Every time the contestants on MasterChef get to do some crazy dessert by a world-class pastry chef, I decide I'm gonna make it. Then I look at the ingredients list and decide I either can't afford to or would need a professional kitchen to attempt it. When Bernard Chu brought along his Lolly Bag Cake this year, I knew I'd stop at nothing to make it. I saved the cake for my sister's birthday last weekend and was so excited when the day finally rolled around.
The cake is a celebration of the typical Australian mixed lolly bag. A lot of the lollies were things we grew up with, buying from milkbars or the school canteen. Each invokes a thousand different childhood memories.
From top to bottom the layers are:
Spearmint Leaves Buttercream: made using the soft jelly spearmint leaf lollies
Bananas Joconde: a joconde sponge soaked in a syrup made from banana lollies
Musk-mallow: Marshmallow made from musk sticks
Chocolate Jaffa Ganache: ganache infused with a mandarin concentrate
Freckles Crunch: a choc hazelnut layer with 100s & 1000s, popping candy and pailleté feuilletine
Another bananas joconde layer, coated with dark chocolate
The whole thing is then glazed with a ganache made from Redskin lollies. I then chose to decorate it with white chocolate spirals and jaffa lollies.
I made a few changes from the Bernard Chu recipe. Biggest change is making it round rather than rectangle. I opted to use dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate as I thought it didn't need the extra sweetness. The Masterchef version has two mint layers and a different order, however the version Bernard Chu sells at his restaurant, LuxBite, has one mint layer and the same order I have here. I decided to mirror the original as I thought it would be better balanced in flavour than the TV version.
I changed a few things about the recipe to make it more home-kitchen friendly. I also ended up making 4 of the ingredients as they were nigh impossible to get, or at least get at a reasonable price.
You'll find my version of Bernard Chu's recipe, as well as step by step photos and loads more over at my blog
. I've also provided a link to the original recipe and links to where you can get/import all the ingredients, or how to make some yourself.
This cake also marks exactly 4 years since my first cake decorating attempt. I almost didn't want to do this cake for that event as I tend to use the milestone as a measurement of how far I've come and thought I should do an original recipe. But given how technical Bernard's recipe is and how I was able to alter it and troubleshoot with no problems the whole way along, it's still a nice indication of progress.
Here's the previous three years worth of cake progression:
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