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 13 Challenges.
Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).
So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!
This week is going to be a little different. For the first time ever, I am not comfortable posting the recipe for this weird creation that I made. I still want to talk about the process as I want to revisit this recipe in the future. I was not able to redo this recipe at the moment due to time limitations.
Anyway, it is time for Pudding weeks showstopper challenge: A Custard Gateau! This is such an interesting challenge because it requires pudding to be standalone. Typically, I find most of these types of desserts want to sit in some sort of bowl. Or be contained in some way. But to make a standing cake… well, that is unusual.
I decided that I wanted to make a chunky cake with thick layers of pudding. Which means that I need to make a lot of it! For flavors, I wanted to do a vanilla cake, a strawberry and raspberry curd, and a chocolate crème patisserie. The flavors are rich and delicious!
Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!
The interesting thing about cooking puddings (or what is classified as puddings), is the extreme number of eggs that they require. For this custard gateau, I needed over two dozen eggs. And I originally wanted to make this a two-tiered custard gateau. If I had gone with that strategy, I think I would easily have gone over three dozen.
I am not going to lie. I did not have a clear vision of what this custard gateau was going to look like before I started. But that has never stopped me before! I knew what the recipes were but that was about it.
So, this is where things started going wrong… At the very beginning. I decided to make a jaconde sponge because it was something that I had never tried before. New things can be exciting… Especially cake.
I decided to double the amount I was going to make in this recipe because I did not know which cake pans, I wanted to use and how much cake I wanted to make. This required a ridiculous amount of ingredients.
I started by mixing the flours and powdered sugar together. Then I added in the whole eggs. This tallied to about 10 eggs. I also decided to use one of my largest bowls for this project because I thought it would be needed.
In a separate bowl, I whisked together egg whites and sugar. I thought that the 10 eggs were a lot until I saw I needed 12 egg whites for this recipe! That is an entire dozen… At this point, I was a little nervous that cake would be eggy in flavor. But I continued forward.
Then I folded the egg whites into the flour and egg mixture. I really enjoyed working with batter. It just felt fun, even if it strained my arm in a major way. I also folded some melted butter into the batter. At this point, it was difficult to tell if I was getting all of the ingredients well distributed.
The cakes were then tossed into the oven (I ended up divided the batter into 4 different pans… still not sure what to do). And then is was onto the strawberry and raspberry curd, the next step of the custard gateau.
Strawberry and Raspberry Curd
This is where I really wanted to punch a lot of flavor into. I wanted to have that sweetness of Strawberries with a tart pop from the raspberries. To start, I blended a fairly large number of raspberries and strawberries together. About four cups of fruit in total. Then I had to push the puree through a sieve because I did not want seeds in my final dish
This is where I really wanted to punch a lot of flavor into. I wanted to have that sweetness of Strawberries with a tart pop from the raspberries. To start, I blended a fairly large number of raspberries and strawberries together. About four cups of fruit in total. Then I had to push the puree through a sieve because I did not want seeds in my final dish.
Next was cooking everything in a pan. First, I added sugar and cornstarch, then I added the egg yolks and fruit puree, finally I added butter. Adding the butter felt weird because it was not really going to blend into the other ingredients since it was hard.
That is why I put the whole mixture over the stove and let it cook. My first goal was to melt the butter. Then I wanted to whole mixture to come to temperature. I had my temperature gun by my side during this whole process.
After removing the mixture from the heat, I added a splash of vanilla extract and the soaked gelatin. I stirred the whole mixture until the gelatin was fully dissolved. Finally, I let the whole mixture cool.
Meanwhile, I set one of the jaconde sponges in a cake tin and placed a perimeter of acetate around the cake. This was to keep the custard contained while it set. I poured all the strawberry & raspberry curd over the cake. Again, I was going for thick layers. I set the whole custard gateau into the fridge to let the curd set.
Chocolate Crème Patisserie
And then came the nightmare child. I was determined to make a chocolate crème patisserie. This was my first time making this recipe and I thought that the cornstarch in the recipe would be enough to set the custard gateau. How foolish… How naïve…
Since I was going for a thick layer, I ended up making a lot of chocolate crème patisserie. It almost felt like an obscene amount. I started by putting milk and vanilla extract into a large pan and warming the mixture over the stove. I picked my third largest pot. This was a mistake. I should have gone with my largest one.
This milk should cook until it just starts to bubble around the edge. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, I ended up whisking together cocoa powder, egg yolks, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Most of the ingredients. I whipped the whole mixture into a light and fluffy mix.
Then I added the warmed milk into the egg mixture. Whisking the whole way. This was when I first realized how much mixture I was going to have. Then I poured the whole mixture back into the pan and I regretted my life. The crème patisserie was right on the edge. I was nervous that the whole mixture would pour out over the side.
I added more chocolate and then ended up adding the butter. And the chocolate crème patisserie was delicious! It was smooth, creamy, and chocolatey. So good. I poured chocolate crème patisserie onto the raspberry curd and placed it into the fridge to set.
But it did not. Well, that is misleading. The crème patisserie did set up but not in the way that I wanted it to. It did not set up quickly (it could have stood up on its’ own after maybe 24 hours). I was terrified to remove the acetate too soon because it would splodge… So, I threw the whole thing into the freezer… Not exactly a solution I would argue others should repeat…
There were two things that really went wrong with this recipe. And when I only had three things in the recipe, that’s basically a failing grade. I regret not adding gelatin to the chocolate crème patisserie because I think that would solve the major problem that I was having.
But the other issue was the jaconde sponge. Maybe it is me. Maybe I do not know what Jaconde sponge should taste like. I did not like this cake at all. It was very almond and had a predominant flavor of egg. Which I don’t think is very delicious. Not when I’m looking for something with a cake texture.
I think the taste of the other two ingredients were delicious. This is something I would like to try again. Maybe with more planning and testing next time.
Creating a Recipe
When creating a recipe, it is important to think about the result. How are you going to accomplish that result? Is there something that needs to be changed? Something that needs to be added? It is a good idea to start with recipes you know and modifying them before going out on a leg and coming up with something completely new.