Ralph from Madison, WI (2017 Week 10: The Final)




Madison, WI

Baking Challenge

Victoria Sandwich

Give your creation a name based on the flavors and decoration – and tell us about your recipe.

Capitol Centennial Sandwich Cake. Our State Capitol turns 100 this year, and this certainly deserves a tribute cake. For mine I used Mary Berry’s recipe for the sponge, which actually is just a basic pound cake. I couldn’t find any local berries anymore so when my wife went shopping at the Willy Street Co-op she bought raspberry rhubarb jam from Slack’s out of Lodi, Wisconsin. The butter cream is a special creation I came up with. I really love a good buttercream but I felt that just butter and sugar (as is often suggested for this cake) is too heavy. So, I lightened (…) it up with cream cheese and a little bit of buttermilk (all local). It turned out stiff enough to hold the top layer of the cake and it tastes just fabulously buttery and cream-cheesy . For the decoration of the top I needed a stencil. It is the official logo for the celebration, which we printed and then cut out. The piping is my wife’s. If you see my handwriting, you know why.

What was your favorite thing about The Great Wisconsin Baking challenge overall (whether you participated in one or all challenges)? What did you learn from this final challenge? What are you most proud of when it comes to your bake?

Hadn’t it been for the challenges I probably wouldn’t have made a Marjolaine or Jaffa Cakes or a the Bakewell Tart. It was great to try out these new recipes and to bake along with fellow Wisconsinites over the summer. I was so impressed by how well Wisconsin bakes and how much people love it.

The final challenge showed me again that even the simplest recipe requires dedication and thought. Although the elements of the sandwich are fairly simple, I had to make sure that my butter and cream cheese had similar temperatures so they would mix well. And, I learned that I have to up my game when it comes to decoration.

Baking is always humbling because there are so many variables that affect the outcome. I think that over the years I have developed a sense of how a batter must feel to be right, or in other words, to get a sense of the art of baking and not the pure science of it.

Did you incorporate three local ingredients into your Final creation? Tell us about your Wisconsin twist!

As always, I used local dairy products (milk, butter, cream cheese, eggs, buttermilk) and Wisconsin made jam. The Wisconsin twist, as explained above, is that this is a cake to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

How did you do?

Absolutely lovely.