Technical Challenges: Patisserie Week

I was feeling a little sorry for myself watching Wednesday’s Great British Bake Off episode. As much as Paul Hollywood may enjoy seeing the contestants squirm and stress over their bakes, it makes me a bit squeamish knowing that I will be attempting the same thing!

Schichttorte certainly looked like a pretty terrifying cake. Fortunately, with plenty of time and a full recipe, it wasn’t as hard as it could have been if I’d been in the contestants’ place.

Still, I knew this would be a tough one, and there were a few problems and disappointments. So here’s how it went:

Paul Hollywood's SchichttorteYou can find the recipe here.

Firstly, count if you like, but I will readily admit right now that there are definitely not 20 layers there! In fact, there are only 10. The reason for this is that, although I made the full recipe, I didn’t have the right size cake tin. Mine was too big. As a result, I knew there was no point in me even attempting 20 layers. I’m relatively pleased with how many I managed though. I think years of making paper-thin French crêpes has paid off! And alternating the layers was ok once I wrote it all down and ticked them off so I knew where I had got to. The only issue was remembering that the last few would cook much quicker, being that much closer to the grill!

Before I coated the cake in apricot jam, I remembered the panellists on Extra Slice complaining about how dry schichttorte is, so I stabbed the cake lightly all over with a sharp knife and brushed it with Baileys to help it soak in a little moisture. I then brushed apricot jam over the top.

Schichttorte 1I don’t have the rum suggested for the glazes in the recipe so I used Baileys for them instead, which worked really well. I had a similar problem to Nancy at first when I tried pouring the chocolate glaze over the cake and it didn’t stick well to the sides. But I allowed it to cool a little more and smoothed the sides with the back of a spoon and managed to get it right second time round.

I made half the amount suggested for the vanilla glaze, and still ended up with loads left over (and as you can see, I didn’t skimp!), but I often find I have that problem with icings in recipes!

Schichttorte 2This cake is all about the look. It is impressive when you cut into it and see the layers, but I have to agree with the comments on its dryness – even with the extra moisture from the Baileys, it was still a little dry! It’s very pretty, and the flavours are yummy, but I’m not a big fan of the texture.

If you do have it, I’ve discovered that serving it with a big dollop of crème fraîche helps turn it into an excellent bake.

Schichttorte 3



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