Throughout the pandemic, my friend and I have been baking our way through the Great British Bake Off’s many challenges. We dubbed our challenge attempts The Great Distanced Bake Off, as she lives in Korea, and I’m on the East Coast of the United States. This is our 27th technical challenge! To follow along and to see what else we’ve baked up over the last year or so, follow the hashtag #greatdistancedbakeoff on Instagram.
This gem is called a Spanische Windtorte, and it’s a confection of two different types of meringue, berries, whipped cream, and fondant violets. For any of you Harry Potter lovers out there, this is the pudding Aunt Petunia made for the Masons in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the pudding Dobby splattered all over the kitchen.
The entire time I was making this, I was thinking to myself there is no way that Aunt Petunia put this much effort into a dessert. And if she did, no wonder she was so angry that it ended up being thrown about her kitchen. Because wow, there is a lot to this! Twelve total egg whites were used to build up the shell and lid of the cake. The inside is full of whipped cream, raspberries, and strawberries. All good things.
If you’d like to try this recipe yourself, you can find it here.
The recipe begins with making a French meringue. The key to a good meringue, regardless of type, is patience. French meringue requires sugar to be added as it is whipping up to stiff peaks, and this recipe uses a LOT of it. It took me about a half an hour to fully incorporate the sugar into the meringue. That patience paid off, however, as once it was baked, this was one of the best meringues I’ve made.
The French meringue was piped into five circles, two filled, three just rings, then baked. I initially piped my meringue a little too thin, so I ended up going back to the first hoop and making it a bit more robust. The shell of the cake was made by stacking the rings on top of one of the filled circles, and then covering the entire thing in more French meringue to hold it all together. Once that was baked, I made a Swiss meringue to make the decorative borders around the bottom and top of the cake. Swiss meringue doesn’t technically need to be baked, as the creation of it cooks the egg whites. But, this recipe told me to bake it once I decorated, so back into the oven all the meringue went for the third time.
Meanwhile, I shifted my focus to the fondant violets that would decorate the cake. I had some extra marshmallows laying around my house, so I decided to make my own marshmallow fondant. It was a great decision, the fondant actually tasted very good. My downfall in the fondant flowers, however, came to when I tried to expedite the drying process. My marshmallow fondant took FOREVER to dry out, so I added a little heat to the process. The heat was a bit much, and my flowers ended up melting slightly (but hey! They dried out!).
Once the meringue shell was out of the oven for good, I whipped up some cream, added strawberries and raspberries, and spooned it into the cake. The last meringue circle went on top as a lid. The lid was my only true French meringue failure. I had such bad cracking, I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to get it on top. The little blobs of Swiss meringue however, helped glue the cracks together a bit! Woo!
After it was finished, I simply stood back and looked at it, having one of those, “I can’t believe I made this,” moments. This may have been a technical challenge, but the overall finish of it was truly a showstopper.