And so the end is here, as we face the final curtain.
It’s been a long ten weeks filled with highs and lows, great tastes and bad tastes, but somehow we’ve reached the end of this little experiment.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this week’s final bake, a little bit of housekeeping: unlike the contestants, I did use Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge recipe, rather than try and make it up as I go along. I have made Victoria Sponges before, and successfully I may add (I’m sure it’s something that a lot of other people have done as well), but I wanted to end this streak of challenges on a high (especially after the disaster that was last week’s Savarin) – but I’m thankful that I did.
WEEK 10: Victoria Sponge
Though it was much deliberated by the contestants, Mary Berry’s words of wisdom state that you should use the all-in-one method, which is exactly what I did. There’s not a lot to really pick apart with this part of the method, other than to make sure that your butter is substantially creamed into the mixture. Even after using both an electric whisk and a spoon, there were little chunks of butter that were there mocking me, and the last thing I wanted was for there to be chunks of butter in the actual sponge. Patience I think was the key word here.
Rather than opting for a straight-out-of-the-jam-jar jam, I did have another go at making the jam from scratch a second time. Though my pan is once again in need of another deep clean, it worked just as well as it had when making the Bakewell Tart. Although, as we found out when we sampled the cake, the jam was rather chewy. Having left the jam to set (as instructed), it was a very stiff consistency. So what I really needed was a solution to making it more liquidy and… you know, more like jam. It did taste good so, you know, can’t knock it too much.
Piping definitely isn’t my strong point. I don’t know they worked with the Viennese
Whirls way back in Week 2, but I still have a long way to go before I become a master of the piping bag. As you can see from this disgraceful photo below, the interior piping went a bit haywire. In my defense, after scooping the buttercream into the bag, it would appear that a surviving chunk of butter had found its way inside, and incidentally blocked the nozzle attachment. Hence why it is very important to make sure all your butter is creamed thoroughly.
(When I read some of these sentences back, I can understand why baking terms can often be interpreted as innuendos!)
All in all, this was a good one to go out on. The sponge probably could have come out a little earlier to retain its golden-brown finish. It does look a little overdone, though tastes far from it, and I have yet to achieve the flat surface rather than the mound that I got.
So there we have it. Ten weeks, ten bakes and ten posts.
And since this is the last chance I’ll get to bother you with my rambling words for a while, I’ve ranked each week from best to worst.
- FOUGASSE BREAD (WEEK 6) – I couldn’t stop thinking about that bread right through into the next challenge. It looked great, it tasted fantastic and the only criticisms were that it was a tad too salty (easily fixable) and the slits to make the leaf shape were not wide enough (but who cares). It’s the one that out of everything, I really want to make again.
- VIENNESE WHIRLS (WEEK 2) – Was stupendously happy with these ones, especially for Week 2. Some of them were a bit big and they did crumble quite easily, but the taste (though very sweet) was marvellous and a real motivator that I could actually do these challenges.
- VICTORIA SPONGE (WEEK 1o) – the jam was a bit tough and the sponge a bit brown, but the taste was as good as you’d expect and was a great way to end this Bake Off challenge.
- MARJOLAINE (WEEK 7) – odd how I’ve placed this quite high despite absolutely hating the process and still never want to bake with nuts again. But even though it didn’t look much like it should have, it actually tasted pretty great. I still wouldn’t make it again though any time soon.
- JUMBLE BISCUITS (WEEK 8) – loved the presentation of these and the taste was pretty good, if not unusual.
- BAKEWELL TART (WEEK 5) – pastry was a little overcooked and the flavours were heavy but very sweet. Was the first time I’d ever made one of these and for a first time, I think I did a good job.
- DAMPFNUDEL (WEEK3) – never thought I’d be able to say (1) I know what they are and (2), I have made them. These were very unusual – steamed bread, whatever next – and though they did taste a bit doughy, they would have been great with some icing.
- JAFFA CAKES (WEEK 1) – despite the fact they tasted alright, the presentation was just way off. But hey, it was Week 1. That was only in the beginning.
- LACY PANCAKES (WEEK 4) – bit hard to rank this one because this was more to do with artistic talents with a squeezy bottle, something I didn’t really have that day. All good fun nonetheless.
- SAVARIN (WEEK 9) – the fact that the sponge or bread or whatever you want to call it was so dry, it was practically inedible and literally and shamefully had to be thrown away.
Do you agree with my rankings? Or do you think I’ve got it wrong somewhere down the line?
Thank you for sticking with me throughout these weeks and come back for more ramblings about life, or other challenges I put to myself.
You can also follow me on Twitter @jm00re497
Until the next time, there’s no more from me.