Sometimes I Bake Mistakes; Take 16: Yeast-Leavened Cakes

I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and about why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).


After last week’s Tower of Pies challenge, which, I’ll be honest, was sort of a mess sometimes, I was pretty psyched going into this week.

I just had to make a yeast-leavened cake. And I’ve made cakes. Tons of cakes. So basically, I was like, I’ve got this.

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Photo Credit: Giphy

This sense of overconfidence has burned me (and my bakes before). Just check out, well, most of my other baking blogs for proof of that.

But this time things actually did go well.

Photo Credit: Giphy

Shocking, I know.

But it turns out that making a yeast-leavened cake is just a whole heck of a lot like making cake and also sort of like making bread.

And I’ve done both, and you can do both too.

Because I really cannot overstate how easy this particular bake was. I used a King Arthur Flour recipe for a Yeasted Lemon Cake. Here’s the recipe.

It’s really simple. I just had to combine flour, instant yeast (not active dry yeast), sugar, salt, warm milk, melted butter, eggs and lemon zest in a tube pan. (I used an angel food cake pan and that seemed to work just fine.)

Then, the hardest part for me – I had to wait, for an hour for the dough to raise. The waiting always sucks.

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Photo Credit: Giphy

Then after the excruciating (or just mildly boring) wait time, I just popped the raised dough into the oven. (Heads up, it didn’t raise nearly as much as I thought it would but I put it in the oven anyway, because I’m impatient and I wanted to eat my cake.)


So basically the whole thing was easy peasy. A piece of cake. (Yeah, I couldn’t resist making that pun. Roll your eyes all you want.)


Photo Credit: Giphy

And for once, my oven actually worked. Like I put something in the oven for the amount of time the recipe instructed and the oven actually cooked the thing like it was supposed to. It was amazing.

Heck yeah!

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Photo Credit: Giphy

But then I had to make the syrup and obviously something had to go wrong here because nothing had gone wrong so far so I was totally pushing it.

For the syrup I just had to combine sugar and water in a saucepan, boil it and simmer it for 10 minutes until it thickened. Except after 10 minutes and then 15 minutes and then maybe 20 minutes (I stopped keeping track) it still hadn’t really thickened. Like at all. Just check out this nonsense.


So yeah, I took my not-very-thickened syrup and added lemon juice to it like the recipe told me to, which obviously made the syrup even thinner. At this point, my syrup wasn’t so much syrup as it was just weak lemonade.

Then once my cake was cooked I was supposed to brush the syrup over the bottom of my cake. Since my syrup wasn’t really brush-worthy, I just tried to drizzle it on with a spoon. Then I had to wait for the cake to cool for five minutes.

This is the point where many people who commented on the recipe’s webpage ran into problems. They claimed that when they flipped their cake over onto a baking rack covered with parchment paper or onto a baking sheet, their cake would break up and become a big mess.

But mine didn’t, guys. So I think that means I have become a baking genius.

Photo Credit: Giphy

Then once my totally-not-ruined cake was flipped over, I had to drizzle the rest of the lemonade/lemon syrup mixture on top of the cake and then let the whole thing cool completely.

This took practically forever (or maybe like a half hour) I don’t know. I lost track. I just wanted my cake.


Anyway after it had finally cooled. The cake looked pretty damn awesome.


And it tasted good too. A few people had commented on the recipe that they thought the cake was too dry and not sweet enough.

I disagreed. Thanks to my overly-runny syrup my cake wasn’t dry at all. It was moist

Photo Credit: Giphy

(Yeah, sorry about that. I hate that word too.)

Anyway, moving on…

I didn’t think the cake should be sweeter, because, as a whole, I usually think desserts are way too sweet.

Besides, a few days after Halloween and pounds of leftover Halloween candy, a less-sweet, fruity cake almost seems healthy. Almost…but not really at all.

I got off pretty easy this week with a cake that actually ended up looking (and tasting) like a cake.

Next week, though, things get real. I have to make a Swedish Prinsesstarta (Princess Cake).

It has sponge cake, marzipan, fondant, jam and custard. All of which I have to make from scratch. It has more ingredients than I even want to count and the recipe has two dozen steps. Two dozen. Also it looks like this:

Photo Credit: BBC

Yeah, if you’re looking at that picture and thinking there’s no way in hell Ashley can make that, I’m right there with you. Just looking at that pic sort of makes me feel like this:

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Photo Credit: Giphy

So yeah, check in next week for what will probably be a total disaster.

P.S. Sharing is cool, guys. If you know someone who likes baking, stupid GIFs or just reading about someone else’s mistakes, please share the blog: or the Facebook page with them:

P.P.S. This is totally unrelated, but if you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet, just do it already. What are you waiting for?

Go watch Stranger Things now. Just trust me on this.


Photo Credit: Giphy