My first official bake of the challenge is a signature bake. This is designed to show off the bakers skill and personality. They are given a directive, but then they are allowed to develop their own recipes and design their decorations. On the show, the bakers were asked to create a traditional English tea time staple: a Swiss Roll.
A Swiss roll is a cake that is generally made of a fat free sponge and a filling (traditionally jam – hence it being also known as a “jelly roll”), rolled up. We in America are probably most familiar with the Little Debbie variety, the Swiss Cake Roll. Because I am a good American, and because I have fond memories of eating Little Debbie Swiss Rolls with my Dad when I was little, I decided to see if I could make a full size, from scratch version.
I’ll be honest – I had never heard of a “fat free” sponge. Sounded like something a marketing person would cook up to sell diet desserts. Turns out, it’s literally a cake without any fat in it. At first, I thought – how ridiculous. How can you have a cake with no butter? But then I remembered an angel food cake, so… I guess this is a thing.
I do not, by a long shot, have all the equipment I will need for the things I will be baking for this blog. So, I will be keeping track of the things I beg and borrow, as well as the special ingredients I buy. For this challenge:
Purchased: marshmallow fluff Borrowed: jelly roll pan
Also, if I end up with unusual ingredients or have to translate British-English to American English, I’ll try to make note of that for you all.
First thing – I have adapted my recipe from this blog, who had already done all the work of testing out a recipe to find just the right one. Hopefully, in the future, I will start developing my own recipes, but I wanted to start with something tried and true. So thanks, Cooking by Moonlight!
Apparently the trick to a fat-free sponge is get the egg whites whipped just to soft peaks. Sadly for me, since I had not made this before, I was unsure what that looked like. I think the last time I had to whip egg whites was Home Economics class. But I think it came out ok. Since the egg whites are the main thing that makes the cake rise, it’s important to fold them into the other ingredients carefully.
I was a little paranoid that I would overmix it, so my mix was a little egg-whitey as I poured it in the pan, but as I spread it the whites incorporated a bit more. It’s not a very liquid batter, and you really have to work to get it in the corners. You can’t just tap the pan on the counter, or the whites will collapse!
This cake only cooks for 6 minutes! Its very thin in the pan.
When it came time to take it out of the pan, you flip it out onto a towel, then roll the towel and the cake up while it’s still hot. According to the bakers and judges on the show, this gives the cake memory, so it won’t crack when you roll it up with the filling. This worked out pretty well for me, though next time, I’d sprinkle some powdered sugar on the towel before I dump the cake onto it – it stuck a tiny bit, though not catastrophically.
Then, the filling.
I must admit, I’m not a fan of Marshmallow creme. I remember my mother enjoying it, and in fact I’ve heard stories that as a teenager her bedroom would be littered with empty jars of the stuff. Gross, mom.
But it made sense to me that the filling for a Little Debbie cake might require it. I was just hoping the other ingredients would mask it.
It came out ok. My powdered sugar is a little old… I should have sifted. All that’s left to do is spread and… roll! Sure enough, the rolling was easy since I had “pre-rolled” the cake.
Finally, I made up a simple ganache. I first learned how to make ganache in Grad School. It was one of those things I thought sounded SO FANCY but actually ended up being SO EASY. Heat up some cream, remove from heat, add chocolate, stir until melted. You can vary your ratio of chocolate to cream in order to make a ganache filling, truffles, or a melty, shiny glaze – which is what I made to cover my Swiss Roll. Yum.We put the cake in the car covered with ice packs and braved the heat of central Kansas to share this cake with my Dad and Stepmom in Emporia, the halfway point between us and them.
Nice, huh? hashtagnofilter.
We had quite a nice night for our evening of cake (and Pokemon Go, if I’m honest). The sun was setting, there was a great breeze…
Everyone gave two thumbs up on the cake, but it was incredibly rich. One small piece was enough for each of us!
So there we have it, challenge one. I believe Mary and Paul (the judges of the Great British Bake-Off) wouldn’t have many harsh words for me – But then again, they’re not the harsh word type. I don’t feel like the filling was as “creamy” as I would have liked, and it had occasional grains of salt that didn’t dissolve. I’d also go with a milk chocolate ganache over a dark chocolate next time.
The bakers on the show were given 2.5 hours for this challenge. I did not time myself, but I believe I could have this cake from start to finish in that time. It’s amazing how fast it cooks and cools when it’s only and inch thick!
Next time – Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake. Try saying that 5 times fast.