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: 1 hour
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!
I’ve made it to the showstopper challenge for week eight! This forgotten bake showstopper is a savoy cake! I feel like I kind of dropped the ball on this bake. While I put every effort into the cake, I didn’t really put as much effort into the decorations as I probably should have. This is a showstopper after all! And it’s week eight no less! That’s not time to slack…
This cake was inspired by the one that Stacey made on the show. For some reason, I didn’t feel like making all of the extras that went on Stacey’s cake.
The most important ingredient in this cake is eggs. So many eggs. I feel like this cake is mainly eggs with a little flour and sugar thrown into the mix. I also wanted to use fresh lemons for the flavor to get that kiss of citrus throughout the cake.
Prepping the egg whites
The cake batter is made from two different egg mixtures. But one uses egg whites and the other uses egg yolks. I’m going to focus on the egg white mixture first.
First, I ended up whisking the egg whites together with the salt until the mixture reached a soft peak consistency. I typically associate soft peaks with a gentle peak being made when the whisk is removed from the bowl. The peak is not still and will slowly collapse back into the mixture.
Then, I added in some of the sugar and began the whisking process again. This time, I whisked the mixture until it turned white a glossy and was showing stiff peaks. Stiff peaks are more of when a larger peak is created when the whisk is lifted from the bowl that is firm and doesn’t really move.
prepping the egg yolks
Next is the egg yolk mixture. Once again, I am relying on my handy whisk to get the ingredients to the desire texture. Whisking together the yolks and the remaining sugar was the first step for this. I wanted to create a thick mixture that left a ribbon like trail when the whisk is removed from the bowl.
This is also the step where I tried to add in the flavor. I first whisked in lemon zest and then whisked in lemon juice. I wanted double the flavor! The lemon juice caused the thickness of the mixture to collapse a little bit. Be aware that this is normal!
making the cake
In another bowl, I whisked together the two dry ingredients: all-purpose flour and cornstarch. This will come into play in a little bit. First, I gently folded the merengue (or egg white mixture) into the egg yolk mixture. I did this in parts to make the batter easier to work with.
The batter was fully incorporated before I added more of the egg whites. Then, in one batch, I folded in the flour mixture. This was done slowly and gently to get the mixture incorporated without knocking too much air from the batter.
I then transferred the batter into a prepared tin. The prepared tin is very necessary because this cake is very sticky and is likely to try to stick to the pan. The prepared tin also makes a lovely crust around the edges of the cake.
I baked the cake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer came cleanly out of the center. I let the cake sit in the tin for about a minute before turning it out onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely.
royal icing flowers
For some reason, I decided that sugar flowers would go well with the savoy cake. In my mind, I wanted to make a flour bouquet but the icing flowers I was able to make did not really work with my mental image. So, I ended up doing more of a minimum in decorations.
Making the icing was super easy. Once again, I was whisking egg whites and then adding sugar for it to come together as a thicker paste. I used a piping bag to spread the icing into the desired decorations.
I love this cake. Oh my god, I love this cake so much. Probably too much. I may have eaten more than half of it. This sponge is very strange which makes it difficult to describe. It’s life and fluffy but also dense and closed textured. I feel like that is an oxymoron but that’s the best way that I can describe it.
Am I ready for bake-off? Even though the cake was delicious, I feel like I failed this challenge. One where I would have to say adieu at the end of the weekend. Flavor was great but I feel short in decorations.
I think my mental plans falling apart caused me to take a giant step back which led to an overly simplified decoration. But since this is my own personal challenge, and I don’t have to stop because no one can stop me, I’m going to just do better on the next challenge.
What is a savoy cake?
There is not really much history on the savoy cake that I could find online. From what I can tell, the savoy cake originated in the Savoy region of France. It was a sponge that was molded into a tin and decorated with fresh fruits and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
During the episode, it was claimed that the original savoy cake was considered inedible, but I wonder if that just comes from sitting at the center of a table for hours (and probably drying out). But that’s all I could find!
Lemon Savoy Cake
- 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter softened
- 2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- ⅔ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ⅔ Cup Cornstarch
- 6 Eggs seperated
- Large Pinch of Salt
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar divided into ½ and ¼ cup
- 2 Lemons zested and juiced
- 1 ½ Tablespoon Granulated Sugar for sprinkling
Royal Icing Flower Decorations
- 2 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Egg White
- 1 Drop Vanilla Extract
- Purple Dye optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the side and base of tin with melted butter and sprinkle a coating of sugar. Swirl for maximum coverage and shake out excess.
- Sift together flour and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt and egg whites until the consistency reaches soft peaks.
- Whisk in ½ cup of sugar until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Set aside.
- In a large mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar. Whisk until thick and the whisk leaves a ribbon-like trail when lifted.
- Finely grate the zest of both lemons into the bowl and briefly whisk. Slowly add the juice of one lemon while the mixer is running on a medium speed.
- Gently fold the meringue into the yolk mixture across three batches.
- Gently fold the flour mixture into the liquid mixture until just combined.
- Transfer mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Remove for oven and allow to cool in the tin for one minute. Loosen sponge, if necessary, and gently turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Flower Frosting Decorations
- Beat egg white until it is fluffy and stiff
- Slowly add in powdered sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add vanilla extract and beat until the extract is well incorporated
- Color as desired. Use immediately. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent crusting.