Sunday, 25 March 2012

Weekly Bake Off: Apricot Swiss Cakes

I've wanted to give these a go ever since I first got my floury mitts on a copy of Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes ready for the Weekly Bake Off.  The cakes are actually more biscuit-like and reminiscent of a Viennese whirl; the slight difference being that you pipe them into a cake case rather than onto baking sheets before sandwiching with jam and cream.

Trying to capitalise on the good weather and the clock change keeping Miss A asleep 'longer' than normal, I started my cakes at 7.30am.  I finally got them baked at about 3pm.  Why?  Well the recipe calls for soft butter.  The lovely @EversNanaJules tweeted me last night and said to make sure my butter was very soft.  I thought that in this weather, how could it be anything else?  I obviously didn't fully comprehend just how soft the butter needed to be.

With a lot of arm flexing, I finally got the ingredients into some semblance of a paste.  I then discovered I was down to my last disposable piping bag.  At this point, I should have sensed impending disaster.  Maybe I crossed a lone magpie on my run this morning and didn't salute him or something.  The mixture went into the bag but wouldn't come out again.  Well not until the side of the bag slowly bulged and split.

Now I've been using Lakeland Disposable Piping Bags for a couple of years.  And up until recently they've been great.  But when icing Miss A's birthday cakes, I went through six or seven of them just to do two colours.  Maybe a dodgy batch or something - the rest of the roll had seemed okay.  But because of this, I didn't have a back up bag.  Well I did - the Lakeland Silicone Piping Bag which I bought off the back of it being the easiest ever piping bag to clean.  They lie.  Try scraping anything that is more than 5% butter off of it and seriously, you'll understand me.  It's been in the cupboard since the first time I used it which was shortly before I switched to 'sposies.
Afternoon tea, al fresco

In desperation, I thought I'd try it again, but all that happened was that it went all bulgy, then the nozzle blew out whilst the cake mixture stayed put.  Great.  I lost nearly half my mixture in the two piping bags, because it was just to sticky to scrape off.  The silicone bag is now off to a landfill somewhere.

Finally, I braved Sainsburys - only because Miss A's new 2-3yr swimsuit was too short in the body for her and I had to swap it.  I managed to pick up some 'sposies from there and the texture of the bag is great.  Nice and thick and I couldn't imagine it splitting, but they're so tiny.  Which in some ways is good because I used to get frustrated about wasting the big bags for a small amount of mixture, but it meant I had to attempt to refill the bag half way through piping.

To get things moving, I added about 25ml of milk to slacken the mix off a little.  It was still hard to pipe into perfect circles as the mixture is quite thick and if you touch the case, you then end up with the case spinning round in the tin whilst you try to pipe around.  I guess that practice would make perfect, however, nice as the cakes are, I think I'll stick to Viennese whirls as I love the jam and buttercream combo.  Plus after all of the stress of trying to pipe the darn things, in all but four of them, most of the piping just melted back in on itself and although you could see the swirl, it wasn't as defined as I would've expected.

The other issue I had was that it said to use fairy cake cases and a bun tin.  I have a bun tin, but do you think I could get fairy cake cases for love or money?  Nope.  Cupcake cases, muffin cases, mini muffin cases, petit fours cases, mini cupcake cases but no traditional fairy cake cases.  Or maybe everyone in my locality is participating in the Weekly Bake Off and so consequently there's been a run on fairy cake cases?  Who knows. Anyway, it meant that I needed double circles in my smallest muffin cases to get them to rise to the top and the ones I did in cupcake cases just looked a bit lost.

Starting to wonder if I'm just jinxed at Mary Berry cake recipes or something...??

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear sounds like my baking disaster day. I use Lakeland disposable piping bags and have never had a problem with it. I did find this mixture quite difficult to pipe but I really like the look and taste of them. Your cakes look great and I hope you enjoyed them.


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