|I painted that plate!|
I’ve been a massive fan of the Great British Bake Off since the very first episode aired, but it’s never dawned upon me that I could bake along with the contestants. Bit slow sometimes, me. A couple of days ago I saw an absolutely delicious Mary Berry Cherry Cake from Clare on my Bloglovin’ feed and then Jenny mentioned on Twitter that she was baking a Swiss roll, a la Bake Off. I just had to join in!
I took the opportunity to try something I’ve been meaning to for absolutely ages, baking a pattern into the cake. I’ve seen DIYs and tutorials for this all over Pinterest but I’ve never had an occasion to try it.
Turns out, it’s super-easy. All you need is a steady (ish) hand for piping and you can turn out something that looks rather special with ease. Drawing a template with a thick marker and sliding it under the parchment would be a good idea if you’re a bit nervous about free-handing. It won’t take much longer than making your usual Swiss roll recipe, honest!
I’m not sure what Mary and Paul would have thought of my efforts, though. I used a little too much food colouring and alas, not only did the pink turn out a little on the garish side, but there was a slightly bitter taste which I’m putting down to chucking too much colouring in. My advice? One tiny dab of colouring at a time!! I think Paul might have fixed me with his icy blue eyes and said, “Style over substance.” However Lucas described it as delicious, and he’s my favourite critic, so that’s all right.
Can’t wait to see what the bakers get up to in Wednesday’s episode!
Vanilla and Strawberry Swiss Roll
For the decorative paste
30g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg white
30g caster sugar
40g plain flour
a drop of vanilla extract (optional)
food colouring gel of your choice
For the cake
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
caster sugar for dusting
For the filling
100g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sifted
40g strawberry and vanilla jam (or just strawberry jam and add a drop of vanilla extract)
Grease and line a Swiss roll tin (23x30cm) and brush the parchment with melted butter.
Make the paste: beat the egg white into the melted butter followed by the sugar and flour. Add food colouring, carefully, as too much will make the paste taste slightly bitter. This will probably make more than you need, but it’s hard to divide since it only uses a single egg white! Also, having a bit of excess is handy if you want to do a multi-colour pattern…
Put the paste into a piping bag with a fine, round nozzle, or simply snip the end off the bag when you want to start piping.. If it’s a hot day it might seem a bit too soft, so pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
Pipe your design onto the prepared tin. If you make a mistake, you can scrape it off the parchment and pop the paste back into the piping bag. Once you’re happy with it, put the tin in the freezer while you make the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
Let the cake cool for two minutes before sliding it onto a wire rack, keep the parchment on. Sprinkle the surface of the cooked cake lightly with caster sugar to prevent sticking. Starting from a short end, fold in the baking parchment and start rolling the cake up. You might want to protect your hands with a tea towel as the cake is hot! Allow to cool on a wire rack for about an hour.
Make the buttercream: in a mixer, beat the butter until it pales. Add the icing sugar and beat in slowly–covering with a clean tea towel is advisable–then add the jam. Keep beating until fluffy.
Carefully unroll the cake and spread the buttercream in an even layer. Gently peel the parchment away from the cake and roll it up tightly using the parchment to help roll it all together. Chill for about half an hour before serving to set the buttercream slightly.
Best eaten on the day of baking.