Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Easy Vanilla Cake


When I had the lightbulb moment that gave birth to this challenge, I never considered the finer details of the rules.  What happens if I'm bedridden and can't cook?  Can I do two recipes another day?  Could I convince the husband to cook a new recipe for me (fat chance) and just try the food?  What if I try two new recipes on one day anyway?  Can I 'cheat' and carry one over to the next?  What about days like today when I'm trying a new recipe but won't be able to taste it until Friday?  Does that recipe count as today's recipe of the day because I'm cooking it today or not until the tasting is complete?  And I'm decorating it tomorrow so today's picture will look really rubbish as it will just be a sponge in a tin.

In all honesty it would be easier to carry it over to Friday because I have to work in the morning and then drive the cake half way across the country on Friday afternoon so I will struggle to find time to fit in another recipe.

I decided to make a fondant covered sponge celebration cake.  I wanted to do my usual chocolate cake, but I wasn't sure how it would stand up to being covered with fondant rather than just ganache so I figured I'd look to the expertise of BBC Good Food again.  I made a wedding cake from their recipe collection earlier this year for the same friend and the lemon layer was beautiful so I thought I'd give their Easy Vanilla Cake a whirl.

Very anaemic cake going back in the oven
Moist.  Here I go again with my wandering brain.  @MermHart (Miranda from the telly) you have so much to answer for.  I can't hear the word 'moist' without it making me chuckle to myself after a scene about eating National Trust cake - not that I've ever had a moist cake in a vastly over-priced National Trust cafe, but still it's worth a watch on YouTube.

When I finally got into 'Miranda' I just adored it as it's kind of how I used to imagine my life would be when I was a kid.  The wandering mind (I still have that); bursting into song like life is just a musical; dating a talented and gorgeous chef like Tom Ellis' character Gary - well you can't have it all...

Anyway, those first five paragraphs were from this morning when I was basking in the early morning glow of being proactive.  Fourteen hours later and disaster has struck.

I still don't know if it's me not having gotten to grips with my new cooker or if there was too much syrup poured over the cake but this took moist to a whole new level.  The cake is now languishing in the bin.  There is moist and there is soggy.  This erred on the side of downright soaking.  It just fell apart.
A bit that didn't end up in the bin being taste tested

When I took it out of the oven at first, it was really anaemic looking as you can see from the picture.  Another twenty minutes and it appeared to be cooked through (I stabbed it multiple times to test) but was still pale.  I continued following the recipe and duly cooled it, covered it with syrup and then left it to cool completely but as soon as I sliced the top to neaten it up I knew I had a disaster on my hands.

It was very vanilla-y and very moist.  The bits that weren't soggy tasted okay but all in all, an unmitigated disaster.  My chocolate cake is now baking away.  Should've gone with that in the first place and just tried a different recipe today.

Oh well.  Can't have success every day.  Will I make it again?  Probably not despite the rave reviews its had from other bakers.  I will look for another vanilla cake elsewhere.  And buy an oven thermometer too - just in case...

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