Can you believe it is Finals week already in the big white baking tent? It is extra sad this year, because as this seventh series draws to a close, it also brings with it an end to an era for the Great British Bake Off. I do wonder what will happen in 2017 to the format and its presenters and its move to Channel 4. I really hope it will continue to be first class entertainment as it has been on the BBC. Of course there are also rumours that the BBC will start a new show with Mary and possibly Mel and Sue. All I do know, is that it is all change which I think is a shame.
Anyway, enough doom and gloom, back to tonights show. So the theme was Fit for a Queen and the baking categories were:
Signature : A filled meringue crown (3 layers)
Technical : Victoria Sandwich
As I write this a couple of hours before the final episode is aired, I am thinking that Candice is my favourite to win BUT I do think that Andrew has really come back in the last couple of weeks, and I think he could be the surprise winner. Anyway, by the time this is published it will be over and the 2016 winner will be crowned.
Talking of crowns, I have made a rather abstract cake this week , going on what I read about this weeks themes and having chatted with some other #GBBOBloggers2016, I decided to incorporate possibly two of the categories into one bake. I have no idea if this is right of course, the is the trouble baking ahead of the show, BUT what is done is done, and there is no going back! Last Sunday, I decided to get creative and make a Victoria Sponge with 4 layers, and instead of being flavoured with vanilla, the sponge contained elderflower cordial. I layered it with Strawberry jam and then once sandwiched together, I covered the cake in elderflower flavoured buttercream.
Now, I wanted to make a Meringue crown to sit on top of my cake. I had no idea if I was actually going to be able to construct this from meringue, but I gave it a go anyway. I made a base , the size of which made by tracing the 8 inch sponge tin that I made my Victoria sponges in, which was like a pavlova which was all chewy and mallow like – scrumptious! Anyway, so with the remaining meringue mixture i placed it inside a piping bag and piped long, thin triangle and some straight lines, which I hoped I would be able to stick onto my base to make my crown peaks. Well, once baked, these piped meringue pieces were too fragile and crumbly, so I had to just use the tops of each triangle which is why they are not as elegant or tall as I had initially planned for!
Before ‘crowning’ my cake I melted some white chocolate and spread all but a small bit of it over the top of the cake, and allowed some to drip down the sides. I stuck silver edible balls on to the drips, and some strawberry slices. I don’t know with hindsight, if this was a good idea. Maybe I should have just left it plain, with only the buttercream surrounding it, but in for a penny and all that! As I say, this is a rather abstract cake!
I stuck the meringue base on to the top of the cake, and then I whipped up some double cream which I flavoured with more elderflower cordial, and spread that on to the meringue. Then using the remaining melted white chocolate, I stuck the meringue shapes on to the front and front sides of the meringue base, and stuck a silver ball to each one too. Finally, I added some more sliced strawberries to the cream and some more silver balls – for some extra bling – and sprayed all over it with some edible gold glitter spray.
It is not perfect by any means. A little rough around the edges, but I think it fits the brief. It was totally off the cuff, I had an idea for a cake and it kind of worked. Whether the Queen would be happy to be presented with it, well she might look at it and think how odd it looks, but it tasted delicious! I think it is a typical Mummy Mishaps kind of cake!
Here is how I made this epic Strawberries and Cream Meringue Crown Cake
- 400g butter
- 400g caster sugar
- 8 eggs
- 2 tsp Elderflower cordial
- 400g self raising flour
- strawberry jam
- 75g butter
- 150g icing sugar
- dash of milk
- 1 tsp Elderflower Cordial
- 4 egg whites (I used the 4 yolks in one of the sponges)
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g icing sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 2 tsp elderflower cordial
- 1 punnet of fresh strawberries
- edible silver balls
- 125g white chocolate
- edible gold glitter spray
- *for the meringue*
- Preheat the oven 110oC / 100C (fan)
- Place the 4 egg whites (save the yolks for the cake sponges) into a large clean mixing bowl and beat them on a medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture stands up in stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted.
- Turn the speed up and gradually add the sugar slowly, just a spoonful at a time, alternating between caster and icing sugar
- Do not over whisk!
- When it is ready, the meringue mixture should be thick and glossy
- Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper, and on one draw round the base of an 8 inch sponge tin *(the same as the ones used for the main cake). Pour on ¾ of the meringue and smooth to for inside the circle you have drawn.
- Fill a piping bag with the remaining meringue and pipe some tall peaks - fingers crossed these will work for you!
- Bake for approx 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4 hours until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath
- Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack.
- *To make the cakes*
- Pre heat the oven to 180oC / 160oC (fan)
- Grease and line your 4 x 8 inch baking tins (or, as I did, use my 2 x 8 inch tins twice)
- Cream together your butter and sugar until pale and creamy
- Add your eggs and the elderflowers cordial and beat well
- Add sifted flour and fold until just combined
- Pour into your prepared cake tins and bake until cooked - about 20-25 minutes
- Leave to cool
- *make the buttercream*
- beat the butter for a few minutes until it is soft
- add the icing sugar, slowly and in smaller quantities , and add the elderflower cordial and beat until smooth .
- add the milk - just a little to start with until your buttercream is soft and smooth and a nice consistency.
- Once cool, sandwich each sponge with jam and then cover the entire cake, from top to bottom and all over, with the buttercream
- Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes
- Melt the white chocolate, and also whip the double cream with the elderflower cordial, until thick but not stiff and leave to one side
- Remove your cake from the fridge
- Pour over the white chocolate (but leave a small amount about a spoonful) and if it drips down the cake thats fine
- Put the meringue base on top of the cake to sit on top of the melted white chocolate
- Cover the sides of the cake with some strawberry halves and silver balls.
- Top the meringue with the cream
- Add the crown peaks and stick to the meringue with the remaining white chocolate, and stick a silver ball to each peak
- Then top the cream with strawberry slices and more silver balls
- Spray the cake and the meringue with the gold spray for a regal look
I used ingredients purchased from Tesco this week – I have to be honest I do most weeks ! So thank you to them for my voucher . I use their value strawberry jam in all my bakes (and Jenson’s sandwiches) I think it is great, and I always buy their value chocolate for baking because it lets well and tastes really nice.
On your marks, get set and baaaaaake!!!!!
So as it is finals week at last, I can reveal the magnificent prizes that have been kindly donated by my #GBBOBloggers2016 sponsor – Tesco who have been brilliant at allowing 30 of us to receive a £20 gift voucher to bake with during this series bake along. Thank you to them again, because here are the 3 prizes which 3 lucky bloggers will win if they are named Star Baker by an independent judge – yes I will not be judging the final , a person from Tesco bakery will instead 🙂 I think you will agree that these prize bundles are amazing!
So here are the rules for this final bake along linky for 2016:
Anyone of you who have linked up at least once to my #GBBOBloggers2016 linky is allowed to enter to be in with a chance of winning one of these prize bundles. You need to enter a bake inspired by tonights i.e., the final show – you can be abstract like me or follow a recipe more closely. You know how it works, as many of you have done this a few times now. I have extended the deadline so you have a week from today to link up your amazing showstopper.
I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported this bake along – it would not work without your bakes, your time and love of the show and I love our little #GBBOBloggers community. I also want to thank Tesco and the other brands who have generously supported this bake along, it means so much to me. I really hope we will be able to do this again next year . Good luck to you all and I cannot wait to see all of your magnificent bakes xxx