With the Great British Bake Off starting its sixth series on Wednesday, Britain is about to go cake crazy once again. I never fail to find inspiration when I’m watching the Bake Off, and I for one can’t wait to see what the contestants come up with this year.
Although I enjoy every week of the Bake Off, especially Pie Week and Bread Week, the showstopper cakes are always the highlights for me. With this in mind, and my cake-loving boyfriend’s frequent requests for more home-baked goodies in my ears, I have been bitten by the baking bug. Want to see what I’ve been making? Read on to find out!
– My boyfriend’s mum’s birthday cake – not too shabby, eh? –
Ever since making my boyfriend’s mum’s birthday cake a couple of weeks ago, I’ve become a little obsessed with baking – fantasies about piping bags, buttercream and Lakeland’s bakeware section are the screensavers of my brain, and I’m loving it. After finding this recipe for mini Victoria Sponges on the Lakeland website, I knew that I had to make some for myself. I wouldn’t just make boring old vanilla sponge though, I had to try something more exciting – enter rhubarb and custard.
Like macaroni & cheese, salt & pepper and Ant & Dec, rhubarb & custard just belong together. So, of course those flavours made the perfect starting point for cake-based experimentation. Using rhubarb flavouring from Lakeland (which you can find here), good ol’ fashioned custard powder and this baking tin from Amazon, I decided to make a rhubarb sponge with custard buttercream.
I consulted the BBC GoodFood website, my go-to for cake recipes, and quickly found a Classic Victoria Sandwich and Custard Kisses. I did a 1/4 batch of each, which was just enough to make three mini cakes – one for my boyfriend, one for my mum and one for my dad. I didn’t really deviate from the recipes much, apart from adding my rhubarb flavouring and a small pinch of salt to the sponge mixture.
Unfortunately, the recipes weren’t perfect. The custard buttercream had a powdery texture, so I added a couple of splashes of milk and a bit more butter. It helped, but it wasn’t perfect – next time I would severely reduce the amount of icing sugar. It also didn’t have a particularly custard-like taste, so I think I’ll invest in Lakeland’s custard flavouring to enhance it a bit. I would have piped the buttercream into the centre to make my cakes look prettier, but I didn’t think there was much point in wasting a piping bag for just three cakes!
– I know these don’t look the most appetising cakes in the world, but they tasted good, I promise! Note to self: try harder with food photography next time… –
As you can see from the photos, the sponge recipe was a bit off, and I ended up with really domed cakes. I can’t quite work out why this happened, but next time I think I’ll omit the baking powder and just rely on the self-raising flour to make my cakes rise. Also, my Wilton gel food colourings have yet to arrive so my sponge isn’t coloured as I’d like it to be – next time my sponges will be beautifully coloured pink and yellow, just like the old fashioned rhubarb and custard sweets!
Having said all that, the flavour was bob on. I only had a small nibble of my boyfriend’s cake, but I really enjoyed what I had and I received positive reviews from the recipients of the cakes. The texture of the sponge was perfectly light and moist, and the rhubarb flavour came through nicely; although, that could be down to the fact that I used a lot more flavouring than is recommended on the back of the box!
I thoroughly enjoyed baking these cakes, and I’ll definitely be making more mini sponges soon, but my next project is a birthday cake for my cousin – I’ll be sure to post about it when I make it!
Have you been baking recently? Let me know in the comments!
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Until next time,