Round 4 of Battle of the Bakers Hong Kong took place on Saturday at The Mixing Bowl in Sheung Wan where the remaining 8 contestants brought in celebration cakes they had made during the week based on their fondant lesson from the previous time. They also learnt how to form the perfect macaroon.
The macaroon class was taken by Victor, one of the founders of the The Mixing Bowl. Each contestant chose a different colour for their macaroon which was otherwise unflavoured apart from the almond. They piped the mixture onto trays where tracing paper guided them to form circles. The noise level then increased dramatically as they banged their trays on the counter top repeatedly until the piping peak flattened to form perfect demi-spheres. Before baking them, they were rested and dried out for around 30 minutes, which prevents them from cracking. Their sheets of baking paper were then transferred to a very hot, preheated oven tray.
While the macaroons baked, each contestant presented their celebration cake along with the story behind it and methods used. Everyone used the same recipe for the sponge cake, given to them by Anouska from the Rose Petal Cakery, although with very different results in terms of taste.
First up was Veronica’s girly pink creation whose daughter had been her inspiration. Her free-hand ballet shoes and sharp silhouettes impressed the judges and the cake was beautifully soft. It was hard to find fault with this one.
Karina constructed a bridal shower cake with stunning hydrangea and peony flowers attached, although there was a little bulging resulting from having not smoothed the butter cream sufficiently. Her cake inside was otherwise well executed.
Jessica had worked very hard during the week, like all the contestants, to produce a sweet 16 cake with an ombre icing effect. While parts of the decoration were slightly untidy, the golden crown perched on top was a work of art and masterpiece in skill. The judges then discovered it was the fourth that she had made that week.
Paridhi made a birthday cake in honour of her father using the chevron technique she had learnt the previous week, as well some beautifully constructed bow ties and ruffles. Unfortunately there were parts of the fondant that resembled elephant skin. This week, the contestant was unable to show off what she is really good at: flavours.
Sunshine, absent due to a wedding, had transported her cake to the judges earlier in the week. Its “East meets West” design showed skill in its creation but perhaps lacked the aesthetics of some of the other contestants.
A Baby Boy cake was the design chosen by Grace complete with 3D fondant butterflies and brush embroidery she had undertaken with the pinpoint technique. While her butterflies flattened a little in the humidity, on the whole the judges were pleased.
The last presentation was from Jeanne whose sari inspired cake celebrated the engagement of two of her friends. While normally vegan, she made a traditional sponge cake this week, cooking with buttercream for the first time. Although the judges have loved her style since the start of the competition, they felt the standard of fondant had been better from others, so decided to eliminate her.
Luisa, who had performed well during the earlier part of her competition with her decorated cookies and vegetable cake, was sadly unable to complete the fondant task due to work commitments and therefore will not be continuing in the contest.
The next round takes place at Umami Concepts where the contestants will work on their pastry with Chef Nolan Ledarney. The contestants will also be bringing in their project of the week, to create a dessert worthy of the high standard upheld by Secret Ingredient in Hong Kong. This company delivers 500 meals per week in Hong Kong and is looking for a tasty yet robust pudding, which can be reproduced en masse in their commercial kitchen. Stay tuned for the results and the inevitable eliminations before the final round!