The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
Total Cooking Time: 7 hours and 15 minutes
The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
We have made it through the first week of Bake Off! It’s time for the showstopper and what a monster of a project it was! The showstopper challenge for this week was an illusion cake. I found this cake quite the challenge! There were so many parts and I was determined to make all of them from scratch. I got my inspiration from Liam on series eight and made a large stack of pancakes! This pancake cake is a made up of banana cake, blueberry compote, vanilla frosting, and a fondant finish!
I focus in this post on the banana cake and decoration. Here are the links for the other parts of this cake:
I have discovered over the last few weeks that cake requires a lot of ingredients. The best cakes use baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. At least, those are the ones that turn out the best for me! For this cake, the unusual ingredients are bananas and brown sugar. Fresh bananas can bring a lot of flavor but you’re going to use up quite a few. And the brown sugar add that deep, sweet flavor.
Prepping the Ingredients
I noticed something fun about this recipe – it makes a lot of batter. This cake does not get that much rise because of all the ingredients weighing it down. It’s a bit of a dense cake.
I started out doing the normal steps. First, I whisked all of the dry ingredients together. Then, I set that bowl aside to prep to prep the bananas. To incorporate the bananas in the entire cake, they need to be thoroughly mashed. I liked having the machine to do the heavy work. It makes my life much easier.
The Wet Ingredients
This cake uses the creaming method; I creamed the butter and the sugars together first before adding in anything else. I always try to give more time to beat the butter and sugars together to make sure they cream properly. I’m still not great at judging when this process has been done thoroughly.
After they’re creamed together, I added in the eggs and vanilla. And now it’s time to mix. I love watching the mixer blend the ingredients. To me, Baking is modern day magic.
After the wet ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, I added the mashed bananas into the mixer. The bananas made the mixture quite thick. I then added one third of the dry mix into the batter, followed by one third of the milk. When just combined, I repeated this process two more times. There is so much batter. The bowl was nearly full. The batter is also quite thick – more so than cakes I have baked in the past.
Baking a Cake
Considering the amount of batter, I did mull over pouring the cake batter into three tins instead of two. But for some reason, I felt that two was enough. I think I just prefer two layered cakes as they are more familiar to me then three-layered cakes. I have found that greasing the pans with butter and then flour really helps release the cakes from their tins. The cakes cooked for about forty-five to fifty minutes.
The cakes didn’t rise as much as I expected. They’re a little dense but have a very banana forward flavor. A toothpick cleanly pierced the center of the cake. It’s definitely the safest way to check if the cake has finished cooking.
The cakes need to be completely cool before they are ready to decorate. The first step in decorating the cakes is surrounding it with frosting and adding the any center fillings. For the center I decided to use a blueberry compote. It’s absolutely delicious.
I built a damn of frosting around the center to keep in the blueberry compote. My damn did have a few leaks where the syrup tried to escape. But it didn’t cause too many major problems. The cake is then finished by stacking and applying frosting all around the outside.
I think my mind broke because I decided to make fondant. But I will admit, it wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated it to be! Check out my recipe to give it a try! To finish the cake I rolled out a layer of fondant from about 2/3s of the fondant made to cover the top of the cake.
Then I rolled out logs of fondant to wrap around the cake. I did this to make that pancake like look. The top of the cake took quite a lot of smoothing to get the fondant to combine in just the right way. I felt like I was playing with play-dough. I think fondant is just a toy for bakers.
Bringing the Cake to Life
But to really bring this cake to life, fondant paint is needed! To check out how I made my own fondant paint (with what I had around the house) check out my post here! Fondant paints are also available pre-made.
I decided to mix together a brown and orange to get the darker color of top of the pancake. I then added yellow to add the lighter spots around the edges to mimic the indirectly cooked parts. And to complete the look, I added classic breakfast toppings with the blueberry compote syrup running down the sides!
Am I ready for bake-off? I actually feel a little more confident after this challenge. So maybe?
Give yourself time
It’s easy to think that these cakes can come together quickly after watching a tv show. The magic of editing can trick our brains into thinking that there is less work and time required that reality. I would advise you to give yourself ample time for these types of projects. They will take longer than you expect. And that’s okay! Going slow and steady will get you to the finish line. And there is no timer needed for your own kitchen!
- 3 Banana mashed
- 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- 2 ½ Tsp Cream of Tartar
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ¾ Cup Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ Cup Milk
Making Banana Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8inch circular pans.
- Mash Bananas. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter on high speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Add both sugars and mix on high for another 2 minutes or until creamed together.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
- Add in mashed bananas. Beat until combined.
- Add dry ingredients and milk, alternating between each until just combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
- Turn out cake onto a wire rack for cooling.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top of the bottom layer of cake.
- Pipe a line of icing around the top edge to create a damn for caking filling.
- Fill as desired (I used blueberry compote!)
- Place top layer of cake. Frost entire cake and smooth.
- Roll out ⅔ fondant to cover the top of the cake.
- Roll out fondant into logs with a length to encompass the outside of the cake.
- Build up logs around the cake. Smooth and needed.
- Paint the top of the each roll and cake with a dark brown/orange color. Paint the sides of each roll with a lighter brown/orange.
- Add pancake toppings! (Blueberry compote, whipped cream, granola)