Obviously, I’m talking about the crack in a Madeira cake, you total creeps.
How exciting is this? Great British Bake off is finally back on our screens, Wednesdays are worth waking up for again and a handful of bloggers (myself included, obviously) are baking along with the show!
The first episode of GBBO was everything I wanted it to be and more.
Poor Stu (who was the most talked about on social media apparently, presumably because Twitter has decided it doesn’t like hipsters anymore) was the first to leave the tent and the 70s saw a revival in the chocolate gateaux round.
I haven’t decided my favourite to win yet but I want Flora (or as she’s known to me, “New Martha”) to be my new BFF and I’m head over heels for Tamal. I know I’m not alone on both counts.
The gateaux appealed to me, but man would that shopping list get expensive, right? I’m afraid this year my choices on what to bake from the show will be based on a lower budget than normal – so it’s the Madeira cake I tried my hand at.
Surprisingly, I had never baked a Madeira before. I’d also never tried to candy orange peel from scratch before. So in terms of challenging myself, this was no safe bet.
I found a Madeira cake recipe in a super vintage cookbook that rarely lets me down. It’s from simpler times so I knew it wouldn’t tempt me with fancy ingredients or scarily complex processes.
I also cross referenced with a BBC Good Food recipe to see how they compared, and they were pleasingly similar. The thing I was most nervous about here was the crack – remember whatshername didn’t get a crack in her cake and Paul Hollywood was like “bitch please where’s the crack”? That’s all I could think about.
The key to it (as far as I’m concerned and according to Twitter and webpage helpers) was keeping the oven closed the entire baking time (1.5 hours) and making sure the batter was nice and firm but still a kinda dropping consistency.
So that was the cake done. I felt good about my crack. Although be warned if you try this at home, it does only appear in the last half an hour and you’ll spend the baking time up until that point in a state of total anxiety that you might end up crack-less.
While it was baking, I had started the lengthy process of candied peel using this recipe from BBC Good Food. It took bloody ages, and it turns out I should have done it first (according to my recipe) and popped it on the cake before baking. Instead, I had to ice the madeira in order for it to stick. But you live and you learn.
I thought it’d be fun to “plate test” myself:
I passed, right?
The candied peel was so lengthy a process that I’m not sure I’d recommend it over just buying some, but I’m happy to have learned a new skill. Plus the leftover syrup makes a badass drink.
This was a fun way to ease myself in to #bakeoffbakelong, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed baking my madeira. I predict a little more of a challenge for biscuit week.. don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night at 8pm on BBC1!