8 March 2016

International Women's Day Bake Off

It seems this year the International Women's Day on the 8th of March is the thing to celebrate and some of the women at work got together and arranged a bake-off. As some of the men did last year for Movember, the baked goods was to be sold and the proceeds were donated to Your Sanctuary. The bake-off winner was the person whose bake sold out first.


Again I thought I'd bring along something Swedish, and as we'd recently finished off Lundulph's Christmas crop of "hoovers", I thought I'd do that. I'd also recently come across a new recipe (in Swedish) for them and wanted to try it out. I also made vanilla dreams to cater for people with nut allergies.

Makes 24

Rolling marzipan
150 g icing sugar
300 g marzipan (50-50)
60 g glucose
green food colouring
yellow food colouring
icing sugar for rolling

350 g cake crumbs or ground digestive biscuits
120/140 g unsalted butter at room temperature
60/80 g icing sugar
20 g cocoa powder
1 - 2 tbsp dark rum

200 g dark chocolate


  1. First make the rolling marzipan, as it needs to rest for a couple of hours at least. Start by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Warm up the marzipan in the microwave to get it to around 30 °C. Do this in short bursts with a little kneading between each.
  3. Add the marzipan and the glucose to the icing sugar and knead carefully together until well combined. Add the food colourings at the end and knead to get it evenly spread through and get a pale warm green.
  4. Wrap the rolling marzipan in double layers of cling film and leave to rest.
  5. Place the cake crumbs in a food processor. If using digestive biscuits, break them up into pieces first.
  6. Place the butter in a bowl and stir with a spoon until creamy and soft. Use 120 g if using cake crumbs and 140 g if using digestive biscuits as they are drier.
  7. Stir carefully in the icing sugar, cocoa and rum. Again use the smaller amount of sugar if using cake crumbs and the larger if using digestives. Finally add the crumbs and knead together into a dough.
  8. Divide into four equal parts and carefully roll each one out to a sausage of about 30 cm length and about 2 cm diameter. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Divide up the rolling marzipan into four equal parts. Keep the parts not being used well wrapped up. Roll out one part at a time, dust with icing sugar to make sure it doesn't stick to the surface. Roll out to a rectangle, 2 - 3 mm thick, just over 30 cm long and wide enough to cover the filling and overlap a little.
  10. Brush off excess icing sugar, then place a filling roll onto the marzipan and roll it up. Brush a little water along the edge, to help it stick together in the overlap. Return to the fridge and repeat with the remaining three parts.
  11. Once all four parts are "dressed", take out of the fridge and divide each one of them into six pieces. First mark up and when you're happy that they are all equal, cut through with a sharp knife.
  12. Finally, melt the chocolate either over a water bath or in short bursts in the microwave with lots of stirring between. Make sure to use a narrow, deep bowl, to make dipping easier. The chocolate doesn't need to be tempered.
  13. Now dip each end of the rolls, to cover the edges. Carefully shake off excess chocolate and place on a baking tray lined with a clean piece of baking paper and leave to set. If they are well chilled, this won't take long.
  14. Store in an airtight container, with baking paper between layers in the fridge until ready to eat.

The filling here was a bit on the pale side and I think this is because of only using cocoa. There are other recipes where also melted chocolate is involved. Now the original recipe says using cake crumbs, as form a sponge cake, so I'm guessing they would be a bit more moist to start with. I used digestive biscuits, which were bone dry and so the filling barely kept together with 120 g butter, which is why I've made the adjustment above. I guess if some melted chocolate is added, that will help with binding as well, I might try that in my next batch. I've increased the amount of cocoa, to get more flavour into the filling. Finally I thought it could also be sweeter - again, I'm assuming crumbs from a sponge cake would be sweeter than the digestive biscuits.

A word of warning - dipping the first end of each roll is easy, but not so the second one without nudging the still liquid chocolate. So it's very important to make sure the dipping fingers are clean, or you'll end up with ugly chocolate marks on the next roll.

The rolling marzipan is well worth making, rolling is so much easier. And as long as it's well wrapped, it can stay in the fridge for a while. It will generally stay pliable, but should be brought up to room temperature before use.

What is good about this recipe is that any leftover cake crumbs can be saved in the freezer and when there's 350 g of them, a batch of these lovely hoovers can be made to use them up.

With the left-over melted chocolate, I thought I'd try my hand at decorations:
Quite pleasing thing to do. I've layered these with small pieces of baking paper in between and put in the freezer for when I need them. There was quite a bit more chocolate left, but it had started to go solid, so I've put it away for my next bake.

I didn't win this bake-off, but all the rolls sold out as did the vanilla dreams and my manager actually put in a request for more "hoovers", which pleased me immensely. Lundulph was not happy as he didn't get to taste these, I took them all along to the bake-off. One of the other participants had made Chocolate Tiffin and I need to ask about the recipe, because I've not had this before and it was fabulous and tasty. At first sight the pieces looked well small, but it's so sweet, you really don't want them bigger. All in all, it was a fun event and we were all sugared up for the whole day.

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