A cursory glance at my blog will show that I love baking and trying anything food-related, but if you look through at some of the pictures you’ll see that presentation isn’t my strong suit. In my eyes, flavour over style will always, always win, but sometimes it would be nice to make something that looked as good as it tasted. Way back in January I made an effort to make a nicely decorated cake, but that was before I’d developed all the new skills that I’ve learned on my Puff the Bakery course. Today was the day to change that as I attempted something, with the guiding hand of the Puff course to lead me, that I’d only seen on fancy bakes before – I was going to put a pattern in the sponge of the cake.
Not many cakes have a naked sponge where you can show off a pattern, so the natural choice was a Swiss roll style cake, basically exactly what’s in the picture above. The recipe called for Matcha which I, unfortunately, didn’t have, so I swapped in cocoa powder – not a bad substitute, but definitely not as fun looking.
The effect is achieved by piping your pattern onto baking parchment using a little cake mixture (minus the cocoa), freezing the sheet to firm everything up, and then pouring the cake mixture over the top so it bakes altogether. It sounds so simple, I actually thought it would have been much more complicated.
My piping skills still require a lot of work so I had to ditch my first attempt at circles (I was sticking with the simplest option!) and try again. I eventually got into a bit of a flow and managed some almost round circles of different sizes on the sheet.
I hoped and prayed that the cake wouldn’t stick to the parchment, making my beautiful circles and the reason for making the thing, obsolete, but after a very nerve-wracking and gentle peeling off of the baking paper, my beautiful design was revealed!
I was pleased with how this turned out, especially for a first try. I’ve made a similar type of roll cake before, and always come into trouble when I’m actually rolling the thing up. This was no except, cream spurted out everywhere and it was a right royal mess but at least it stayed in one piece. There are a few cracks around the dots, and I think that’s down to my over-enthusiastic piping making them a little too thick.
Overall, I’m really happy with how this turned out and it’s definitely a skill I’ll use in the future. As with anything new, the first time is never going to be the best, but at least I know where my mistakes were and I can keep trying.