Week 2: Cake Week
4442, 8884, or 442? That is the question! And no, we’re not talking football tactics here- we’re talking BAKING TACTICS! How much of what, and how many of the other are really needed to produce that classic, quintessentially English treat, the Victoria Sponge Cake. Well let me tell you, what a fantastic idea it was to leave the numbers with someone else!
Challenge Number 2 was upon the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong community, and after the showstopping biscuits last week with Claire Clark- I really needed to pull this one out of the oven. So off I went to the big smoke for the day, to revel in the Summer sunshine, stroll around the Serpentine and… go in search of the perfect Victoria Sponge Cake!
It was a blazing hot August afternoon as I ventured down to London to meet with Heather Kaniuk (@HeatherKaniuk ) at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
I couldn’t wait to find out how an awesome young Kiwi Chef, working in a beautiful hotel with Oriental origins, would interpret this classic and quintessential English bake. And with Heather’s exceptional talent and attention to detail, she clearly had this challenge well and truly covered- I on the other hand, not so much!
Standing from afar, watching and learning, Heather with a cheeky grin gave me some advice I intend on carrying with me whilst venturing into the world of exquisite baking… “fake it till you make it!” However there wasn’t any faking it here- this Chef is a sure fire pro!
The Mandarin Oriental overlooks Hyde Park, and it’s stunning. It’s refreshingly vibrant and relaxing Roseberry room is the perfect place to indulge in afternoon refreshments. Earlier in the Summer I sampled Heather’s fantastic take on the classic English pastime of afternoon tea. Its contemporary twist was a real taste experience, and the Gooseberry and Lime Tart being absolute pastry perfection in my view. I would have expected no less from a Chef, this year crowned winner at the Afternoon Tea Awards for her finest take on Contemporary Afternoon Tea.
And then for today’s Grand Finale, the sponge to conquer all sponges…. A duo of miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes, fresh from the oven… Two beautiful cakes, perfectly baked abiding by the 442, which I’m assured by Heather is actually a 4442… who knew?! With an array of fresh strawberries, cream and an artistic scattering of micro herbs- they were beautiful. Heather’s ability to enhance and embellish this traditional bake, was second to none.
I carefully carried the masterful bakes to the park for a little photo shoot in the summer sunshine- a spongy mini figure delight!
Heather really is a fantastic and talented young Chef- I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next in the realm of delicious pastry! Heather has now ventured over to the dizzy heights of Ting on the 35th floor of The Shard as the new Executive Pastry Chef… with her imaginative and culinary creations combined with pure skill, I’m sure the sky’s the limit! This is great news for me, as it means I need to go and visit her there too! But in all honesty, her pastry creations are mouthwatering and her eye for detail is superb, so if you find yourself taking in the London sights and need an unforgettable cup of tea and slice of cake- you now know where to find her.