This week my two hobbies in life, tennis and baking, came together. I’m obsessed with a programme called The Great British Bake Off. For those who don’t watch it, the programme is basically 12 people in a tent who are set three baking challenges each week and whittled down over time. They bake things like cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread, tarts and pies. You may laugh but it’s so popular in the UK and Wednesday’s final was the MOST watched TV programme of the year! The programme runs for ten weeks and this year, I set myself the challenge of baking something new from the show every week. So far, i’ve baked a madeira cake, biscotti, baguettes, a baked cheesecake and a meringue tart. On week 6 of the Bake Off, the contestants had to bake a tennis cake. It looked really challenging but I hadddd to try it!
My work had a Charity Bake Off sale this week so what better chance to bake this MASSIVE cake where it would actually all get eaten. On Monday night I baked the cake, which was a fruit cake containing cherries, apricots, sultanas and nuts. The baking went OK although I took it out a little early so there was a bit of a dip in the middle. I was just impatient as it needed two hours and I wanted to go to bed!
On Tuesday night came the tricky job of icing the cake. My brother provided the moral support because I was stressing out majorly. I’m prone to a baking disaster and a bit of drama but normally, I find baking very therapeutic. I was running out of time though on Tuesday night. The cake needed a layer of marzipan, a layer of fondant icing and royal icing for the piping of the tennis court. I attempted to make fondant icing from scratch but when I couldn’t get the gelatine to dissolve (any bakers/cooks out there, help!) it required a quick dash to the supermarket to buy some fondant icing sugar (I hang my head in shame!).
After covering the cake with marzipan and fondant icing, the next stage was to pipe the tennis court on, which was actually one of the more straightforward tasks! After piping some rosettes around the outside, the final stage was the racquets and the net! You’re supposed to pipe them onto a baking sheet and then let them dry. I took so long to do everything beforehand I had to leave it overnight. I got up the next morning at the crack of dawn to try and fix the net on but it broke into three… arghhh!
Oh well… I was pleased with the outcome in the end. And heyyy, I won the best bake in my division at work so that was cool 🙂
Anyway, I thought this was a nice chance to tell you all a bit more about my interests away from the tennis for those that are interested. When the tennis season has finished, I plan to spend a lot more time in the kitchen, trying lots of new bakes, new techniques and essentially getting fat 😛