Forget baked Alaska - here's five really hard cakes for Bake Off
A contestant went into meltdown on The Great British Bake Off this week over baked Alaska. Here are some challenges we reckon could be even harder...
Never have emotions ran so high on The Great British Bake Off this week, when “russet Gandalf” Iain Watters's baked Alaska collapsed in an almighty melted mess, causing him to storm out of the tent.
To make matters worse, the way the programme had been edited made it look remarkably like genial contestant Diana Beard had sabotaged his creation by taking it out of the freezer – though presenter Sue Perkins was keen to reassure fans on Twitter the dessert was only “out of the freezer for 40 seconds".
Making a frozen dessert like baked Alaska on a boiling hot day was undoubtedly one of the hardest challenges the programme’s contestants have ever faced – though, from croquembouche to macarons, they’ve had their fair share of fiddly bakes.
Here, in honour of Iain, are five more tricky desserts from around the world we’d like to see this year’s bakers attempt.
As we saw on the tiramisu technical challenge this week, creating even, repeating layers is a tall order for many amateur bakers, so the Marjolaine should be a perfect test of the contestants' skills. Created by celebrated French chef Ferdinand Point, this is a rectangular cake with four layers of meringue-and-nut-based cake, sandwiched with three different types of flavoured buttercream. As if that wasn't complicated enough, the whole thing then has to be frosted with chocolate buttercream - perfect for creating just that bit of extra stress before Sue and Mel call time.
Mooncakes are a traditional part of China’s Mid-Autumn festival, but people rarely make them at home because they are so labour-intensive. A thin pastry crust surrounds a sweet filling, such as lotus seed paste, and, sometimes, a yolk ‘moon’. The top is usually decorated with Chinese characters – rather more difficult than making chocolate swirls, we reckon.
Ok, so I’ll admit this one isn’t likely to appear on Bake Off any time soon, unless they radically redesign the kitchens – but what fun it would be. Bamkuchen is a European cake created by pouring cake batter in layers over a revolving spit (imagine the innuendos Mel and Sue could have with that). The final cake, when cut open, should look like tree rings - though Mezza Bezza may have some other, less complimentary, similes for the contestants' efforts.
Have you ever made your own phyllo pastry? No, we didn’t think so. These rich, syrup-oozing pastries, common in Turkey and Greece, are far from impossible to master, but getting that dough perfect could prove tough for the baking novice. Especially if there's any sabotage going on...
No Norwegian or Danish celebration is complete with a Kransekake – a towering pyramid of almondy layers, held together with white icing. Sounds easy? Well, did we mention it traditionally has 18 layers?