The Knight Patisserie is the way I get to relax. It’s a virtual social bakery where people can follow the success or failure of any given project and I tweet and upload pictures while I make a colossal mess in my kitchen. This all happens under the hashtag #knightpatisserie and well, as most of the action in virtual, a lot of people don’t get cake – but sometimes a lucky few do.
For the perversely curious – there is Facebook page for the Knight Patisserie. Everyone is welcome to upload their own nerdy cake experiments, chit chat about cakes or set challenges which may, or may not be taken up by your own Master Baker.
Such a challenge was set ooooh – ages ago. Time being somewhat scarce, it took me a while to get around to it, but for the weekend of my birthday I decided it was time to bake and unwind and finally get the ideas from my head into action. Things did not quite go to plan, but here’s what happened.
How to do this? Rather ambitiously, I had an idea that I could make a sculpted cake out of Battenburg. This frankly is crazy talk. But I was game to give it a try. First of all, I had to make pink cake and vanilla cake. Both are the same recipe – basic sponge cake. One has lots of yukky pink dye in the mix.
Meanwhile, being my birthday, I decided I wanted to make a recipe that I particularly like. Almond and cherry sponge cake, coated in dark chocolate. As part of my Australian DNA, I’m a big fan of Cherry Ripe bars. A life-long favourite from home. Though this cake can be made with coconut instead of almonds, I wanted the slightly crumbly texture of the almonds instead.
Off that went, into the oven.
The pink and vanilla sponges for the Knight Patisserie challenge were made the night before, so I had weird loaves of bright cake that had cooled and were ready to work with.
Of course when I say “work with” what I mean is “carve up with a spectacularly sharp knife, spread crumbs *everywhere* and glue bits back together with heated apricot jam. Messy, messy, messy work. Lots and lots of fun. I was covered in cake and crumbs and merrily singing along to the radio and my own music. Time passes quickly when you are messing about in cake.
That said, my idea to carve a “Wyld Stallion!” from Battenburg, turned out to be more like making a project from 1980s children’s tv…and not very well.
Time was running a bit short. I nibbled at some crumbs and thought about what to do with this mass of pink and yellow cake. If I messed with it anymore, it would disintegrate and i’d not be able to use it at all.
Whilst thinking, the cherry cake was cool enough to cover and was already covered in melted chocolate and setting nicely in the freezer.
This is partly what the Knight Patisserie does. It’s problem solving for me in 3 dimensions, sugar, fat and flour…How was I going to make a Knight themed cake when my pony pieces were not really looking like the real thing. I decided it was a problem of scale and dismantled my chess piece to start again.
From the marzipan I squished together a knight chess piece. Though it’s not exactly art, it’s a lot easier to do. Then, with the melted chocolate left over from the cherry cake, I covered the little shape in dark chocolately goo. I took the cherry cake out and had a piece with a cup of tea while the chess piece took its place in the freezer to set.
I chopped the Battenburg into cubes and set them out on a plate – the game board for my chocolate pony. (Why does that sound a bit wrong?)
Finally things sped up and the cake project was completed. My kitchen and myself in total powdered sugar and melted chocolate disarray. That’s half of the fun. I think there may still be some jam on my phone.
Another nerdy project completed and I learned a lot along the way.
1. I can’t sculpt horses from cake made of bricks glued together with jam
2. Home made marzipan has lemon juice in it
3. Too much sugar is not a great thing
4. Baking is less than half the job. Cleaning up after this one took almost as long as making the mess.
Right – put the kettle on….
Rather ironically, the request to update a cake post came from someone who is fasting for Ramadan. Though I wish them a happy one, it does feel a bit odd to taunt people with cake when they are fasting. Still – by request and each to their own self torture…