Sunday, 25 March 2012

Not Viennese, but Swiss Cakes for the Weekly Bake Off


One of my strongest childhood memories is the ritual of our family's Sunday Tea, which always took a certain form. My nan would put the kettle on at just before 4pm, and a pot of steaming hot tea would soon be brewed. There were sandwiches, and always, always some form of cake. Quite often, if nan and mum had had a busy weekend, it would be provided by Mr Kipling. My brother and I looked forward to this with some enthusiasm, as there were quite often French Fancies and Vienniese Whirls, which were our hands-down favourites. We could leave the Battenburg Slices, and the jam tarts were often a bit too dry  for us (definitely not as good as homemade). But the soft sweet inside of an iced French Fancy (my favourite being the lemon yellow ones), and the moistness of the Viennese Whirls were something to savour. Of course, you can still buy these. But they just don't seem to taste the same somehow.


So when Amy announced this week's Bake Off challenge as the Apricot Swiss Cakes from Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes, and I read through the recipe, it reminded me of those Vienniese Whirls. Throughout the week, my fellow bakers began their versions, and the feedback was that they were delicious - their likeness to Viennese Whirls being mentioned every so often. I was really looking forward to this one then, hoping to recreate a little of that magic.

This is a fairly straightforward recipe, but a new method for me of making cakes. The texture is quite short, due to the amount of butter (and no eggs!) and is more of a biscuit than a cake. If I was anticipating something along the lines of a Vienniese Whirl, I was wrong, as I don't think these were quite as soft. They were very delicate and fragile, easily crumbling if cut.
 

You cream softened butter with icing sugar, and then add in self raising flour and a much smaller amount of cornflour. This is beaten together to form a paste.


This is then transferred to a piping bag, and the mixture piped into prepared bun trays lined with fairy cake liners. I used a very large star nozzle for this, which is what MB suggests.


The mixture was very stiff and difficult to pipe, but nearer the end, it seemed to soften slightly, probably from the temperature of my hands on the piping bag.


I then baked them in a 160 fan oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.


MB's instructions then say to add a small amount of jam into the centre and dust with icing sugar - I did it the other way around, dusting first and then adding the jam, as I didn't want the jam to look 'dusty', and it seemed more in keeping with the photo in the book.



Whether it is the recipe itself, or my interpretation of it, I've got to admit that I was a little dissapointed by these. Neither Mike nor I are fans of apricot, so I changed the jam filling to strawberry. Again, referencing the Viennese Whirls. Sadly, all in all, I found these cakes a little too sweet and crumbly. They were, for me, just OK.



Maybe that's a lesson for me though as well. Trying to recreate a fondly held memory doesn't always work out. Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe it's better to leave them to that particular place in time, and simply enjoy them for what they are.

Susie

8 comments:

  1. Well, even if they couldn't match your childhood memories, they look very pretty and I'm sure would impress if you served them for a tea party.

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    1. Thanks Choclette, they were nice and did turn out very pretty - definitely impressive on the plate. I think I just probably had unrealistic expectations. :)

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  2. Wow! Lovely Swiss cakes! Beautifully presented & a great tea time treat indeed! :)

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    1. Hi Kit, thanks for your comments. Glad you like them! :)

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  3. It can be hard to recreate a fond memory as expectations run high! Your swiss cakes look gorgeous and reminded me that I forgot to dust with icing sugar! I did find it a little difficult to pipe but was pleased with the final result. Your piping is excellent!

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    1. Thanks Ros, I am pleased with how they turned out, just have to Realise that not every recipe will work out quite how you'd like it to! :)

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  4. Everyone seems to be joining in with this one! Yours look perfect! I'd like to try the recipe sometime as it's a little bit unusual with the piping element :-)

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    1. I think Amy may just have another record number of entries! I did find it a good recipe to try as the methodology is that bit different, so it was good fun in that respect :)

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