I hadn’t planned to blog tonight but I couldn’t resist – who knew Victorian baking was so flamboyant?! When I heard that the Bake Off theme this week was Victorian baking I was slightly disappointed. However, after watching the episode and doing a little bit of research, I have been pleasantly surprised and certainly inspired! The Victorians apparently invented baking powder, ready made gelatin and afternoon tea so they had quite a hand in changing the way we bake in England.
The technical challenge set by Mary and Paul (tennis cake) was certainly a surprise – I had assumed that marzipan and sugar paste were modern inventions. But this impressive cake was invented by the Victorians to commemorate the new game of lawn tennis. And what a way to celebrate such a wonderful game- fruit cake, marzipan and sugar paste (sounds like my husband’s idea of heaven on a plate!).
The Victorian era was an era of prosperity in this country and this was reflected in the theatrical bakes produced by the bakers of the day. This was shown in all of the challenges tonight, all of which, even the game pies, had wonderfully intricate designs and decoration. Writing this from my comfortable, cosy kitchen table I can’t imagine what it would be like to try and create such amazing bakes in a Victorian kitchen (I’m looking lovingly at my KitchenAid now!). It wasn’t until the end of the era that temperature controlled ovens were introduced (imagine baking without knowing the temperature?!). I have a new found appreciation for the temperature setting on my oven!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my trip back in time tonight! I usually stick to simple, classic decoration for my bakes but tonight’s Bake Off episode has inspired me and I am now intending to try and make my own. Watch this space for some ilovetobake sugarpaste!