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We race (electronically) and the loser has to bake a cake to feed the office.
Why? Because we like cake.
Who? Everyone in the office. No one gets out of it. When? 1st Monday of the month. The rules: you make the cake yourself, without any help. You can't 'repeat' a cake. Your cake will be judged on presentation, difficulty and taste, and marked out of 10 by each colleague. When you have baked 3 cakes, you are out of the competition for 1 year.
Orange Praline Meringue Cake by Sue
Sue chose to make a genoise sponge for Cake Monday as she's never done one before and had always fancied making one (such a refreshing change to have someone embrace Cake Monday!!). To make the genoise, Sue had to whisk eggs over hot water and the air whisked into the eggs is what makes the sponge rise (there's no rising agent). Side fact: a genoise is also a good sponge to eat because there's very little fat in it. Butter and flour were very slowly incorporated into the whisked eggs as was orange zest. This cake has FOUR layers, so Sue then turned her attention to making the praline. This involved heating whole almonds with sugar until it caramelises and then allowing it to set and cool so it's brittle before whizzing it up to crumb consistency. Sue then made & cooked 2 flat layers of almond meringue (as you do) before making an orange buttercream. Some of the praline was added into the buttercream. The cake was assembled alternating the different layers; sponge, meringue, and buttercream. The whole cake was neatly covered in the orange buttercream and coated with the praline crumbs. Sue piped a pattern using the buttercream on top of the cake.
Katie had been waiting for this moment for 2 years and she REALLY liked it, especially the praline and the meringue. The sponge was light and sweet and we massively appreciated the clear effort that had gone into this cake as well as the different techniques employed which made it look so professional. Callum felt the introduction of chocolate would have increased his score and Jamie went against the grain claiming it "wasn't my kind of cake". It was Greg's kind of cake however, who enjoyed the gooey meringue. George found the cake a little dry with the combo of meringue and genoise, but was in awe of Sue's achievement, particularly the hot egg whisking moment.
Orange Praline Meringue Cake Average Score: 9
Next time: we've taken to videoing the race as proof when colleagues are on holiday and get selected as next month's baker. Dom is back in the kitchen, not a place he frequents.