I made the fondant fancies from The Great Canadian Baking Show
GCBS fan Anne T. Donahue hits peak frustration trying to bake this week's fondant fancies.
After overcoming a harrowing head cold AND making bagels last week, our brave baker is back to attempt the third technical challenge of The Great Canadian Baking Show: Dessert Week's fondant fancies. As Linda would say, read the recipe ALL the way through before you start. But even then...this recipe could be our most challenging bake yet!
The good news: I'm not sick! I mean, I'm still coughing, and I am for sure going to infect anybody who touches these tiny cakes, but I don't feel ill. And at the end of the day, that's all any of us can really ask for.
Now, let's get the rest of this week's housekeeping out of the way. This recipe calls for almond paste, I did not buy almond paste. This recipe also calls for vanilla paste, and I'm a regular person so I only have "regular" vanilla in my home because I'm not a #gourmand. Also, you can kiss the decorative flowers atop each cake goodbye because are you kidding me. No. This isn't The Ritz. I'm typing this while drinking hot chocolate that's been sitting out for the last two hours. So we move on.
Finally, the recipe calls for pate a glacer which I think is glorified melted white chocolate. Regardless, I couldn't find it, so four bags of Chipits is what we're dealing with.
Basically, what I'm saying is: OH YOU FANCY, HUH? (Drake's reading this, right?) We have two hours.
00:00 — So already, we're making substitutions. I'm using almond extract in lieu of almond paste, and I don't feel bad about it. Also, what is up with so many recipes being into almonds? SOME OF US JUST LIKE REGULAR-TASTING STUFF.
00:02 — Separating the eggs from the egg yolks is gross. I know Terri used her hands like a pro, but I am not one and I am audibly voicing my disgust as I endure this horror.
00:08 — Can I be real with you guys? I hate lemon zest. I like lemons, I hate zest. Also, the last time I tried to properly grate anything I lost a nail. I'm using pulp. You hear me, judges? I'm. Using. Pulp.
Every baker in the tent would hate me for being such a #rebel. Also, for being so loud all the time.
00:09 — Admittedly, this batter is already far too runny.
00:15 — Did you know it takes about ten minutes to acquire the stiff peaks of a French meringue? I do now, and, like Vandana, just tipped the bowl over in a display of professionalism to prove to myself and to anyone looking into my windows that I am a perfect baker.
00:30 — Here's the thing about "folding" the meringue into my yolk-disaster. I don't know what that means. Like, does it mean: stir? Because folding the meringue into my liquidy almond sludge definitely tuned into a stir, as did adding the flour I sifted like a responsible grownup. In this moment, I am Jude who has the tendency to beat the air out of their sponge. And you know what? I'm fine with it. Jude did fine, so maybe sometimes we don't have to be gentle. (Also, there's chunks of flour everywhere? Huh?)
Whatever. Let's bake this thing.
00:32 — Admittedly, no, I should not have used margarine to grease the sheet tray. But also, the parchment I used burned last time, so at this point, we're all just trying our best.
00:33 — Right, okay. Look. So I made a mistake. Looking ahead at the recipe, I may have mistaken butter for flour, and added 330 grams of flour to my batter instead of the recommended ("recommended") 100. This isn't my fault. It is the fault of all of you for not stopping me and saying, "Wow, what a shockingly enormous amount of flour you're planning to use." And/or pulling me away from the bowl and screaming "No!" until I wept.
Whatever, it's too late to turn back (also I only have four eggs left), so we venture on. The cake smells GREAT, by the way.
01:00 — Oh, wow I hate this recipe. Like, I really hate it. Guys, I hate a lot of things (and I mean a lot of things) but this recipe might be among the top six for real. First: when making the syrup, I didn't know what 240 degrees should look like because I don't have a candy thermometer. So when I assumed what it would look like, I was treated to literal egg/sugar water liquid. And as mentioned, I'm all out of eggs, so the buttercream, as we know it, no longer exists.
So I'm doing something else: butter, icing sugar, vanilla. Because you can't win them all, but you might as well try.
01:10 — My GOD, that is good. ONTO THE ASSEMBLY.
01:20 — I hate this. I hate that I've baked a glorified cookie. Even James' cake with little-to-no rise has more rise than mine. (It is what it is, James.)
And you know what James? They could've just started by saying "make a jam sandwich." And while we're here, I too did not notice that I was supposed to add ¼ cup of jam, and just assumed I was fine with adding however much I wanted in the moment I was adding it. Hence, there is nothing light or fluffy about any of this. We're in the bad place. I hate that the jam is spreading in the manner reserved for spreading jam on cookies. I hate that the cake has the consistency of a stale jaffa. I hate this recipe. I hate it so much.
01:30 — I am eating buttercream out of the bowl. This has nothing to do with me baking, and everything to do with me physically devouring my frustration. I should also mention that out of frustration, I left the bowl of liquid egg-yolk-water-sugar on the back deck because I don't want to even look at it right now.
Also, I may have cut the cake into pieces before adding the layer of buttercream. Hence, we have a Monet on our hands: great from far away, but close up? A big 'ol mess.
01:32 — The cookie-cakes (because there is nothing fancy about what's happening right now) are in the freezer. I am melting the white chocolate chips. I have burned my hand in dish water. There is a small part of me that wants to throw a tantrum, and another part of me that wants to confront Linda and scream "HOW."
01:40 — So I've accepted that I can't ice and make ten. There's just no way. I iced one, and between adding too much buttercream, using a pot that's too small, and not being neat (hi, Corey) in my application of chocolate-icing-whatever-this-is, I will be lucky if I do two in twenty minutes. Who invented these? Show yourselves. Everybody hates you.
01:55 — I have done five. Five is what will happen. You get five. Six is a stretch, seven is impossible because there's just not enough time or energy left in me. Who are these for? Who eats these? I want to know. I want you to tell me why. Why do you prefer them. Why are they so sweet? Do you actually like this much white chocolate? It's everywhere. It's all over my belongings. I feel sick. You remember that scene in Love, Actually when the kid says "I hate Uncle Jamie?" That kid is me. I am that kid.
I hate fondant fancies. And if you like them, I might — temporarily — hate you too.
Fancy attempting this week's challenge? Share your baking efforts with us on social with the hashtag #GCBSbakealong