The Great British Bake Off was the hot topic of conversation in the office on a Thursday morning over a first cup of coffee, so naturally we had our own office bake off. Of course I was only too happy to throw my mixing bowl in the ring.
The theme was sweet or savoury and with my sweet tooth I saw only one option. The bake had to be anonymous, which meant anything Oreo related was out of the question as my obsession for the American cookie is well known among my friends and colleagues. After a few hours of consulting cookbooks and popular foodie vloggers on YouTube, I had chosen my bake.
One of the awards was most creative bake and although it was star baker I was aiming for, this was the other award I was interested in as it meant I could do something a bit different. I initially wanted to do a rainbow cake, something I’ve not tried before, but after looking at videos on YouTube I was inspired to do a polka dot cake covered in vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkles.
A polka dot cake requires different coloured sponge balls and luckily I had a variety of food colourings as well as the cake pop silicone mould. Although each part to the recipe sounds simple to do, they all take time and I spent my whole Sunday in the kitchen – well apart from the mad dash to Morrisons to buy more sprinkles.
The rules of the competition were simple. The bakers were to bring in their creations, completely covered so that no one knew what the cakes were or whose they were. They were put out on a table mid-morning (just in time for a cup of tea) and people who wanted to taste the treats had to pay £1 (all proceeds going to charity) and then cast their vote.
There four awards were as follows:
The best tasting creation
The best looking creation
The most creative creation
There was some stiff competition, particularly when it came to the best tasting creation, even I kept changing my mind.
The awards were given out at the end of the day and I’m very pleased and proud to announce that I won the most creative creation as well as the overall star baker award! I got two certificates and a personalised wooden spoon.
The remaining awards went to the following:
Best tasting creation – brownies
Best looking creation – cherry and chocolate cake
If any of you would like to try and recreate this cake, the recipe is below…enjoy!
Hundreds and thousands, polka dot vanilla sponge – serves 12:
Cake pop moulds with approx. 20
A selection of food colours
60g self raising flour
60g unsalted butter
60g light brown caster sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
½ teaspoon baking powder
225g self raising flour
225g unsalted butter
225g light brown caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
250g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 pots of hundreds and thousands (don’t worry you won’t use all, it’s just better to have more in case)
Ribbon to go around the cake and a pin to secure it
To start, you need to make the cake pops. With an electric beater, mix together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla essence, flour and baking powder.
Once you have your mixture, divide it equally between four pots and add as much food colouring as needed to get the desired colour.
Then fill your cake pop mould with the different coloured mixtures, place the top on and bake for 8 – 12 minutes. (Bake for 8 and then keep checking, adding two minutes each time).
Once your cake pops are done, leave them to cool.
Next is the vanilla sponge.
Again beat the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, essence, flour and baking powder.
Once you have your mixture, spoon or pipe little dots onto the base of your baking tins and place your cake pops on top. (Remember don’t let you cake pops touch the sides of your tins and ensure the colours are mixed up to try and avoid having a repeating colours).
Once your cake pops are in place, spoon or pipe the rest of your mixture around and on top, ensuring each cake pop is fully covered.
Then place in the oven to bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Once your cakes are done, take them out and place them on a wire rack to cool.
Once your cakes have cooled, it is time to decorate them.
First level them off by removing the tops of each cake.
Then in a bowl, beat the butter for 5 minutes until light and fluffy and then add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat again for another 5 minutes.
Then spread a layer of the buttercream icing on the top of one of your sponges, add a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands and then place your remaining sponge on top.
Spread the remainder of your buttercream icing over the top and sides of your cake, ensuring you smooth it over with a palette knife.
Once you happy with the icing, take your handfuls of the hundreds and thousands and brush them up against the sides, working your way from the bottom to the top and lightly pressing them into the icing. Once the sides are covered then cover the top of the cake with more hundreds and thousands.
To finish the cake, take a ribbon and wrap it around the bottom of the cake and where the two ends meet, stick a needle through the ribbon and into the cake to secure it in place.