Evewoman : The Great Kenyan Bake Off, week eight
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The Great Kenyan Bake Off, week eight

Week eight was gluten-free week (Photo: Courtesy/The Great Kenyan Bake Off)

Competition was stiff in week eight. With five contestants left - Jamil, Faith, Adeline, Samira and Rosie, each had to bring their A game so as to secure their place in the next round of the competition.

The week brought with it a whole new set of challenges for the contestants. While baking often involves using wheat flour which contains gluten, more and more people are realising that they cannot eat gluten. In this regard, bakers the world over are now creating gluten-free versions of the great classics. The judges, Chef Kiran and Myra, put the contestants to the test with the ugali cake and gluten-free cheesecake. They were in search of great textures, flavour and of course, presentation.

The technical challenge: Ugali cake à la Chef Kiran

This week’s technical challenge came in the form of an ugali cake. Since this recipe is Chef Kiran’s brainchild, he was keen to see how the contestants would execute it. The judges wanted to see a fluffly cake with a distinct lemon flavour.

To prepare the cake, the bakers needed to follow two steps. First was to boil milk and butter, add half the ugali flour then cook it and allow to cool. For the second step, the contestants needed to cream eggs and sugar, add the cooled ugali prepared earlier and then the rest of the flour. They were given cashew nuts which they were to grind into flour needed to bind the mixture.

This ugali cake recipe is the brainchild of Chef Kiran (Photo: Courtesy/The Great Kenyan Bake Off)

Ugali cake should be cooked in an oven set at 140 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes. The contestants weren’t privy to this information and most chose to cook it for less time and then add time depending on how much longer it needed to cook.

Once the cake had cooked and cooled, the contestants needed to pour a lemon glaze over it and then dust it with icing sugar.

Fresh coconuts were provided for the glaze. The contestants took to their kitchen utensils, the rolling pin specifically, and the floor to break their coconuts. It then went into the blender and then the resultant coconut milk was mixed with lemon juice, allowed to cool and then poured over the cake.

Adeline's ugali cake (Photo: Courtesy/The Great Kenyan Bake Off)

When it came to the blind tasting, the judges were impressed by Rosie and Samira’s ugali cakes which were cooked to perfection.

Rosie’s presentation was simple with just a dusting of icing sugar. The cake had risen well and the flavour was bang on. She had grated coconut in her mixture which, the judges said, added to the overall flavour of the cake. She emerged the winner of this round.

The signature challenge: Cheesecake with a twist

For this challenge, the contestants were tasked with making their unique version of a gluten-free cheesecake. The judges were looking for skill, creativity, passion and handwork. The cheesecake needed to have impeccable flavour, good texture combination and distinct colour.

The biggest task in this challenge was to choose a good gluten-free base.

Rosie made a traditional blueberry and lemon cheesecake (Photo: Courtesy/The Great Kenyan Bake Off)

Once the cake is assembled in the baking tin, it needs to be cooked in a water bath. A cheesecake also needs ample time to cool down before it is served, preferably overnight.

With only four hours to work on their creations, the contestants were in for a challenge.

Faith opted for an ocean New York cheesecake. She use almond flour and oats for her base. The judges were impressed by her mirror glaze which she used to decorate her cheesecake. The cake also had good flavour.

Jamil went for the Baklava saffron twist cheesecake. He too chose almond flour and oats for his base. He put saffron strands in his filling. His cheesecake cooled enough for him to remove it from the baking tin with little incident. The flavours, the judges said, were classic and went well together. His use of saffron, though unusual, worked well.

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Adeline’s choice was a dulce de leche cheesecake. She prepared the sweet milk filling beforehand and went with a coconut brownie base. Her sugar work was good as were the flavours. The ratio of base to filling was also good.

Samira also opted for the New York cheesecake, a favourite of Chef Kiran’s. Almond and oat flour formed her base. She made a fruit comport which she poured over her cheesecake before garnishing it with fruit and leaves to which she added a hint of gold. Her presentation wowed the judges.

Rosie won week eight (Photo: Courtesy/The Great Kenyan Bake Off)

Rosie chose a lemon and blueberry cheesecake to which she added a blueberry swirl. The judges were impressed by the retro-ness of her choice of cheesecake. It had beautiful flavour and good texture.

Rosie emerged the winner of week eight even as Faith was sent home.

You can watch episodes of The Great Kenyan Bake Off every Monday at 8pm on KTN Home.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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