I’ve had several requests for the recipe for my showstopper from the Christmas Bake Off episode shown on Christmas Day.
Whilst I could just copy/paste from the document I submitted to the production company, it would make this post enormous and you’d be scrolling for days. In addition, it would take a full four hours of constant making/baking and multitasking in order to replicate the cake in its entirety. I suggest cherry-picking your favourite and having something a lot less stressful in a pleasingly short amount of time.
Instead, I’ll reveal the full extent of my CREATIVITY and CUNNING by pointing out – that the majority of the showstopper can be assembled from recipes already on the blog. Much in the same way as <insert trademarked brand of interlocking toy bricks here>, I took bits from here and there and used them to create the various components of the finished recipe.
The reasons were numerous:
- requirements of the brief (numerous)
- limited planning time (3 weeks)
- strictness of guidelines (extreme)
- decoration exclusions (numerous)
- time limit (4 hours)
But mostly to demonstrate that it is possible to rearrange favourite recipes that you already know how to make into something new and exciting and delicious. So I made a whole bunch of things and then put them together into one cake.
Below is the running order of things I had to make and where I got the original idea.
My Christmas Cakey-Bakey Make Order
- Chocolate Joconde – used a double quantity of this recipe, but with 80g cocoa and no flour, making it both really chocolate-y and gluten-free
- Spice Joconde – a double quantity of the same joconde recipe, but with 225g dark muscovado sugar instead of the icing sugar and just 70g plain flour plus 2tsp each of ginger, allspice, mixed spice.
- Spekulaas crumb – made using this recipe not formed into biscuits. Bake the crumb for 8-10 minutes until crisp.
- Lemon curd & Seville Orange curd – 2 batches using the Honey Curd recipe, the lemon batch made with lemon-blossom honey, orange batch made with orange-blossom honey and the zest and juice of 2 Seville oranges.
- Vanilla Cream x 2 & Spekulaas cream – using the cream filling from this recipe, scaling up each batch by multiplying the recipe by 1.5 (so 300ml of creams, etc) and swapping the extract for 2 vanilla beans. For the spekulaas cream I omitted the vanilla/sugar and added 300g of spekulaas biscuit crumbs.
- Fill cakes, cover with cling film & chill until required. So few words describing such a major part of the process! OK, here we go:
- For the chocolate cake
- Cut three evenly-sized pieces from the two joconde sponges.
- Place one piece on a board and spread with a thin layer of vanilla cream. This will both keep the sponge moist and prevent the curd from soaking into the cake.
- Spread a second piece of sponge with a thin layer of vanilla cream.
- Put the rest of the vanilla cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1 or 2cm tip and pipe dots of cream around the outside edge of the cake both to give a neat appearance and to prevent the curd from leaking out.
- Pour half the Seville orange honey curd onto the middle of the cake and spread evenly.
- To prevent the next layer from ‘sagging’ in the middle, pipe a line of vanilla cream from left to right and from top to bottom, dividing the layer into quarters.
- Add the next layer of sponge using the piece of cake spread with vanilla cream. Repeat the piping around the edge and spread the remaining curd.
- Lay the remaining piece of cake on top and press gently.
- Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge (although I used the freezer due to the time limit) until required.
- For the spice cake
- As above, using the spice joconde cake, vanilla cream and lemon honey curd.
- For the spekulaas cake
- I’ve had a lot of enquiries asking for the recipe for the spekulaas cake. But here’s the thing. I didn’t make a spekulaas cake. I used 2 layers of chocolate joconde and 2 layers of spice cake, sandwiched with spekulaas crumb cream and crunchy Lotus Biscoff spread. The flavours go well together individually (chocolate/spekulaas/Biscoff, spice cake/spekulaas/Biscoff) as well as all together (chocolate/spice cake/spekulaas/Biscoff). So you could use any of these combinations to make your own version.
- Spread one piece of cake with the spekulaas cream and as with the other tiers, pipe dots of the cream around the edges.
- Zap some of the Biscoff spread briefly in the microwave, until it softens enough to pour, and use as per the fruit curd in the other tiers. Use as little or as much as you like.
- Repeat the layering as required.
- For the chocolate cake
My decoration requests were vetoed so many times, I ended up opting for a variation of something I’d seen on-line. I used strips of lace of different patterns – one was even of Christmas puddings! – and laid them over the top of the cakes, then dusted liberally with icing sugar. Due to the long interval between the end of the challenge and the judging, the icing sugar was starting to dissolve, as you can see on the photo. If you leave this until just before serving, your decoration will be crisp and clear and will wow your guests.
I’ll keep the details of the other decorations (chocolate Christmas trees & chocolate choux Christmas puddings) for another time, because there’s more than enough here to keep you out of mischief for the moment.
Have fun! 😀