Bake along with Bake Off: Week Two – Viennese Whirls

So this week Bake Off saw biscuit week. My heart sank, as i struggle making biscuits. It comes down to trust, I don’t trust or understand these popular British snacks. As they need to be left to firm up whilst cooling, and I am always worried they’ll be under baked.
I decided to try Viennese Whirls, once again attempting the technical challenge. Again, I found the recipe through the BBC website. After assessing the pantry and realising I had nothing in I popped to the shops. I was lucky to get jam sugar, as there was literally one

left on the shelves at Waitrose (I tried Lidil first, but they didn’t even have raspberry jam!). When I got all the ingredients home, I measured everything out and started on the aspect of this I was most comfortable about: the jam.
I felt nervous about this as I was vaguely aware of how easy it is to get hurt from boiling jam, or to burn jam and damage a pan. I mashed the fruit, and popped it on to boil with the sugar whilst I started mixing the butter cream icing. I always find buttercream is a messy, time consuming aspect of baking. I alternated between mixing my jam and buttercream, to be efficient and stop my jam from catching. At the second stage of the jam, I popped the lid on the pan and left the mix boil away, stopping it from bubbling over by lifting the lid multiple times. When this had finished boiling I put this into a glass dish to cool whilst I worked on the biscuit dough.

The dough came together really easily, and per the recommendations at the bottom of the recipie I decanted the dough into a piping bag and placed it to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. I them preheated the oven, paced down some grass proof paper and started to line the spots for the paper.

When the 15 minutes were up, I took the dough out of the fridge to start piping the biscuits. The dough was so hard and unforgiving, it as really difficult to pipe into the shapes. I can see why the contestants struggled this week, I warmed the dough between my hands and it far improved this.


When all three trays had the pipped dough, i popped them into the over to bake and removed them after twelve minutes. I left them onto the side to cool, and then transfers them to a wire rack. Next came a stage that mimicked this weeks bake off again: when I applied the jam and buttercream to each biscuit some of them began to crumble and snap. These biscuits needed a gentle hand.
I sandwiched the jam and buttercream sides together and divvied them up between my, and my partners family and tried my first biscuit. Viennese Whirls have never been a favourite biscuit, and they never will be. They tasted nice, and were a touch over sweet for me. My thought whilst eating this, was that I would have far preferred a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.

Ultimately these looked lovely, they received really positive fed back from my family, and when I was next in the kitchen all the biscuits had been eaten. Would I make these again? As a gift for someone who loved them, potentially, otherwise there are many other bakes I prefer.
Now I’m getting nervous for bread week. I’ve made soda bread before, and I often make bread in my bread maker, but kneading dough by hand isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.

Are you baking along too?
-Emily

Bake Along With Bake Off: Week One, Jaffa Cakes


On Wednesday, like many others across the country, I tuned into watch the first episode of Bake Off. With minimal derision I tweeted my way through the show, picking out my early favourites (Selasi, Candice, Benjamina), and commenting that I wanted to attempt either Jaffa Cakes or the Mirror Cake. Cue Alice from Wooden Windowsills asking if I as going to partake in Bake Along With Bake Off, a series created by Amanda and Ala.

So it all started off ok, I inspected the pantry and established the only thing I needed was some Orange Jelly. a quick trip to the local coop saw me returning with two packets, one to act as a back up in case of a mistake.

I got all my ingredients out, and brought Mary Berry’s recipe for Jaffa Cakes up on the BBC Food website. I started by making my Jelly, per the packet instructions and popping it to set in the fridge. Next was the sponge base, after measuring out the ingredients I looked at the orange I had put in the side perplexed and realised I had forgotten to add grated zest to my jelly. I quickly zested the orange, and added it to my jelly mix (crisis averted).


Back to the sponge, I used my electric mixer to get as much air into the eggs and sugar as possible, and after about seven minutes I added the flour by folding it into the mixture. I was really worried when I first saw the ingredients at how this would make twelve Jaffa cakes but I was feeling more confident when everything was combined.


I greased a cupcake tin and added my sponge mix by tea spoon, when I got to my tenth cake I ran out of mixture and did something I never normally would: I took little bits of mixture from the other cake batters to make it up to twelve. Oven preheated at 180 I put my sponges in for seven minutes. They rose beautifully, and smelt gorgeous. Step one complete.

After leaving the cakes to cool I checked on my jelly which didn’t seem to be setting, I checked with the jelly expert in the family (my dad) who advised jelly normally sets in about half an hour. It had been over an hour and there as no sign of a wiggle in the mix, so I made my second jelly.


Another hour later neither had set, I consulted my father again who mocked my choice to make my jelly on baking trays covered in grease proof paper. We decanted the mixes into glass dishes so the jelly was still shallow. Cut forward to eight hours after I had first put my jelly in the fridge, and they are sort of-almost set…


I decided to make the Jaffa Cakes with this Jelly, and it was… Interesting. I couldn’t cut the jelly with a biscuit cutter, so I used a teaspoon to dollop jelly on the cakes. I then melted my dark chocolate (I’ll always chose dark chocolate in cooking, I like the slightly bitter edge) and drizzled it over the cakes and jelly with another spoon. This did not go well.


The chocolate slipped off the jelly, either to the sides or around the jelly. I gave all the cakes a chocolate coating anyway and put them in the fridge. They set within an hour or so and I shared one with my sister and they were definitely edible, so I popped them in a Tupperware container and back in the fridge for a picnic the next day.
These didn’t taste as awful as they looked, I brought them along to Sunday’s Blogger Brunch and everyone ate and complimented me on the way they taste. Either everyone was being very polite, or I made a batch of decent tasting awful looking cakes.

Things I have learnt from this:

  •  Jelly should be made in a glass container, not on grease proof paper in a baking tray.
  • On the next attempt ignore the packet instructions, just add the boiling water.
  • The jelly may not have worked, but the cakes did, and dark chocolate was define let a good call.
  • I probably won’t make Jaffa cakes again, but now I really want a trifle!
  • Jelly makes an awesome snack when you need something sweet, especially when you’ve made three times more than you needed…

Now, I wonder what tomorrow’s bakes will be…


– Emily

Ps, I totally stole Sally’s upload day this week!