I've watched The Great British Bake Off since it first started. I've watched the highs and lows, the disasters and the feats of baking excellence and I've judged them from afar. What I learnt last week was that the Technicals are far more difficult than they look.
Continuing on with my Great British Bake Off Bake Along, I decided to make the Angel Slice recipe. It's something I would never normally attempt, but I thought it would be fun...
I was wrong.
For a start, the recipe is more complicated than necessary. They use this recipe... It has a million steps and is such a complicated way to make a Genoese sponge, so from the start I decided to do my own thing. I don't have the energy or time to be heating sugar up to 43°C when I can make a perfectly good sponge in a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
I went for a far simpler four ingredient recipe. I also didn't bother with Italian meringue buttercream. I made a simple buttercream of butter and icing sugar, with a little vanilla extract, whizzed up in the Kitchen Aid while I could rest with my feet up.
Half way through the recipe, I wondered why I'd not bought a pack of Mr Kipling's when I was shopping. For £1 you can't beat them.
There's no way I could have done them in the set time and I had to pace and rest between each stage - the joys of ME/CFS, but I got there in the end.
I was so exhausted by the time I finished, I completely forgot to take a picture of the first cake, only getting one with the leftover batter I used up in a smaller tin.
Amazingly, the sponges rose, the icing looked pretty and feathered and I had enough cakes to take to a social gathering I was going to.
Everyone was excited to try them, me not so much. I was still questioning if they had been worth the effort... then I ate one.
I didn't expect anything. I'd sworn I would never make them again, but they were absolutely delicious. Better even than Mr Kipling's. Everybody else loved them too and some had seconds.
While I won't be making them regularly, I will consider doing them for very special occasions.
Are Angels Slices Worth a Trip to the Shame Box?
Eating them is definitely worth a trip to the Shame Box. They're delicious: light sponge, sweet icing, creamy buttercream, what's not to love?
Making them? No way, they're are more fun things to bake that take far less faffing around. I'd rather use my time and energy for something more satisfying.
The Choice - imagine a world where sugar is illegal, baking is a crime and the government use diet, exercise and shame to keep people in line. Winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition, Good Housekeeping Book of the Month and The Times Audiobook of the Week. The Choice is available now as a paperback, ebook and audiobook.