Sunday, 21 October 2012

Fancy some bake off fever....

It seems like everyone was glued to the final of the Great British Bake Off this week... I watched it, joined by my housemates who munched happily on my Gateaux Honore inspired by Brendan's choux creation. 

I was a little surprised when I heard the bakers would be making Fondant Fancies. They're just a mini iced sponge, what's so complicated about that?!

What's so fancy about these fancies???
I have never been a fan of shop bought, pre-packed cakes, but these little treats were always the exception when I was a child. I'm not sure if it was the colourful icing, the taste, or simply the novelty of a bought cake in our house, but I adored them. 

These days, I'm a cake snob. I tend to look at most cakes and desserts, and think, 'I would do that differently/better'. My snobbishness hasn't extended to these colourful beauties. Occasionally, after a bad day, or in need of a little bit of comfort, I'll find myself lusting after a Fondant Fancy. I'm not sure why I've never thought to make them at home... but this weekend was my chance...

Orange is my flavouring of choice at the moment, so I went with an orange Victoria Sponge mixture for the cake. 

6oz caster sugar
6oz butter
zest of 1 large orange
3 large eggs
6oz self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp orange juice

I always prefer to make this sponge in stages, rather than using the all-in-one method as it makes a lighter cake. I started by beating the caster sugar, butter and zest until light and creamy. Add in one egg at a time, beating after each addition. It's always helpful to add a spoonful of flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Fold in sieved flour and baking powder until just combined. Stir in 1 or 2 tbsp of orange juice to make the mixture less dense. I baked this cake in a 9" square tin, for 30 minutes (until golden and firm) at 160 degrees in a fan oven. 

Most of the recipes I looked at, had a layer of marzipan... I'm not really a fan, so decided to stick with my orange theme and make jaffa cake inspired cakes... I melted a pack of orange jelly and 2tbsp of marmalade with no peel in 125ml of boiling water. I poured half the jelly into a lined 9" square tin, and popped in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. 

I poured the remainder of the jelly into a lined 8" round tin (all will be revealed later!) 

While the jelly was setting, I made a start on my orange buttercream icing. 

10oz icing sugar
4oz butter
zest of 1 orange

For a really light, creamy buttercream I started by whisking the butter with the zest in an electric mixer until pale and smooth. Finally add in the sieved icing sugar, and leave to mix for 5 minutes. The texture of buttercream improves the more it's beaten, so it's good to be patient and leave it mixing for at least 5 minutes. 

Remove the jelly from the fridge, invert onto the cake, before carefully peeling away the parchment. 

Divide the cake into 25 squares. 

Start by putting a thin layer of buttercream on each side of the squares. Be warned, this is time consuming, but a necessary step to even out the edges of the individual cakes, and prevent crumbs in the fondant icing.

Once this step is complete, pipe a generous rosette of the buttercream on the top of each square.  

Finally, make the icing to cover the cakes. Pink has always been my favourite..

Icing ingredients: 
10oz icing sugar
pink food colouring paste

I love the fresh flavour combination of orange and rose, so decided pink rose icing was perfect! Start by adding a tsp of rosewater, and a drop of food colouring to the icing sugar, before adding enough water to create icing with a think coating consistency. 

This is where the challenge begins... dip them? coat them using a palette knife? pour the icing over the top? Now I realised why the contestants found  these cakes challenging... 

DO NOT dip them, the icing rosette will slide off.. 

The best solution I found, was to pour the icing generously over each cake, then use a knife to coat and smooth the icing around the sides. This is MESSY... put some parchment paper under your wire rack to catch the run off... 

Finish by drizzling melted chocolate over the top, and resting each square in a cupcake case. 


My entry for the Irish Bake Off Challenge is coming soon! Exciting!!!!!