Long time, no see! It’s been over a month since I’ve last blogged. My excuse is I’ve simply been busy working. Teaching full time on different supply contacts, doing extra shifts in a day nursery during the Easter holidays definitely took it’s toll though and by the Easter weekend I felt terrible. I went down with a stinking cold which then turned into a horrible cough. This pretty much made me feel like not doing anything much for the second week of the Easter holidays. So much for wanting to go out running. I didn’t even feel like getting my bum off the sofa let alone gathering up some energy to stick my trainers on!
This cake was one I baked right back at the beginning of April. I really miss baking and hadn’t done much mainly because I’m meant to be on a diet. This hasn’t really worked well the last few weeks as I have been so tired after coming in from work. Slimming World has gone by the wayside, especially when Mr SmartCookieSam gets involved with the cooking. He thinks nothing of using lots of olive oil. So when I get chance I like to take a cake into a school I’m teaching in. I was working in a school for the last week before the Easter holidays and decided to take a cake to leave in the staff room on the table. I explained I loved baking but baking didn’t love my figure.
This Lemon Curd Victoria Sponge is from a recipe in Lorraine Pascale’s latest book “Bake,” You might have realised I’ve baked a few recipes from her book recently but that’s what I usually do when I get a new book. I get a bit carried away. It’s a traditional two layer Victoria Sponge baked in an 8″ or 20cm diameter sandwich tin and sandwiched together with both lemon curd and a little buttercream. I was definitely not going to spend my precious time making my own Lemon Curd so I bought a jar of Tiptree with my weekly shop. I used about half the jar in the filling so Mr SmartCookieSam was happy to use the rest on his toast in the morning!The cake was very quick to bake and perfect for a Spring day. I reckon I only spent an hour baking it from start to finish, if that. A quick dusting of icing sugar on top and the cake was good to go. Or if you prefer caster sugar, go with that.
The morning after I arrived at the school, put my lunch in the staffroom fridge and the cake in a plastic box on the table. I left a note telling people to help themselves. It was quite a big school so I didn’t get along to the staff room until lunchtime. When I got there I noticed nearly three quarters of the cake had gone. Several staff members thanked me for the cake. I said I would bring some more another time, if I had time to bake. It gave me a warm, cosy feeling knowing that some teachers appreciated my baking. Especially at a time when it was getting near to the end of term and everyone was tired. A little bit of cake just helps you get through the day.
I can’t believe it is April already though to be honest I am so relieved. As soon as the clocks go back in October, I am on countdown until they go forward again the following March. My hubby and I were saying the other day that we should move to Australia for 6 months of the year and then return to the UK for the summer…
Anyway, being a new month means a new book in my Cooking The Books challenge. This month’s book is Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and the first recipe I wanted to try out was the Lemon Griesetorte. I’ve no idea what a Griesetorte is but I think it is German or Austrian in origin. I had never baked one before although a lady brought one along to a Clandestine Cake Club event I went to. It was absolutely delicious and the lemon flavour was a great hit with all of us. So, I was keen to try it out myself.
As soon as I realised the cake was in the Special Cakes chapter I began to think, was it included in there because it was complicated? The cake doesn’t contain flour but a small amount of semolina and ground almonds. It also doesn’t contain fat but you end up putting loads of lemon curd and whipped cream inside it anyway which defeats the object a bit! But, having said that, it has been one of the most delicious cakes I have tasted and believe you, me I have tasted lots!
So, being as it is the last day of term for me before we break up for the Easter holidays I decided to bake the Griesetorte to take into work to share as an end of term treat with my work colleagues. I don’t usually work on a Friday so on Wednesday night I was busy in the kitchen getting the cake ready for my last working day on the Thursday.
Heres how I got on:
I got a bit muddled at this stage. Mary says you also need the grated zest of a lemon but I’d already squeezed the juice out of it first. Silly me, I should have grated the zest first. It was very difficult trying to take the zest off a squashed lemon! Not only was it difficult to hold but the leftover juice went on my hand, stinging it! Ooops!
Now the cake mix had to be transferred to a deep cake tin. I couldn’t find my deep 8″ cake tin so I got out two sandwich tins instead and thought I’d watch them baking instead as I’d need to adjust the cooking time a bit. I was worried they wouldn’t rise and turn out like flat pancakes.
I was trying like mad to get the cake baked before my hubby got in from work. He had promised to call at the supermarket on the way home with some tea for us as he had forgotten to take some pork out of the freezer for me this morning. I’d got in and panicked as there was nothing much in the fridge. Luckily the cake was out of the oven and cooling before he arrived back so at least I could use the oven for the dinner!
The cooked cake didn’t look very appetising at all. When I got them out of the tins onto the wire rack one of them broke in a corner and looked a right old mess. Thankfully I could tart it up when I filled it.
Mary says as an optional filling you can add some raspberries. along with some double whipped cream and some lemon curd. The version I tried before didn’t have raspberries but I had some in the fridge so I thought I would use them. There was also an option to use double the amount of lemon curd and cream to put on the top of the cake. I chose to just add the filling as I didn’t have enough cream.
I thought the cake looked a bit rustic and messy but this was due to me rushing trying to get everything done before teatime! As the cake contained fresh cream I put it into an airtight box and it went straight into the fridge.
