October 26, 2013

Victoria Sandwich Cake

I'm obsessed with this British reality show on BBC2 called "The Great British Bake Off", aka GBBO.   Each week the UK's best home bakers compete in three challenges centered around a common theme, e.g., Breads, Tarts, Pastry.  From the formidable judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, to the hysterical presenters, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, I love everything about this show.   CBS tried it's own version this past summer, The American Baking Competition, but unfortunately it just didn't measure up.  

Sadly BBC America doesn't broadcast GBBO on this side of the pond so I've had to get my fix on YouTube.  The very first challenge in the latest series was to make a "sandwich" or layer cake.  Several of the competitors made the British classic, Victoria Sandwich, named after Queen Victoria herself.  Apparently this vanilla cake layered with jam and fresh whipped cream was an afternoon tea favorite of the sovereign.  

It couldn't be easier to make and visually I find it quite stunning in its simplicity.  Give it a go for yourself!

October 20, 2013

Pumpkin-Pistachio Roll

I love fall.   Not only does the weather turn crisp and my cashmere sweaters are in heavy rotation, but baking takes on a different tone.  While spring and summer may emphasize fresh fruits and cool temperatures, in the autumn it's all about warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Pumpkin is the quintessential fall flavor.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin whoopie pies - I love them all!  This pumpkin roll is one I'll be adding to the line-up.  I took the original recipe from Libby's and replaced the cream cheese filling with pistachio Swiss meringue buttercream.  Yes, I know cream cheese is traditional, but pistachio is a personal favorite of mine and I thought the two flavors would go well together.  I wasn't wrong...try it for yourself. 

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