My local branch of The Clandestine Cake Club held it's most recent meeting to coincide with the Great British Bake-Off final. I think it was an inspired idea from our organiser as it was fun to watch the final in the company of other enthusiastic bakers. A very brief video of our meeting was even shown on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show the following day, during her tribute to GBBO and it's demise from the BBC.
For me, the final was a bit of an anti-climax, as it lacked the tensions of the previous weeks. Without an elaborate show-stopper which required assembly, there were no nail-biting moments when collapse looked imminent, and after the picnic finale, it seemed to me that Candice won more because of the others' soggy pastry than anything really outstanding on her part, which isn't how it should be.
Because of her time as a columnist for The Guardian newspaper, there were a lot of Ruby Tandoh's recipes available. I made one of the recipes she published during that time and wasn't very impressed with the result, which rather put me off trying any more, but when I couldn't find anything else suitable from other contestants I had another look and found this recipe for a Chai Swirl Loaf Cake. It's based on the classic sponge cake proportions, and has a swirl of marbling made by adding brown sugar, and the spices traditionally used to flavour chai, to a portion of the batter. The recipe adds a cream cheese frosting, but I didn't use that for the trial bake.
For the trial I simplified the recipe by making an all-in-one sponge with SR flour and an extra half teaspoon of baking powder. Experience has shown that for simple cakes the all-in-one method works as well as the traditional creaming method, as long as the butter is very soft. I decided to add an extra tablespoon of milk to slacken the batter slightly, so that it would spread more easily in the cake tin.
The recipe suggested dolloping alternate spoonfuls of batter into the cake tin, and running a knife through to marble the two mixtures together, but the accompanying photo showed a cake produced by layering the batters alternately and letting the convection currents within the batter swirl the mixture as it cooked. I prefer this method which gives a much smarter appearance. So, starting with the plain batter, I layered up four layers of batter alternately with three layers of flavoured batter. Each layer was roughly two heaped tablespoons of batter, and needed to be eased towards the sides of the tin, although the weight of each successive layer helps spread those beneath.
This cake may not have been a show-stopper in appearance, but it was certainly a star when it came to flavour!