So the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) is back? Like, I think, most people, when Channel 4 announced that the Bake Off would move away from the Beeb this year, I was a bit gutted, but I knew I would have to keep watching it. When I heard that Noel Fielding and Sandy Toksvig were going to host the show, I was disappointed (although I had no clue who could replace Mel and Sue). Prue Leith to replace Mary Berry was, in my view, a good choice, as I have always liked her from the Great British Menu series. So I watched this first show with a touch of trepidation.
But do you know what, it wasn’t too bad. The beloved formula is identical. Sandy and Noel are a work in progress I think, but hopefully they will get the hang of things. The ad breaks are a pain in the arse. But the cakes are there, and as I watched I decided I would once again bake along, as part of Jenny Paulin’s Great Bloggers Bake Off 2017. If you want to catch up on what I have made in previous years, check out my archives for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
So this week’s cake week included a fruit cake (using fresh fruit instead of dried fruit), which my rum and apple cake would be a brilliant entry for (and one of Andrew’s favourite because it’s full of booze). The technical challenge were mini rolls, which I like the idea of, minus the peppermint cream filling which just sounds wrong. I might make a version of these soon though, and can imagine Ioan would love them when he is a bit older.
The showstopper challenge was for an illusion cake, and frankly those cakes made by the bakers were almost without exception spectacular. That watermelon! That sandwich and loaf of bread! Truly stunning, and usually I would shy away from such a challenge as I am not especially creative, nor am I very talented at decorating cakes (although I am trying to improve). However, I have just made a celebration cake for my mum’s partner’s 60th birthday party – shaped like an Arsenal Football Club shirt, it seemed like the perfect entry to the illusion cake challenge … plus I had already made it, which is handy when you have a demanding baby who wants to cuddle you instead of watch you make a cake.
Once again I used my foolproof – and delicious – celebration cake recipe. Seriously, this chocolate cake is spectacular, and lasts so well considering I have to bake around work commitments, so bake the cake on Tuesday evening, buttercream ice the cake on Wednesday evening, fondant ice the cake on Thursday evening, and complete the finishing touches on Friday (when I don’t work) before the party on Saturday. The cake is as fresh and delicious on Saturday as when it’s baked on Tuesday, so it’s well worth having in your repertoire.
My past celebration cakes have included a beautiful boy’s christening cake, a New Zealand themed cake, a drunken Welsh dragon cake (my personal favourite), and just last week a gorgeous girl’s christening cake. This Arsenal shirt cake is arguably the most simple, and consequently it looks like one of the best in terms of decorating finish.
My mum, also an Arsenal fan, helped me to work on the shirt when she was over looking after Ioan, and between us we’ve come up with – even if I do say so myself – a very impressive cake (unless you are not an Arsenal fan).
Firstly I trimmed the butter-creamed square cake to create the rough shape of a t-shirt, and then covered the whole thing in a large sheet of bright red icing. Then I used white icing to create the sleeves of the cake, and a combination of red and white icing to create the collar of the shirt. Immediately I had something representing a football shirt.
Next up was the number 60, to represent Geoff’s age, and his name. I free-cut the 60 (hugely impressing my mum, who clearly thought I was going to bugger it up) and she cut out Geoff’s name using my trusty cookie cutter letters.
The finishing touches to the cake were the little puma logo (don’t look too closely, as this was free-cut by me and doesn’t really look anything like a puma!) and a badge.
Oh that badge was a right pain in the arse to get right – I kept trying to hand-cut the Arsenal letters and in the end my mum told me to pipe them. But I cannot pipe icing! So anyway, I was in a strop, and refused to do a practice run, and it actually turned out ok!
So there you have it, an Arsenal football shirt 60th birthday cake: it is an illusion cake of sorts, and therefore my entry to this week’s Great Bloggers Bake Off. Check out Jenny’s blog: Mummy Mishaps – as well as seeing what other bloggers have entered into this week’s challenge, you can also check out Jenny’s amazing hamburger illusion cake, which is just spectacular.
See you next week!