kinda icing? I really gotta learn some cake deco from you, do you accept students? :p

    1. I used cooled chocolate ganache to pipe rosettes. When chocolate ganache is warm, it is runny and makes a thick shiny sauce that can be poured to cover cakes. It stiffens on cooling and you can use to spread as cake filling, to sandwich biscuits together and even meringues/macarons.
      I used my largest star nozzle I had, started in the centre and piped a star and before breaking the ganache, I circled the star with a swirl of ganache.
      Students? Oh my! I'm honoured! :D