Ok, I am going to be real with you. I have had some serious doubts about doing this WHOLE challenge this week. Part of the time, I doubt my own abilities to be good enough to do any of these bakes and the other part of the time, I am thinking...who is crazy enough to self-inflict these many man hours in their kitchen, not to mention writing and documenting this...face palm... But then I see new recipes and make like 23 pounds of different cookie dough for fun, So I guess, I am just a crazy B.
Ok so this technical. Again, I will say it I am not a Brit and I hope that I am not doing these cakes a disservice. I have taken it upon my find some Brits in the #atx area to be voluntary taste testers... or maybe I just shove baked goods down their mouth hole... either way, I want to make sure that I am doing these cakes right.
Now, this is my first technical bake and it's kind of tricky because the contestants don't know what they are baking ahead of time AND they get a stripped down version of the recipe. It's going to be the exact opposite for me. But for this I did not read through the whole recipe ahead of time and concentrated on just the ingredients and a wing and a prayer (where did that saying come from anyway???), Since this is a Mary Berry's recipe and I did find "her" recipe from bbc.com (recipe below), I decided to start off with what I know and did her infamous "all-in-one-method." Meaning, I didn't start by creaming the sugar and butter and whisk together the dry ingredients separately. Nope. I just put all that goodness together from the start.
Let's talk about those little things called glace´ cherries. Well, first off I could not find any at my local supermarkets. Cut to my aggravated to my face. Granted, I did not go to every single grocery store in the Austin area and, hopefully, I will stumble upon an awesome British goods store around here soon (fingers crossed). This is where you are asking if I know about the interwebs. Yes, I know about technology....sometimes. But I honestly didn't want to have to wait for shipping or pay extra (yes, I have Prime) for goods to be shipped across the pond. Then, through all the Google research I did... I kept running across candied cherries, which many websites listed them the same as glace´ cherries. I then found a recipe to make my own (below) which is essentially just taking maraschino cherries and simmering them in their juice cocktail with sugar for awhile. Does this make a good fake glace´ cherry? I do not know. But they looked similar to the cherries that I have seen on the show and "candied" feel to them. I stored them in an airtight container until I was ready to use them.
Ok, lady... just tell us about the bake already.
I'm getting there! All in all, I felt like it was pretty straight forward bake. Now, would I have thought this about 5 years ago, before I was consistently pre-heating my oven? I might not have. But if you make cakes... you will be able to tackle this one. And I can see why the Brits call this a classic, because when I first bit into it... I thought it tasted yummy and would be extra DELICIOUS with a good cup of tea. Cutting through my cake I felt that texture was good and springy to the touch. There was nice color due to the butter greased in my tin (a new one! I ordered just for this challenge). And... the greatest part is that my cherries were evenly disbursed (yay! #bakewin). Full disclosure, I accidentally saw that part of the directions as I was making sure I had all my ingredients: RINSE AND FLOUR THE CHERRIES... not gonna lie, I would have totally forgotten to do that and who knows what my cake would have looked like. I have a feeling I am going to get good at baking cakes with fruit in it during this #bakeoff! I will be vigilant about the size of my fruit and to make sure that it is not too wet, large, small, and properly floured to get that disbursement juuuuuuust right.
Alright, I do have one (another) confession. I forgot to buy SLICED ALMONDS! The garnish.... But I did have whole almonds...so I improvised (as one should), I rough chopped them up, toasted them for a few minutes and added them in for my garnish. Still had a great crunch. I'm glad I got that off my chest though. Whew.
The entire bake took about 1:35 to 1:40 min -- IRL, I had to leave and do adult life things while the cake was cooling but otherwise I timed the bake from start to finish (weighing the ingredients to finishing the last drizzle). You be the judge on how my technical challenge turned out, below.
If...a big IF...if there is one thing that I might change from this recipe- Don't look at me like that! I know it's a Mary Berry recipe... Stop. Looking. At. Me. Like. That.
I would add a little bit more lemon juice to the icing to give it a tad more tartness and acidity... I think it would punch it beautifully. (See, that wasn't that bad... Mary Berry still likes me.... sigh... I wish). That's it for now... I have been planning my showstopper in my brain all day. My 36 mini-cake showstopper. Yikes. If you listen very closely, you can hear my heart pounding (and maybe some nervous farting).
Until then... Happy baking. Happy eating. Happy repeating.
(yes, that's me trying to record a drizzle and hold my phone....yes, that's the Gilmore Guys podcast playing in the background...#gilmoregirls for life, baby!)
The Recipes, like I promised.
If you want to see all the recipes I am interested in...follow me on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/danadoesthings/
Make your own GLACÉ CHERRY INGREDIENTS:
All you need for this is a 16 oz jar of maraschino cherries and 3/4 cup of sugar. And about 20-30 min of your time. Seriously.
CLASSIC CHERRY CAKE INGREDIENTS:
Baking & Spices
Nuts & Seeds