Saturday 16 December 2017

Is the Spanische Windtorte the toughest challenge Great British Bake Off bakers will ever face?

Spanische Windtorte will feature on dessert week on Great British Bake Off. Pic: Anne Reardon/BBC
Spanische Windtorte will feature on dessert week on Great British Bake Off. Pic: Anne Reardon/BBC

Olivia Williamson

Contestants of The Great British Bake Off must be shaking in their boots for dessert week tonight. Despite having already handled such tricky bakes as edible biscuit boxes and 3D bread sculptures, the skills required to make it through this week's challenges are likely to divide the amateurs from the pros.

Last year, dessert week made headlines as possibly the most dramatic episode in the history of the popular cookery programme. The disaster of the Baked Alaska, or ‘freezergate’ or 'bingate', left viewers aghast as contestant Iain chucked his meringue/ ice cream mess in the bin (and was promptly booted off the show) after Diana took it out of ‘her’ freezer, leaving it to melt.

On the menu tomorrow we have crème brulee and cheesecake, which may seem like a walk in the park, but it’s the technical challenge that will push contestants to their limits.

Spanische Windtorte, or Spanish Wind Cake, is an Austrian dessert made of meringue, cream and soft fruit that was once dubbed ‘the fanciest cake in Vienna’.

It's so obscure, few viewers will have heard it, but the torte became very popular during the Baroque period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (it got its name due to the Austrians' fascination with Spanish culture).

Despite its simple ingredients, the dessert is incredibly complex to put together. It is made up of cylindrical rings of baked meringue with a top and bottom lid to create a shell that holds the whipped cream and fruit filling. It is traditionally decorated with crystallised or fondant violets and must be served immediately, or the meringue and cream will dissolve.

This is the first time that the Spanische Windtorte has appeared on the Bake Off and contestants will have to be extremely careful to create a symmetrical cake without creamy leakage (though we imagine Mel and Sue will have great fun with the innuendos if that occurs).

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