#GreatBloggersBakeOff2014 Week One: Cake

Monday 11 August 2014 by

Week One: Cake

Gluten free red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream filling

#GreatBloggersBakeOff2014

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We all know by now how much I love cake, and that I am often on the hunt for some good gluten-free offerings. I also happen to have a bit of an obsession with Great British Bake Off, and when Carole found this out, I was hastily roped in to the Great Bloggers Bake Off.

The rules are simple (pick a challenge from each week of GBBO and copy!) and so this week was even simpler: cake!

Three challenges – a Swiss roll, a Mary Berry cherry cake, or 36 miniature British cakes – and I quickly opted for the one I deemed the easiest. You can start laughing now, because I was under the impression that one single Swiss roll would be easier than 36 miniature cakes, and the perfect cherry cake would be beyond my weak gluten-free power.

This is not so. Swiss rolls are HARD. They are ROLLS of cake with STUFF inside them. And you have to roll them correctly, without cracking.

And of course, I chose to try it gluten free (so I could actually taste it). I’ll give you a moment to wipe away your tears of derision before I tell you what I then proceeded to decide.

RED. VELVET. SWISS. ROLL.

I adore red velvet cake, but have yet to uncover a decent tasting gluten free version – in my primitive baking mind it’s because they probably don’t adjust the wet ingredients and the combination of flour and cocoa powder makes a dry cake when using GF flours. Anyway. I decided that I wanted to try red velvet cake, and what better way to give it a go than in roll form? I had spotted Kate on GBBO making the same thing (a perfect roll, but a dry bake), and so couldn’t resist…

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You will need:

  • Square baking tray with deep sides (or a Swiss roll tin if you have one)
  • Baking parchment
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 1 small bowl
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve (to sift flour)

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 120g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons red food colouring
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 225g buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the filling:

  • 140g softened butter
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • Half a tsp vanilla

How to make it:

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Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°c fan) and line a square baking tray with baking parchment. You’ll want one with deep-ish sides. You can also get a Swiss roll tin if you feel underconfident in your baking tray capabilities.

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Cream the butter, sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy. Make a paste with the food colouring and cocoa powder and add in to the butter mixture. Then mix the buttermilk, salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a separate bowl, and add to the mixture. Slowly sift the flour in and blend.

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Pour the mixture in to the tray and bake until soft and slightly bouncy to touch – around 20 minutes, but this is a cautious moment, so watch it closely – over-baked and it will be too dry and crack!

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Once baked, take it out. You can either choose to roll straight away, or wait for it to cool. From GBBO, it looked like a hot-roll (so to speak) worked better, and so as gluten free cake tends to be drier, and therefore more likely to split, I chose hot. Tip it out on to a fresh piece of baking parchment so that the cake is sandwiched between the two. Mind your fingers, and make a tight roll (keeping the baking parchment on) and set aside to cool.

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Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a bowl, beat the butter until soft, add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, a tablespoon of milk, and the vanilla. It needs to be creamy and smooth (add in more milk if needed), and soft enough to spread evenly.

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Once the roll has cooled, unroll, get rid of your parchment and spread an even layer of the buttercream on the inside. This needs to be thick enough to be seen, but thin enough to still get a swirl when you look at it side-on. Then you re-roll (carefully), making sure you get a good swirl and even layer of buttercream between each layer of cake.

Dust with icing sugar, and ta da! One gluten free red velvet Swiss roll with vanilla buttercream.

The verdict:

This was about ten times more stressful than any other cake I have made – from a sudden disaster with running out of red food colouring (I would call it more a reddy-brown velvet cake) to throwing flour and cocoa powder and icing sugar all over myself and everywhere else. Then trying to roll it came up with a huge-and-only-slightly-rolled shape that I was convinced I had split into thousands of pieces because I hadn’t been as delicate with it as I had wanted to (turns out cake fresh from the oven is HOT). The buttercream was the first thing to work without mishap!

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But as for the cake itself? Well, as you can see it was a complete and categorical disaster. The moment I unrolled it, it fell in to pieces. And the colour was more chocolate than red, which was annoying. A hasty gluing-together with buttercream and generous sprinkle of icing sugar and the final result was something that more resembled a chocolate log than anything too red velvet-y or Swiss roll-y. Lesson learnt: gluten free does not a Swiss roll make.

The flavour isn’t too bad. You get a nice balance of the chocolate with the vanilla, but it’s certainly clear it’s a gluten free cake because it errs on the dry side, which is a shame. I’m particularly proud of the buttercream – smooth, with just the hint of vanilla. Once I had one cut in, the swirl was a bit clearer, which I was pleased with, but it did have a habit of crumbling.

Next week is biscuit week. I would say I feel more confident in my success, but then spot the rubble of the Swiss roll and know that I would never survive the Great British Bake Off tent!

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Week One: Disaster

Want to bake along with GBBO and the Great Bloggers Bake Off? Head over to Mummy Mishap to find out more…

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4 Comments

  1. Bless your cotton socks! Well done you! I too am a glutenfree baker (check out my disaster as well…I used ground almonds!) and it’s REALLY hard. All of my bakes in last year’s Great Bloggers Bake Off were GF. Most worked, some didn’t. You have to laugh! Yours looks very tasty though and I do love Red Velvet Cake! Well done you and it’s a pleasure to see another GF baker in the group! 🙂

    Karin

  2. well i think you did really well considering it is GF and i bet it tasted nice thank you for joining in 🙂 xx

  3. I think you did brilliantly managing to roll it up and it really looks yummy. You’re just going to have to try again 😉

  4. Oh I bet with plenty of buttercream or whipped cream on the side it was delicious. I thought the red velvet swiss roll was a great idea, I love a red velvet cake!

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