Welcome back to the current episode of #RomBakeOff. If you want to catch up, you can read how I did with Mini Victoria Sponges, Tartes au Citron, or Tea Time Scones. This week’s challenge was Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake. I remembered from watching the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) episode some of the contestants had issues with their cherries. Either they disappeared, they all migrated their way to the bottom, or they forgot to reserve some for decoration. I wasn’t too worried about the cherries except for my extreme dislike of radioactive colored fruits but I was concerned with my cake actually coming out of the pan intact and that I could transform it to a Gluten Free (GF) version without sacrificing taste of appearance.
Like all the previous challenges I decided to do some research. I found a GF Lemon Bundt Cake recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) and a GF Almond Bundt Cake recipe from King Arthur Flour (KA). I compared those two recipes with Mary Berry’s as the baseline to see what adjustments were needed to make it work without wheat. None of the recipes were an exact fraction of the others so higher math was involved. [spoiler]I determined the ratios for Flour to Fat to Additional Liquid (not eggs). There were noticeable differences between the GF Recipes and Mary Berry’s so I decided to use ratios closer to the GF versions with Mary’s original amount of flour. I also decided to take a look at the sugar because all of the other recipes were too sweet for me to enjoy more then just a tiny bit. After looking at those numbers I also decided to cut down on the sugar.[/spoiler]
I must admit Bundt pans were mostly unknown to me before this challenge. My mom used to cook in one and I remember getting to enjoy the bits or patches of crust that stuck to the pan but I don’t tend to bake a lot of different types of cakes so I never used one. Added to it I decided to get “fancee” with my bundt pan and go for one with lost of corners/creases/sharp edges in addition to curves. One of my cookbooks mentioned making a “Cake Release,” mixture of melted butter and flour then brushing that thoroughly on the pan’s inner surface. I decided to give this new to me technique a try.
Then it was time to make the cake. Instead of glace cherries, which seemed to be candied maraschino cherries from my google-fu I decided to use dried tart cherries. I have a strong dislike for maraschino cherries while dried cherries come in a not too distant second to fresh cherries. I adjusted the weight using an awesome resource compiled by KA so I had the same amount of cherries by volume and halved instead of quartered. I still took the opportunity to toss the cherries in flour hoping to keep them suspended in the dough instead of sinking to the bottom. They looked good when it came time to rotate the pan halfway through baking. I thought the cake was the perfect color when I took it out and then I had to wait 10 minutes before trying to remove the cake and hoping it came out crust intact.
Ok I will admit it, I really admired this cake for a while. But then there was the whole decoration required element. I am not a fan of most kinds of icing and the last time I attempted to glaze something *shudders* it was bad. I almost threw my hands up and decided to dust with powdered sugar instead of risk messing up my beautiful cake but my powdered sugar attempts have also been uneven, so glazing it was. [spoiler]I forgot to add lemon juice by bits and then mix so I had to almost double the powdered sugar. I now have about 0.75C of lemon glaze left if anyone needs some.[/spoiler] I am so glad I did end up glazing the cake because it turned absolutely amazing. I really should just quit the challenge now while I am on top since I don’t think I can create anymore more striking. LOL.
To make matters even better, the cake tastes good. I had a fabulous bake, nice cherry distribution, good combination of tart and sweet, and pretty looking glaze if nontraditional.
I feel so completely redeemed from last week’s partial success. I just hope I can ride this wave all the way into the shore. My fellow bakers seem to have had great success this week too. Check out their results using the #RomBakeOff hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.