Week 1 Showstopper: Lemon Drizzle Mini-Cakes

The showstopper challenge for cake week was to make 36 miniature classic British cakes. The bakers chose Victorian sponge, Jaffa cakes, lemon drizzle cakes, and more. The cakes needed to be aesthetically pleasing and as consistently identical as possible. Since supplies are short right now, I cut back to 24 mini-cakes. As an American, I’m decidedly unfamiliar with “classic” British cakes other than the obvious Victoria sponge. However, both Jaffa cakes and Victorian sponge cakes end up being challenges later on in the show, so I decided to go with the lemon drizzle.

The Planning

NY times Cooking actually wrote about the Great British Baking Show, and included some recipes including a “classic” lemon drizzle cake. However, a plain lemon drizzle is not exactly “showstopping.” I rewatched the episode for inspiration.

Luis added elderberry syrup, which got me thinking about using fruit. Since I used strawberry for the signature bake, I figured this time I would use raspberries. Martha and Iain both used marscapone in a cream, which I figured would balance some of the tart fruit flavors.

The cakes will be evenly shaped, two-layer cakes. The middle will be filled with a marscapone whipped cream/cream cheese frosting and raspberry compote, then topped with piped cream and fresh raspberries.

The Bake

Step 1: Batter

I read later on that there is so much baking powder (which makes cakes rise) because the original recipe uses self-rising flour. Is that the go-to flour in Britain? Either way the batter tasted nice. I think this is one of the first cakes I haven’t used vanilla as an ingredient.

I was just watching Spring Baking Championship. Several bakers mentioned using herbs and other aromatics in the flour for more flavor! I’m excited I got to try it out.

Step 2: Bake & Glaze

Of course with all that baking powder it certainly puffed up! I thought I might have overbaked it but it was perfectly springy to the touch. I’m starting to like darker colors on my bake.

I think my glaze was a little too thick. I also expected it to be more like a simple syrup. I spread it across the cake prior to trimming. I’m not sure if the cake was warm enough but I did manage to spread it fairly evenly.

Step 3: Whipped Cream & the Couli

I was a little disappointed in my choice of whipped cream. Perhaps I’m used to sweeter desserts as an American. Fortunately, in combination with the cake it added a nice mild creaminess.

I absolutely did not buy enough raspberries. I wanted to put a raspberry on top but I used them all in the couli. Can’t stop a challenge to grocery shop!

Step 4: Cool and Cut

I tried to make these as even as possible, but because I didn’t use a perfectly square pan I had to trim, then it ended up being 11.5 inches long. Kind of annoying for trying to make even squares. I did have 24 but one fell apart when I cut it!

Step 5: Assemble

I thought about stacking the cakes on top of each other but then they would have been huge! I remembered the judges making a comment about that to Ian. I cut the cake slices in half instead. Boy do I wish I had the guillotine that Nancy’s husband made her.

Next was the cream and filling between the layers. Piping all of the little whipped cream stars was exhausting! I’m mostly disappointed it didn’t look as nice as I thought it would…

The Judging

Well I only made 23 out of 24 cakes, but at least they were baked! Appearance-wise I really wish I had fresh raspberries to brighten it up. The bake is consistent, as is color, but size is a little off. Some were much larger than others. Most of my coworkers commented that they were “cute.”

As for taste, I’m immensely pleased. The cake itself was not too sweet. You get the tang of the lemon from the drizzle and some extra tart from the raspberry. The crumb of the cake was nice. Even if it was a bit dry, the balance from the whipped cream and raspberry filling made a nice moist bite. They may not be the prettiest but they sure tasted divine!

What do you guys think? Would I make it to week 2?

One thought on “Week 1 Showstopper: Lemon Drizzle Mini-Cakes

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