Well as a result of me rushing off to work this morning the cake stayed put in the fridge and I completely forgot to take it to work! Mary says in the recipe introduction that the cake keeps well, I was relieved as I knew I would have to take it up to school on the Friday on my day off after doing my children’s school run! All I can say is I hope it tastes ok because it certainly doesn’t look that appetising!
The title of this post should actually be Lemon Curd as this is what I ended up making. Last Sunday morning I attempted to make some Lemon Curd from The Domestic Goddess’ Larder chapter in How to Be A Domestic Goddess. Another chapter to bake from from my Cooking The Books Challenge. Only my local supermarket was clean out of limes. I saw a man putting two limes into his trolley and he said he was after four and there were none left as he’d asked. I bet I’ll go next week and the shop will be inundated with them. I was a bit miffed, the one time I really need something it’s not blinking there! Well in the scheme of things when there’s starvation in the world, not having any limes isn’t that big a deal so I used lemons instead.
I’ve made lemon curd before successfully so I was thinking this was going to be easy for me. How wrong was I? It ended up being a total disaster and I wish I’d just gone out and bought a jar instead of trying to make my own.
So what went wrong? I just don’t know, it seemed to come out all lumpy and tasted funny to me. I wasn’t sure if it was cooked long enough or too much. There was enough to fill the cake I needed to put it in but I was very disappointed. A great shame.
Last week the latest series of The Great British Bake Off got off to a cracking start! In Cake week the contestants had to make a sandwich cake as well as a showstopper chocolate cake. But what of the Technical Challenge, the bake that has everyone worried and panicking that it will pass muster from Paul and Mary. I know I couldn’t have managed the Technical Challenge. I would have been like Ruby, the youngest contestant in this series. It all got too much for her and she burst into tears. In the end Toby left, which was sad to see. I liked him, he seemed a crazy kind of guy but genuinely nice. There were lots of disasters this time and a huge abundance of blue plasters being used!
The Technical Challenge this week was a cake that I’ve heard of and tasted but never attempted myself. An Angel Food Cake is an American recipe, I believe where the rise comes from whisking egg whites to make them light and airy. The cake does not contain any fat but lots of sugar! It isn’t something I would choose if one was on a menu in a cafe or something I would bake. Judging by the experiences of the GBBO bakers, ranging from raw cakes to a cake containing salt instead of sugar, it sounded like it was tricky. I was determined to have a go myself though.
Separating eggs is one of those skills I either get right or wrong. I find if I don’t need the egg to be perfect it comes out neat or if I need a perfect separated yolk everything leaks and the eggs don’t come out right. Today though they did work out, I separated them by hand easily enough. You need 10 egg whites for the cake but luckily the egg yolks get used in the lemon curd. I hate recipes that involve waste like that!
I came to realise at this stage that this isn’t a cake you can make when you have lots of distractions. Not long after I started getting the ingredients out, my teenage daughter decided to saunter down for breakfast and she began to make pancakes for herself and her brother. Normally I don’t mind them doing this on a Sunday but the timing was completely out. Then I left the ingredients out on the side as my mum phoned for a catch up. As I got to the whisking stage I was distracted by nagging at my children for not putting things back in the cupboard. I realised when my cake didn’t look like other angel cakes I had seen that there must have been something wrong. One of my friends on Twitter asked if I had added the sugar? I remembered I had about 200g to add that was still on the counter! Back to the beginning I went. Of course I couldn’t use the first attempt cake, it went in the bin and the tin went in the sink to soak! As the mix was stuck to it (you don’t grease the tin but I think you should do it lightly!) I had no luck. I had to use my other ring tin, a Bundt style one.
There are two distinct camps here- the Greasers and the Non-Greasers. IF and this is a big IF, I make this cake again I will grease the tin lightly. Unless I buy a special tin marketed as an Angel Cake tin. It’s just I didn’t want to go out and buy a tin to make a cake I might not bake ever again!
Making the Lemon Curd wasn’t stress free either. The remaining egg yolks, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest went into a pan and was heated on a medium heat. It didn’t seem to want to thicken up. I added the butter to it but it still seemed to take ages. I wasn’t convinced. I felt like cheating and running up to the supermarket for a ready made jar! In the end it got taken off the heat and about an hour later it looked more like it should do. It then had to be strained through a sieve. At least there was some spare to put in a jar for toast!
Then I realised I hadn’t got any double cream to decorate the cake with. I was doing really well here, so organised or what? I had to go up to our local Morrisons and grab a pot. It ended up being a shopping trip for several items we were low on like milk and bread! I certainly wasn’t sticking to the 2 1/2 hour time limit that they had on the Bake Off! I had started this at 10am and it was now about 2.30pm!
The cream was whipped up but I think I whipped it up too much. It just wouldn’t spread properly and it didn’t look very much. You could still see the crumbs through the topping. What a mess!
So what was the verdict? My hubby found the cake to be very sweet and sickly. He didn’t like it and fed it to our dog! The children didn’t fancy it because they didn’t like the lemon curd on it. I had a small piece, the sponge tasted light and airy but it wasn’t worth all the faffing and the effort. If I make it again I will make it when I have no distractions or time constraints!
I would love to know how you’ve got on if you have baked the cake .
Here is the recipe if you are brave enough to have a go yourself: