Nivea Baking Challenge

BATD ON Jan 21, 2013 AT 11:58 am

I was set a challenge this weekend by Nivea who have released a new Stress Protect deodorant. They tell us that the sweat we develop when under stress is a different kind to that produced from just being hot or from physical exertion. The smell is worse too apparently, a horrible thought. Thankfully NIVEA Stress Protect has been proven to minimise this type of sweat by up to 85%. So to put it to the test I was faced with a stressful baking challenge.

White chocolate, lemon and macadamia Genoise layer cake

White chocolate, lemon and macadamia Genoise layer cake

As an already active baker, with a penchant for cakes, I figured the challenge itself would be a erm. . piece of cake! But this was no ordinary baking challenge. The cake I was tasked with producing was a White Chocolate, Lemon and Macadamia Genoise Layer Cake. The name alone was challenging. Then came the extensive pages of recipe instructions which were terrifying and complex.

Ordinarily I’d just get stuck in, knowing that if it all fell flat I could somehow attempt to resurrect the mixture into something equally  sweet and tasty, or simply scoop it up and throw it away (naughty but sometimes necessary). But with the added pressure of knowing I’d have to show images of the finished cake, there was no escape and I was pretty sure that the Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant that I’d spritzed earlier would be put to the test.

The recipe itself was provided by baking queen Holly Bell (a Great British Bake Off contestant). It was very detailed and clear but I found myself reading the stages over and over again with the fear hanging over me that I may miss something crucial and have a disaster on my hands.

There were 4 main parts of the cake to make; the white chocolate mousse first of all, which had to be set aside to chill. I have never made a mousse before. There were so many elements, and that was only the first stage. As a first attempt, the mousse didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it might, although it was (I admit) a little lumpier than expected. I, sneakily, read ahead in the recipe to find that the mousse on top of the cake would eventually be covered with praline so, hooray, the lumps would be hidden.

Macadamia nut praline

Macadamia nut praline

The next stage was the Genoise sponge which I have since learnt is the most difficult sponge to bake. The work that goes into it is pretty spectacular; whisking eggs and sugar over a heated pan of water then whisking again until it cools.  You end up with (or at least, you should) an amazing whipped-up bowl of light eggs and sugar. Not only was it a great workout for my arms but if anything was going to get the Nivea deodorant doing it’s job, it was this.  I then had to carefully incorporate the melted butter. For some reason, my batter and butter did not want to combine which was a worry but somehow the sponges turned out ok anyway. I’m pretty sure they should have risen more than they did, but they were sponge-like so that was good enough for me. (I’m clearly no perfectionist!).

The next stage was a nice simple one, making the lemon syrup to be drizzled over each layer of sponge when building the cake. But it was the last stage of the process that was really stressful, the macadamia praline. Heating sugar until it was brown, adding the chopped nuts and coating them in the sugar by swirling (definitely not stirring). Well I swirled for as long as I could and whilst my nuts and sugar were refusing to coat or combine, the sugar had started to burn a little in the process. And so I gave up on the swirling, poured it out to harden and hoped for the best.  Once hard, the praline was crunched up and whizzed in to a fine crumb in the processer.

Finally, it was time to actually build the cake. By the way, I was now on day two, as I ran out of time on day one thanks to numerous distractions including kids and snow!

 So, I split the sponges into 4 layers, onto each sponge layer I brushed lemon syrup, a thin layer of mousse and then another layer of sponge. The entire cake was then topped with mousse and patted with praline crumbs. This final stage did not go particularly well, as you could probably tell from the pictures! The mousse, was not particularly sticky and so wouldn’t bind to the cake, the praline crumb was more sticky than it was crumb-y so applied in lumps. Not the most perfect finish to the cake, I’ll admit. Still, I was pleased to have finished, and the verdict in my house was a definite thumbs up for taste.

For me, it was a definite thumbs up for Nivea too. At no stage of the challenge did I find myself sweating (despite the amped up heating and switched-on oven) or worrying about odours other than whether the sweet smell of caramelising sugar was turning burnt. With the addition of Avocado Oil working to protect and moisturise the sensitive underarm skin, I felt I had all bases covered, which is more than I could say for my cake-baking.

New NIVEA Stress Protect is in store now at Tesco, Boots and Superdrug. See for more details.


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