Bake #1: Cupcakes


The challenge:

2 dozen cup cakes in two different flavors.

My bake:

Ginger stout cupcake with whiskey glaze and crystallized ginger

Oatmeal cupcake with apple rose and mousseline creme and praline shards

What happened:

So wait what? This is actually happening? I really am baking in the tent with actual cameras looking at my every move and Dan Levy actually just said “ready steady bake” at me. Ok, this is weird. So after that thought went through my head I figured I should probably bake something.

Everything went pretty well to begin with. Ginger stout cupcake went in the oven, started crystallizing ginger. Then I made the oatmeal cake batter and started making apple roses. Why the hell did I decide to do apple roses?! If you’ve never made them before it involves slicing up an apple super thin in little half moons. Then you take them and have fold them into the petals of roses. For the cupcakes the idea is to press the apple rose into the cake batter and it keeps it in shape. Usually it’s done by wrapping them in puff pastry or similar. It takes forever! You have to slice the apples really thin so you can shape them and it’s totally fiddly. You spend ages sorting through apple slices trying to find the right size and then any you didn’t slice thin enough just break. I had asked for a mandolin to do this bit but I was too scared of it to use one first time on national tv. It took way longer than it should of – but about as long as it had every time I practiced it. Definition of madness: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I got them in the oven but now I was in a rush to get whiskey glaze finished and make a mousseline (which I’d only done once before). I decided to abandon the praline shards – there was not going to be time.

The mousseline seemed to work ok but it was very hot in the tent. I mean really hot! Plus, with the not enough time for the apple cupcake to cool, it was going to have to go on hot. This is a problem – mousseline is a delicate mousse-like cream  which will fall into pool of rather dull custard if it gets to warm. It fell into a pool of rather dull custard.

Not to worry – they weren’t a total disaster just not very inspiring – I plated up anyway. My crystallized ginger worked better than ever and overall the ginger cupcakes were pretty much spot on.


Pretty much as I expected – they liked the ginger cake – the apple oatmeal was a bit boring.


Not too bad. I was quite happy with it as a first bake in the tent! Everything went as expected including the things that if I’d really thought about it were definitely not going work. So what did I learn? I learned that the time is going to be the killer! It’s not like at home -“the cupcakes will be ready at 5pm” … “oh actually it’ll be more like 5:15pm” … “no problem”. Nope. In the tent 2 hours is 2 hours and not a second more. Oh and don’t try and make mousseline in a boiling hot tent!



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