Michaela Anthony, who is volunteering with PECT, talks about her time in the PECT Bake Off competition.
I made it! Alongside seven other hopeful contestants, I made it to the PECT Bake Off Final 2015 – woop!
You won’t believe the rocky road I took in creating my finished showstopper, using eco-friendly ingredients. I hope you can empathise with some of my experiences…
Times were getting intense. Monday 6pm – no cake. 6.30pm, still no cake. The panic soon set in, I mean what was I playing at? – the final was just around the corner and I had NOTHING! I had no time to mess around, since Mary Berry had said: “It has to be perfect.” (no pressure there!)
So I began making my three-tiered (yes that’s three-tiered) lemon drizzle cake. Measure, whisk, bake! And in it went, no issues here. Then the problems began. I was keeping to the timings and all was going well, then on taking one of the tiers out of the oven, I singed my wrist on the oven shelf, so now I was an injured baker, still fighting for my survival in the competition.
I made the timings up as I went along, so there wasn’t really any systematic 'small comes out first, then medium, and then large' so out came the three cakes together. 8pm. Now here for my fatal mistake, I attempted to make my own fondant icing (the hard way!). I meant business, so I was having none of that marshmallow malarkey from the Bake Off tent. No, I was doing it the ‘proper’ way.
‘Boil the dissolved sugar to 115 degrees centigrade.’ OK minor issue, I had no way of measuring the temperature, no thermometer in the house, nothing. So out to purchase a thermometer! But my thermometer was very stubborn and I couldn’t get it up to temperature.
But that was not the end, because I still had to roll it out and time was not my friend. I started rolling it out, but I needed buttercream to cover the cake first. So I whipped up a small batch, and it was a small batch because I was almost out of icing. Miraculously I managed to cover the three cake layers, followed by the fondant icing sugar.
12pm – breathe. I had finally finished this marathon of a showstopper.
The day arrived, I rushed to PECT to set up my homemade cake stand, made to look like a forest scene with a green base, covered with leaves and logs to hold up the cakes, mimicking something of a toadstool.
Now eight finalists meant a lot of cake! Even for the greatest of cake lovers, this was a challenge. But we rose to that challenge, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it! The standard was immense and the nerves were too.
But the worthy winner was…April. She produced a delicious raspberry and lemon flavoured cake, with a close second being Andrew’s Green House cake, with a difference of just one vote. They were honestly both sPECTacular!
Thanks to all the bakers and judges, what a brill time it was!