Week 7 Dessert Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

July 31, 2017 Jonna Mayberry Leave a Comment

And then there were six. Dessert week asked the remaining six bakers to craft a roulade (a.k.a. Swiss roll) fit for a whole family, a Marjolaine and 24 mini mousse cakes. The contestants were sidetracked by their swirls, mystified by the flourless Marjolaine, and slightly maddened by their mousse.

Our Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge bakers ran into similar problems as their Great British Baking Show counterparts. But they didn’t back away from the unfamiliar and even took things to the next level with some very Wisconsin twists – and incredibly punny dessert names. Cow-kies and Cream Roulade, anyone?

Here’s our recap of both the show and the submissions we received this week in The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge. Read to the bottom to find out who our local featured bakers are for Week 7!

Haven’t seen the Dessert episode yet? This spoiler alert is for you!


This wasn’t just any roulade; it was a roulade fit for a king … or rather, a family. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were on the lookout for a light sponge, even layers of filling and the perfect swirl.

The contestants learned that avoiding a cracked cake is easier said than done and that an overfilled roulade looks a little “informal” in the end. Getting the perfect ratio of filling to cake can be tricky, and the last thing the bakers wanted was “cream with a bit of sponge.”

Unprompted Marriage Proposal:  Sue to Tom when he was crafting his millionaire’s roll: “I will marry you.”

Best Grumpy Paul Joke: Paul: “It should be interesting.” Sue: “Do you mean that like genuinely, that it’ll be interesting, or in a sort of MWHAHAHAH, sort of classic Paul Hollywood ‘something awful’s gonna happen’ sort of way?”

Most Positive Baker: Instead of cracking under pressure, Benjamina kept cool. “If it does crack, it’s all part of the charm.”

Best Nail-Biter, Heat-of-the-Kitchen Moment: “Pretty is not really in the cards right now. I just gotta get it looking neat,” said Tom, as he slathered his roll with a TON of frosting to cover up the cracks.

Favorite Mary Berry Moment: Mary’s face after Benjamina says she cooked the pineapple down a bit with a bit of rum.

The Takeaway: You can’t always make both judges happy, as Jane found out. While Paul said the alcohol was ruining it, Mary loved it: “Perhaps it’s the bit of tickle in there that I like.”


Rebecca in Stevens Point ran into some cake issues with her Lemon Sponge Roulade, but became a cake doctor in a pinch. “The sponge was quite sticky after it cooled, making it difficult to unroll/roll without tearing the delicate, thin layer of cake. This required using an unconventional approach of ‘gluing’ the cake back together with the cream filling as the roll was assembled! It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”

Bren in Green Bay had a similar issue with her Frankenstein Roulades.  When she started rolling them, “the horrifying Frankenstein moment happened: neither cake rolled well …”

Dani in Edgerton opted for a Peach Swirl Roulade and learned that while presentation is everything, swirlin’ ain’t easy. “One thing I learned is that when rolling the cake you have to notice what way would look best on the outside. I ended up rolling it so the pale side was on the outside and the golden part was on the inside. I would have preferred to have more color on the outside.”

Sharon in Columbus opted for a mousse and ganache filling. “The chocolate mousse recipe said to allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least four hours or up to 24. Four hours was not enough. I rolled up the first log and the mousse oozed out. So I refrigerated everything overnight and filled the second roll the next day.”

One thing we love about this challenge is seeing all of the bakers who keep on baking through thick and thin. Greta in Verona decided to make “The B&B”: A basil sponge with blackberry jam and basil blackberry cream cheese filling. “I’ve never baked a sponge before, so when I took it out of the pan it fell apart and I tried to piece it back together, but it looks a mess. I also tried to make a blackberry jam for the first time and it was very runny.” Greta, like Benjamina, has a great attitude when it comes to baking: “I’m glad I tried it, so now I know for the future!”

Team Kramer also has a sense of humor when it comes to their Chocolate Brandy Cherry Roulade. “We’ve made roulade before but this swirl could have been better. Hummm … could it be that the ‘quality control’ testing of some brandy soaked cherries had something to do with the unevenness of the cream filling?”

We’d like to give a shoutout to Sarah this week, who put in a ton of work but just didn’t like the way her dessert came out in the end. She’s calling her roll: What the HECK was Paul Thinking Liquorice Blackcurrant Swiss Roll. “It sounded so odd I had to try it,” she said. “I don’t need to again, however. The biggest surprise was that I felt EXACTLY like the one guy did a couple seasons ago when he chucked his whole ice cream dessert in the bin. When everything went wrong with this project I wanted to cry and throw the dessert in the garbage. And I wasn’t even being timed, or filmed or stared at by Paul and Mary! Epic fail!”

We must say that  Sarah’s dessert looks pretty gorgeous, in the end!


I think Selasi spoke for all of us when he was like, “UM, WHAT?” when this challenge was announced. Mary and Paul described that a Marjolaine combines layers of nutty meringue, praline buttercream and chocolate ganache (p.s.: this bake is naturally gluten free).  The judges were looking for four distinct layers and perfect ganache.

Least Helpful Explanation Ever: It’s a “French rectangular gateau.” -Sue

Favorite Real-Talk Moment: “Never ever heard of it.”  -Jane

Best Paul Comment: When he said Tom’s bake had gone “a little all over the place.”

Best Baking-Meets Home Decor Snippet: When Tom made a lovely stained-glass praline that he wanted to have “set in his door.” Unfortunately, that praline’s alternate career was shattered when it met the hammer.


To be honest, very few bakers opted for this challenge. Can we blame them? Not one bit. But do we admire those who majorly Marjolained? 100 percent!

