CHANNELING MARY BERRY

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Let me just say that I am NOT a natural baker. It’s never stopped me, and whatever I make tastes good but might not look so great.  Am I daunted by my lack of baking ability? Nah, I just go for it, knowing Mary Berry shares shoulders with Julia Child on my ever-expanding frame.

Who is Mary Berry, you may ask?  She’s the doyenne of British Baking. As one of the judges on The Great British Bake Off, you may have seen her when the Bake Off did their American version several months ago.  She’s also the author of about 70 cookbooks, so you can be assured she knows what she’s talking about and demonstrating.

We watch Mary on our “UKTV Everywhere” television gizmo from the comfort of our American living room. And this week she made a 4-layer whipped cream and fresh fruit cake.  My assignment, in order to gain entry to a corned beef and cabbage dinner our friends Sue and Bruce were making, was dessert.  So, I channeled Mary Berry!

Four layers was a bit much, so I went for two. Baking a nice British sponge and slicing it in half was the beginning of my adventure into baking-land for the day. The rest was easy. Whipped cream – check. Fresh fruit – check.

I dropped a strawberry slice onto the floor while trying to delicately decorate the top of the cake. And NO, I did NOT invoke the 5-second rule and return it to the cake. I plopped the sweetness into my mouth instead!

You, too can make this easy-peasy, elegant-looking cake no matter how un-advanced you are in the cooking realm. Just bake one round cake, slice in half and decorate.  Oh, and don’t forget to sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on top to give it that extra-special touch!  Hey, if you can read, you can cook!!

CAKE:
Mis en Place:
Ingredients:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Soft butter, or Sweetex, to coat the baking pan
6 ounces fine sugar
6 ounces self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons milk

DECORATION:
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup blueberries
½ cup strawberries, sliced
½ cup blackberries
(or any seasonal fruit)
Confectioner’s sugar

Utensils and Tools:
9” round baking pan
Parchment to line the pan
Kitchen scale
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Stand mixer
Spatula
Slicing knife
Serving dish

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Baking Pan.
Prepare the baking pan by coating it with soft butter or Sweetex. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Butter. Sugar.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until creamy.

Flour. Baking Powder. Eggs. Milk.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour it all into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes – until the center springs back when touched.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Heavy Cream. Sugar.
Whip, adding sugar as you go. Do not over-whip. Taste for sweetness.

Cake.
When cool, use a long, sharp knife and carefully slice the cake in half, creating the two layers. Brush the crumbs away and place on the serving dish.

Whipped Cream.
Spread the cream over the bottom layer, letting it drizzle over the edges.

Fruit.
Add on top of the cream.

Cake.
Place the top layer over the fruit and cream and repeat with the whipping cream and fruit.

Confectioner’s Sugar.
Sprinkle on top to add pizzazz!

Mary Berry will be proud – and so will you!

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