What do you see when you think of a cake? A thick biscuit base? Layers of oozing chocolate, cream and jam? Rich buttery sponge with a dusting of icing sugar? Well, this week’s sweet-tooth competitors faced the dreaded words that can stop any baker in their tracks… sugar-free.
In a scene reminiscent of Chariots Of Fire, our bakers raced back to their desks when they heard the brief and frantically began scrolling through guilt-free recipes from Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw. Panicked conversations about raw honey and agave nectar erupted around the room.
By the time Tuesday morning rolled around, rows of oddly coloured bakes lined the sideboard ready for judgement, and an over-powering aroma of banana and carrots filled the air. After last week’s glutinous cheesecake spread, everyone needed a break from the sweet stuff. The tension, however, was palpable – how to survive the competition without relying on the winning combination of butter and sugar to placate the taste buds?
This week, the Stylist office welcomed Sophie Michell from the Cook Yourself Thin website to judge. She cast her discerning eye (and palate) over the entries and decided whose bake could satisfy a sweet tooth without causing a cavity.
After much deliberation and careful tasting (a tough job but someone’s got to do it), it was Deputy Production Editor Amy Adams who was crowned Star Baker with her Sticky Toffee Pudding cake, complete with a mango and cashew cream. A healthy yet interesting bake (not always an easy task!), it earned her the top spot in this week’s competition. Amy is no stranger to experimenting with ingredients, having blown away the judges in the first week of the competition with her buckwheat ginger biscuits. This being her second week at the top, we’ll be keeping an eye on this not-so-amateur baker.
Tom Gormer kept things sweet with a classic sponge, and Natasha Tomalin tricked the tasters into thinking that her bake was more saccharine than it actually was by using cinnamon to spice up her carrot cake.
For Junior Features writer Alexandra Jones, this week was a little less sugar-coated, as her banana loaf failed to impress. Despite having a good flavour, her bake was a little overcooked – unfortunately an overheated oven cost her a place in the competition. As our bakers found out this week, the world of cakes and confectionery can be bittersweet.
The fifth Cake Off challenge: frangipane tarts. Get your berries stewing and your pears poaching, and hope that your pastry doesn’t crumble under the pressure.
On your marks, get set…bake!