Having been inspired (like many others no doubt) by the Great British Bake Off and its attempt at making the most ridiculously fussy cake of all time (the schichttorte), I made it my mission last weekend to nail the cake. I wanted to see not only if I could get the correct number of layers, but also whether the cake had the flavour to match the look. I had my suspicions it was largely style over substance but I went ahead and started baking regardless.
I had spent the morning making an amazing salt dough baked lamb, so was feeling confident in my baking skills and thought that this was the moment to seize the sieve and get cracking!
While the cost of cooking this recipe is relatively low (once you have vanilla paste – I didn’t!), you know that you are going to be facing a true time thief of a dish if it goes wrong, so you want to put 100% into getting the basics right. In my case, this was my first attempt getting egg whites into a peak for a long time and so I knew that this was going to be a challenge. In the end I did quite a good job of them but sadly this was perhaps the only highlight of the cooking process!
Eggs beaten, sugar added, and the vanilla adding a lovely smooth aroma to the room, I felt confident as I started to spoon my first layer of batter into the cake tin whilst preparing the grill (yes, I know, a grill, and it is not as fun as you think!). I had my little piece of paper telling me the layers to do next (alternating between dark and light) and at this point it dawned on me that I was somewhat unsure as to how thick the layers should be.
Treading somewhat cautiously, I kept pulling the first layer out of the grill to check if it had reached the right colour and eventually decided it had BUT here lay my error: I had grilled for far, far too long and it had taken all of the moisture out of the cake. Sadly I only learned this eating it later! Many, many layers later (18 if you really want to know), I had the cake grilled, popped out, and looking very weird.
Some melted chocolate and smoothed apricot jam later and the cake looked fabulous especially with my ‘arty’ decoration on top with a quick to make up but very boozy vanilla icing.
After letting it cool, finally came the moment of truth – had I conquered the unconquerable bake off cake? Well, this particular food blog is an honest one, so here you go: the answer simply was no! If you want to make this cake it needs to be cooked for very, very short bursts before the next layer is added and as a result it was like eating a cake that had been made about 10 years ago and left in a cupboard to go stale.
Lessons learned and time lost but somehow well spent. It may not have been my favourite bake but I may just re-visit it at a later date when I have a free Sunday…
Categories: Cooking Experiences