Linda in De Pere  dubbed her creation Hickory Sin. She tackled the not-so-easy Marjolaine challenge and added a twist by substituting hickory nuts for hazelnuts to use her backyard bounty.

Wynde in Eleva crafted an Almond Honey Marjolaine, using a traditional Marjolaine recipe by Helen S. Fletcher. “I coated the sides with sliced almonds and the top is covered in almond praline. I drizzled the top with a little honey.” (Local honey, of course!) Wynde found the recipe challenging, but kept on baking. “I had never made praline powder before or ganache with sour cream in it,” she said.

Jenny in Mineral Point made a Touchdown Marjolaine, complete with a Packer G. “I’ve made all the components of this recipe separately in the past, but doing it all at once for one grand piece was pretty overwhelming … The piping isn’t perfect, but it came out pretty well. Mary would say the decoration is ‘informal.'” We love your Wisconsin twist, Jenny!


Showstopper time! The bakers, already exhausted from cracked cakes and painstaking praline, were asked to “please” produce 24 mini-mousse cakes with sponge, 12 each of two different flavors.

Fluffy, aerated mousse is hard enough to achieve in a perfect situation. But this week, on top of everything, the tent was sweltering.

Despite the less-than-ideal tent conditions, the bakers were ambitious, to say the least. Jane decided to go overboard by making a total of five mousses. Yes, FIVE. But she rocked it. Tom decided to go off script with his “Hipster Picnic” theme, which involved a little too much piping. In the end, his picnic was a bit too radical.

Favorite Mel Quote:
“High end and sophisticated, a little bit like Susan and myself!”

Best Adapted Quote: “You know what they say. If you can’t stand the heat …” … get out of the tent?

Most Elaborate Baking Moment: When Andrew explained that his cakes will be served on a custom-built mini-Ferris wheel.

New Knowledge: Melt-in-your-mouth mousse is Paul’s favorite thing in the world.

Premonition Moment: When Paul said Tom was going to struggle with piping. Tom agreed …


Michaleen from Portage crafted Family Favs Mousse Cakes,  with one all-chocolate, Badger-inspired version and one raspberry, lime and white chocolate version. “Mousse is a tricky thing,” said Michaleen, “Trying to make three different flavors of mousse without knowing how … well …”

Jill from Hollandale opted to freestyle her Banana Creme Mousse Cakes & Patriotic White Chocolate Mousse Cakes.  “I just drew a picture of what I wanted and then made the layers separately,” explained Jill. “I learned that using a form or parchment collar is necessary for presentation. I also learned I can make up my own recipes and they will taste just great!”

We absolutely loved Kevin’s from Viroqua’s honesty this week. “So far this was my least favorite baking challenge I have done,” admitted Kevin. “My first mousse is a maple that thankfully set. I filled the cakes with chocolate ganache … My second mousse was just one big disappointment. First, the cake was on the dry, over-baked side. The mousse flavor was a cranberry blueberry. Also, my mousse was not set at all. So I filled the cakes with blueberry jam. Since the mousse was basically a liquid, I filled some dessert glasses with my ‘mousse’ and placed a cake on each one.” Kudos for Kevin for making the most of the situation!

Mary Jane in Eau Claire made After Dinner Mousse Delight. “The biggest surprise was the tape wouldn’t stick to the parchment paper when I made the columns. I learned that it takes quite a while to do this challenge.”

Team Shlimder from Madison continued their impressive Brandy Old Fashioned theme – which they’ve achieved for every challenge so far – with their BOF Mini Mousse Cakes. “We’re absolutely determined to complete all 10 weeks without deviating from the Brandy Old Fashioned theme … so far, so good.”

And speaking of Wisconsin twists, we love the Wisconsin twist Elizabeth in Madison concocted with her State Fair Floats
! She decided to make two flavors of mini mousse cake based on the flavored milk stand at the Wisconsin State Fair: creamsicle and root beer float!


Star Baker: Andrew (for the first time). Yay!

Kicked Out of the Tent: Tom. He was star baker last week, but this week, he took a turn for the worst. The Curse of the Star Baker! It’s never easy to say goodbye. We’ll miss you, Tom!

Meet our Featured Local Bakers for Week 7: Dessert!

Alaina in Milwaukee
Milwaukee Spiced Roulade
Alaina drew inspiration from Julia Child, crafting a carrot cake roulade using carrots from her CSA box and local spices.

Justine in Beaver Dam
Sweet Summer Swiss Roll
Twelve-year-old Justine, one of our youngest bakers, used her homemade strawberry jam and garnished her roll with mint leaves.

Betty in Allouez
Gooseberry Jelly Roll Cake (No Fooling!)
Betty used gooseberries, an antique recipe and baked in a historically accurate 1905 kitchen.

Ralph in Madison
Marjolaine the Marathoner
Ralph’s hand mixer couldn’t handle the praline, but he was still able to create a Marjolaine fit for a marathoner.
Watch Ralph Tackle the Challenge in This Video

Ruth in Oshkosh
Lambeau Layers and Door County Darks
Ruth drew inspiration from the Green Bay Packers and Door County and donated her bakes to the workers at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Jean-Margret in Blanchardville
Genoise With Strawberry-Blackberry Mousse & Hickory Nut With Lemon Mousse
Jean-Margret incorporated local blackberries and hickory nuts, and decorated with the Wisconsin state flower.

Our next challenge is Wisconsin Week, and we couldn’t be more excited! Prep for this challenge by watching the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show online now. Show us your Wisconsin flavor!

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