Monday, 27 February 2012

Baking challenge #4: Mary Berry's Apricot swiss cakes

Don't let the word 'cake' in the title of these little 'apricot swiss cakes' fool you. If you're looking for a fluffy sponge, you won't find it here. These really are more of a buttery crumbly pastry / biscuit, with a yummy jammy centre. They taste a little like shortbread, but a much lighter version- maybe a good tea break snack?

As always, I approach a new recipe with caution, baking in small batches in a bid to discover perfection. One disappointment I had with these is the transformation which occurs in the baking process. The recipe instructs you to pipe circles of the mixture into fairy cake cases with a large star nozzle (I piped spirals, even with my largest star nozzle there was no way a single circle was going to fill those cases). Going by the appearance of the uncooked piped mixture in the fairy cake cases, I had visions of the batter expanding while retaining its swirly piped texture. Imagine my disappointment when the first batch merged into shapeless blobs.

With a little adjustment to baking times (MB does acknowledge in the Baking Bible that all ovens do vary, so to adjust cooking times accordingly), I ended up with some less-shapeless versions, which did retain a little of their original swirl. Due to the nature of the piped circle, the cakes dip in the centre, which is then filled with jam. 

Two things to prepare yourself for when approaching this bake:

1) Piping the batter is not an easy task. The mixture is thick and I found it quite difficult to squeeze through the nozzle. In fact- half-way through I burst one of my plastic piping bags and had to start again!

2) The cakes are super fragile when you remove them from the oven. So take them out, carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and then don't agitate them at all until they have completely cooled, otherwise they will crumble before your eyes.

Despite these cakes not quite matching my expectations, they are totally delicious, I would definitely try making these again, although I see myself tweaking the recipe in the hopes of creating a version with a more defined 'piped' look.

Have you tried baking these before? How did your turn out?

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