Sunday, 30 October 2016

One Last Challenge

I had expected something really challenging for the last technical challenge of the Great British Bake Off 2016... An extravagant gateau, an elegant pandoro or a towering croquembouche... especially a croquembouche because I want an excuse to make one... so I was quite taken aback when it was announced that the bakers had to make a simple Victoria Sponge.


Surely any half decent baker can make a Victoria sponge even without instructions? And this is the final challenge! But then I remembered my experience with the "Spongy sponge" and thought perhaps I was being too blase and so I challenged myself to make the best Victoria Sponge I possibly could, without instructions just like the three finalists in the show.


And it was then that I started to realise how many decisions there were to be made and the controversy surrounding such a simple bake. I know Mary Berry prefers the all in one method, which also requires adding extra baking powder to the mix, and she is not adverse to using margarine which I cannot abide (the list of ingredients on the side of any margarine tub is so off putting and it tastes revolting), although she claims it gives a lighter bake. I opted for the creaming method and butter. I weighed my eggs in their shells (four of them) and then used equal quantities of butter, white caster sugar and sifted self raising flour plus a couple of tablespoons of milk. I also like to add half a teaspoon of vanilla to my sponge. This mixture was baked in two 8" tins at 180 deg C for 25 mins.


Then there is the filling... apparently the W.I. says absolutely nothing other than raspberry jam, definitely no fresh cream or buttercream, but that does sound rather frugal, so I went with challenge on the show to add buttercream. Other times I might be tempted to add fresh cream and even some fresh fruit. First of all I made my raspberry jam using 120g raspberries and 135g jam sugar which made just the right quantity for a good thick coating. I would usually reach for a good jar of ready made jam but it did taste lovely and fresh and not too much effort to make my own.
 

The buttercream was made with 100g butter, 200g icing sugar and a splash of milk and vanilla... and I went to the trouble of piping it, which I wouldn't normally do. I thought it looked quite pretty until a friend on Facebook said it looked like a grinning set of dentures! She's not wrong!


But I was actually really pleased with the result and as my Mum and two of my boys joined us for lunch today it disappeared rapidly with second helpings for some! It tasted quite delicious and I declared it was probably not such a bad technical challenge after all. And although buttercream might not be for the Victoria Sponge purists, it certain makes it taste rather scrummy!


So that is all ten technical challenges from this year's show tackled... and another sixty by sixty challenge crossed off my list! 


Joining in with Jenny from Mummy Mishaps who has very kindly hosted this blog link up over the past ten weeks for the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016

Mummy Mishaps

25 comments:

  1. Even if your cake photo looks like grinning dentures, I am sure it did not look like that in real life! It looks really yummy. I could never be bothered weighing eggs so I always stuck to a sponge sandwich, not nearly as complicated. When I was growing up raspberry jam was mixed in with the butter cream rather than being spread in a separate layer - probably just a Aussie variation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can't beat a good Victoria sponge and that certainly looks like a good Victoria sponge!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That looks divine Gina. I don't know about looking like a set of dentures, but I'd like to get my dentures around a slice or two! Speaking metaphorically of course as I don't have any dentures... yet. What will you do now the GBBO is over? Wednesday night won't be the same.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are few things more delicious than a Victoria sponge and a pot of tea and I'd love a slice if your cake with my cuppa Gina.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sometimes even the 'simple' things take skill to get a good result. That looks like a prize winner to me and I'd love a slice with a good cuppa.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 'deceptively simple' was the phrase that sprang to mind when Imsaw the bakers being given this challenge. With something as simple as a victoria aponge, there is nowhere to hide! Yours looks delicious Hina. Well done on all your challenges. Queen Mary would be proud of you! X

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is a very nice looking victoria sponge!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah, you can't beat a classic (we've always called it a Victoria sandwich up here) and yours looks exceedingly good.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your sponge looks letter than those on the Bake Off, I suggest you try to get on the show next year, you really are so incredibly talented

    ReplyDelete
  10. It looks the perfect Victoria Sandwich to me :) x

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was intrigued to see if they would use margarine or not as I know Mary is a fan of that, it wasn't mentioned though was it! I am sure that your cake was delicious!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great bake Gina. I too prefer the creaming in method rather than all-in-one. Personally love the look of piped buttercream or cream to sandwich together sponges, so I fair chucled when I read what your friend had said about the dentures :-)
    Angela x

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't stand cakes made with margarine, butter has all the taste for me! Your sponge looks great,

    ReplyDelete
  14. You scare me with talk of weighing eggs in the shell and ratios of ingredients. I didn't realize the science behind a sponge cake. I would never doubted that you use butter and make your own raspberry jam to fill the cake. The piped buttercream looks amazing, and yes, a bit like dentures haha! Your family must be so happy you have been joining this bake off.

    ReplyDelete
  15. i showed this to my youngest and he agreed it looks delicious! a Victoria sponge with buttercream, is such a yummy cake and such a classic bake. Yours looks so good and i would love to sample a slice or 3!
    Thank you so much for baking along this year, it has been lovely meeting you :)
    Good luck with this final bake x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been a pleasure to join in Jenny.

      Delete
  16. Well done on completing the marathon Bake Off challenges! I too was rather surprised that the last challenge was a Victoria sponge ...and dare I say it, but yours looks nicer than the t.v finalists'cakes!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think the piping looks very professional not like dentures at all. I like the nice dome of your cake, thought Mary was wrong when she said it should be flat, look much nicer rounded. Well done you for doing all the technicals, which look very successful. I

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm so glad you said that about a rounded sponge. A flat sponge looks like it hasn't risen properly and I've no idea how she does it!

      Delete
  18. PERFECT!!! and I love your sixty by sixty challenges... You are so brilliant to tackle the technicals! I wish I was as brave you Gina xxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations. It's interesting to make the technical challenges, I didn't think of that. Maybe next year, if I'm going to bake again.
    You sponge looks fab. I like it with homemade jam and buttercream too. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've often thought about trying the technical bakes but this is the first time that I have done it

      Delete
  20. Oh YUM!!! I saw this on Instagram and I'm pretty sure I drooled a bit on my phone. I looks absolutely fantastic Gina!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to read what you have to say and try to reply directly by email when possible... although it sometimes takes me a while!