Drumroll please.... we are super excited to launch Anna's Bake Off -- a monthly baking challenge (a spin off from our popular Cooking Club Challenge).
Here's how it works:
We hope you'll participate so without further ado... we'll let Anna take it from here.
Let’s kick off what will now be a regular monthly feature – Anna's Bake Off -- with a real celebration! It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this month and why not celebrate with a proper afternoon tea?
I’m a big fan of afternoon tea – I’m definitely a tea drinker, but I do love the ritual that counters our normal routine and has us stop midday to enjoy a cup along with savoury and sweet treats. If you’ve ever been to a Fairmont Hotel that offers afternoon tea, then you know what I mean - there is such a friendly formality to the service and I have made it a mission to have tea at every Fairmont property that offers it. Most recently I visited Victoria, BC and insisted on setting aside time to have tea at The Empress Hotel with my dear friend, Lisa.
From the white tablecloth, the china cups and silver service to the tiered tray, we felt so much like Lady Lisa and Countess Anna, and we are definitely a far cry from that ;)
If you’re going to make a point of celebrating afternoon tea, whether for the Queen’s Jubilee, or to celebrate a birthday, graduation or other tea-friendly occasion, then you need a dessert worthy of the pomp. Give my Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue a try. The cake itself is light and fluffy, and the colour looks exactly like a cup of earl grey with milk, and the taste matches.
When posting your photos of your creation, I’d love to also see a tea-time setting, whether using your grandma’s doilies and tea cups or going modern with clean lines. Whatever inspires you, tell me about it! And remember, you can watch my Chiffon Cake episode of Bake with Anna Olson on this website, to get some expert insight into making a super chiffon cake.
Enjoy this baking challenge and if you find yourself getting stressed, remind yourself what the Brits say: “Keep Calm and Carry On!”
EARL GREY CHIFFON CAKE with MAPLE MERINGUE
Makes one 10-inch tube cake
Serves 16 to 20
2 Earl Grey tea bags
¾ cup boiling water
8 egg whites at room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
2 ¼ cups pastry flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3 oz milk chocolate, chopped and melted
2 egg whites at room temperature
½ tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar
¾ cup pure maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Keep an 10-inch tube pan ungreased.
2. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water, until the water cools to room temperature. Remove the bags, without squeezing out excess liquid, then top up the water to its original ¾ cup measure.
3. Whip the whites with the cream of tar until foamy, then add ¼ cup of the sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak. Set aside.
4. Sift the flour, the remaining 1 ¼ cups of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt into a large bowl or into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Add the cooled tea, the vegetable oil, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest. Whip this mixture on high until it is thick, about 4 minutes. Add the melted milk chocolate and whip in on low speed. Fold in half of the whipped egg whites by hand until they are incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites (the batter will be quite fluid).
5. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed. Invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack and cool the cake upside down in its pan. To extract the cake, run a spatula or knife around the outside edge of the cake, then tap the cake out onto a plate.
6. To prepare the maple meringue, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then add the sugar and whip the whites just to a soft peak. Bring the maple syrup to a boil and cook uncovered and without stirring until it reaches a temperature of 242 F (softball stage) on a candy thermometer. While beating on medium speed, carefully pour the maple syrup into the meringue by pouring it down the side of the bowl (this will help prevent splashing of hot syrup) and continue whipping until the mixture has cooled but is not quite room temperature, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
7. Use a spatula to spread the meringue over the entire surface of the cake (use a small spatula or butter knife to frost the cake inside the center hole. Store the cake at room temperature until ready to serve and only cover with plastic wrap the interior cake once cut.
From “Back to Baking” Whitecap Books 2011
We created a chart for level of difficulty to guide you on your Bake Off journey.
Level 1 – Easy – A simple one to make with the kids
Level 2 – Moderately Easy – Pay attention while baking, but still approachable for the novice baker
Level 3 – Moderate – Some experience required – May take a little planning
Level 4 – Moderately Advanced – Ready to show off a little?
Level 5 – Advanced – Superstar baker!
Anna rated her Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue at 3.5.
Posted: Thu, Jun 28 2012
by Anna Olson