Thursday, 30 May 2013

Decisions

1. Butter or margarine? Not really a decision for me as unsalted butter is all I ever use to bake as I don't think you can beat the flavour, although Mary Berry might disagree
 
 
2. Golden or white caster sugar? After some research I've found that white seems to dissolve into the fat better whereas the golden leaves small crystals that appear on the surface of the cake.

 
3. Plain Flour with added baking powder or self raising? I use self raising because the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout the flour... although I added an extra half teaspoon of baking powder just for good measure!

 
4. To add vanilla or not? I do because I like the flavour.

 
5. Weigh the eggs and add equal amounts of the other ingredients or go for standard weights? I tried both ways and found 4 large eggs with 225g of flour, butter and sugar seem to work best and give a softer mix and less dry cake.

 
However, all these decisions fade into insignificance when faced with the prospect of making the perfect Victoria Sponge, in an unfamiliar kitchen, start to finish in just one hour.  That's right... tins prepared, ingredients weighed, everything mixed (by hand, no electric gadgets allowed), cakes baked, cooled, filled and assembled with both jam and whipped cream in sixty minutes flat.

 
I've had a few trial runs just making the cake and have got the mixing and baking down to 40 - 45 minutes but there is no way the cake will ever be cool enough to fill. I had a proper timed go this morning and as I predicted the filling melted into a gloopy mess.

 
It tasted okay (even though I am not a fan of cream in cakes)...  but this doesn't exactly look like a prize winning cake now does it?

 
I've decided I shall bung my cooling cakes in the fridge and if that's not allowed I will refuse to add the cream!
 
Wish me luck for Saturday!

28 comments:

  1. Use clotted cream? It has a higher melt point.

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  2. Oh my word, gloopy or not, that looks mighty scrummy. Where in Cambridge? What time? I'll try to pop along. Much luck, Ax

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  3. Baking under a time constraint doesn't sound like any fun at all!! I hope all goes well for you Saturday, and at least all other bakers will be in the same quandary regarding the cream filling ... take some large ice packs to sit under the cooling racks? who knows ... Best of luck!! Wendy

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  4. Your cakes look amazing so I know you can do it! I just wish I lived next door to you to "help" out with all those experiments:)

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  5. Fingers crossed for Saturday. I know that anything I baked could never look as tempting as yours with or without gloopy cream. x Jo

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  6. Oh, good luck. Adding icing sugar or cornflour to the whipped cream is sometimes recommended to help stabilise it so that might prevent unwanted 'gloopage'.

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  7. Good luck for Saturday Gina!
    Can I make one suggestion? get rid of the French butter and use English!!

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  8. Good luck,I am sure you will produce another wonderful cake. x

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  9. Things never cool quickly when you need them to and an hour isn't long. At least you'll all be in the same boat.
    Good luck, though I'm sure you won't need it.

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  10. Best wishes for Saturday. Your cakes always look fab!

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  11. Just tell them a Victoriaa Sandwich Cake shouldn't have cream in it! They won't pass their GCE. Sorry that shows my age. Good Luck I wouldn't mind eating the results cream or not.
    Annys

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  12. Surely you stop the clock for cooling time! All that beating by hand will give you biceps of steel - cant remember when I last made a cake without at least a hand mixer.. Good luck!

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  13. I agree with your methods of baking the cake. 1 hour is far too short a time to allow the cake to cool. Good Luck on Sat at least you will all be working under the same conditions.

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  14. Best of British baking to you! Nomnomnomnom :-)

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  15. Oh, best of luck on Saturday!
    Would splitting the layers make it cool faster? Would that be allowed? Just a thought.

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  16. lol - getting technical now Gina. that cake looks so fab and eatable. GOOD LUCK on Saturday!

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  17. Good luck on Saturday. But I would definitely stick with the unsalted butter. Margarine is nasty stuff. It has 27 of the same ingredients as house paint, & was first made to fatten Turkeys but was killing them so they made it yellow & started selling it to us :-(
    Hugs Elizabeth xxx

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  18. Gina, your sponge cake is another that I would gladly test for you.

    All the same, an hour doesn't sound like much time for all the processes required. I guess that the oven will be preheated? Is it possible to connect with a contestant in a previous competition who might offer an "on stage" tip?

    Best wishes to you for all that occurs. There's no doubt in my mind that you are a champion baker, among other talents. xo

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  19. Wishing you very good luck Gina.

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  20. Good luck on Saturday Gina! I would happily eat a slice of the cake.
    Cliff has two ideas I'll pass on...
    - use a CO2 fire extinguisher to cool the cake (probably risky but dramatic for the audience)
    - put cold jam on both bottom and upper cake to prevent heat getting to the cream (clever idea, may work)

    I think he's hinting that he wants me to bake a cake!!
    xx

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  21. Oh Gina Good Luck for Saturday - hope it all goes well. They really cannot expect you to fill a cake when not cooled - but I am sure it will work out absolutely fine - can you freeze the whipped cream before putting it in the cake? Look forward to hearing how you got on.

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  22. I am sure it will all go well, you are a master at adapting to circumstances! Good luck xx

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  23. Good luck, all I can add is that everyone will be in the same situation.

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  24. Good luck with the baking - I'm sure you will rise to the challenge in your usual delicious way.

    If your collage lucky dip is still going I would love to be in it.

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  25. wow - no electric machines and you get a rise like that!! - good luck

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  26. I am late, so it is probably all done by now. How did it go?

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  27. Blimey that's all a bit technical for me I just bung it all in and hope for the best. We're used to cooking failures in this house, it goes with the territory.

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