Nivea have put me to the challenge to test out their new Stress Protect deodorant. They asked me to wear the deodorant, bake a cake which they provided me the recipe for, and post up how well the deodorant did when I got stressed out making the cake. Simple. Or so I thought!
Apparently your body produces a different kind of sweat when you are stressed, than when you get hot and sweaty, it even smells different – so their new anti-perspirant combats that by giving you 85% protection against the sweat itself, as well as a lovely smell to mask any stress-sweat odors and Avocado oil to moisturise your underarms.
I make cakes quite often, and when I saw the email, wondered just how stressful making a cake could be – my cockiness was mistake number one. For this was no ordinary sponge cake that I was used to chucking together – this was a “White chocolate, lemon and macadamia Genoise layer cake”. It involves making a white chocolate mousse, a Genoise cake, a lemon syrup and then macadamia praline – yes it’s as complicated as it sounds!
Mistake number two was allowing my 3 year old daughter to ‘help’, and I use ‘help’ in the losest form of the word.
Mistake number three was not reading through the whole of the recipe before starting, as midway through we had to abandon the cake and go to my mums to borrow a food processor.
While I had thought baking a cake quickly would be a nice way to fill half an hour on a snowy day this wasn’t the case – it took me hours! My daughters nursery was cancelled due to snow which meant I had a “help”er for the whole day. My son’s school then called to say I had to pick him up from school early due to the severe weather, so once again the cake was abandoned, my car would do nothing but slide, and I ended up walking – which ended up taking an hour there and back.
The cake had cooled by the time we returned, and I began layering the cake and assembling the four layers together with mousse and syrup. I covered the cake in the white chocolate mousse and then made a start on the macadamia praline, which was my undoing.
I had done quite well, under the circumstances, until then. The kids were asking to make a snowman…. but I just wanted to get the cake done, it had gone on long enough. I sat them down in front of the tv promising I’d be 5 minutes and then we could go and do one – and in my rush, again, didn’t look at the recipe properly. This time it was a big fail. There was no popping round to my mums to solve it with a magic machine.
Instead of melting the sugar and then adding the nuts, I put them both in the saucepan at the same time. The sugar wouldn’t melt. I had to stir it despite the recipe explicitly telling me not to. I ended up having to melt another lot of sugar and adding this nut and sugary mess to it – even then it didn’t work properly. Pouring it out onto a tray to set was a joke – it came out in one solid lump! I had to press it down, and where it should have set in 10 minutes, 10 minutes in the fridge and an hour at room temperature did nothing of the sort. The food processor seemed to turn it into a liquid again rather than the crumb I was expecting. I had no more macadamias to start that part again, and by this point I had had enough. I admitted defeat and stuck some of the macadamia mush onto the cake.
The cakes are being judged by Holly Bell from the Great British Bake Off, the winner getting a Nivea hamper. I honestly thought I may be in with a chance at one point, but now I realise I am firmly out! Holly, please don’t even look at my cake!
Although it looked quite a mess it tasted yummy and I was very pleased with myself on my first Genoise cake, and first time maying a 4 layered cake. The nutty part was a little sickly due to my over-sugaring, but the cake itself was delicious, and very sophisticated tasting.
As far as a cake not being stressful to make – believe me, it can be! I started in snowy pre-lunch daylight, and ended at dark dinnertime. The Stress Protect did well – my boyfriend arrived at mine to catch my sniffing my armpits – which rounded off a rather stressful day nicely! There was no sign of any whiffs coming from my direction though which was one less thing to have to worry about!