Hello everyone, so this is a bit of a random post when it comes to the stuff that I usually write about, but I suppose it counts as a beauty post because it's basically a review of Nivea's new deodorant. However, there's a twist. I was asked very nicely to participate in this fun blog post to test Nivea's new deodorant. So what makes this deodorant different to all the others on the market and what has baking got to do with a beauty review? Nivea's new deodorant is called Stress Protect and here's what Nivea say about it: 'After heat, stress is the 2nd most common trigger for sweating and is very different to the sweat produced from heat or physical exercise. It has a more rapid onset and smells much worse, making it harder to control. NIVEA Stress Protect is proven to minimise this stress sweat by up to 85%** and helps reduce the formation of body odour.' Obviously, I was wondering what makes this happen? They explain that 'the deodorant contains a unique formula which combines two ingredients – Stress Protect Actives and a Zinc Complex – which work together to help provide protection in stressful situations. And added Avocado Oil also helps to care for and moisturise underarm skin.' Interesting right? After reading all of this I was so excited to try the deodorant because after all, deodorant is an essential item for everyone, there's no escaping it. The one catch? To try it out, I was requested to wear it in a stressful situation to test out how well it worked.
So, what was this stressful situation?
Holly from the Great British Bake Off came up with an extremely stressful cake recipe which I was asked to bake in order to test out the deodorant. At first I was thinking, what's stressful about baking a cake? I love baking. But, trust me, this recipe is stressful because of the number of stages that it entails and I found myself making the notoriously difficult Genoise sponge, a lightly whipped white chocolate mousse, a lemon sugar syrup and last but not least, a homemade macadamia praline crumb. I'm going to talk you through how I felt the deodorant coped under the pressure of baking this ridiculously difficult and annoyingly stressful cake and i'll of course give you the recipe because if you have got the time, this is a gorgeous cake to try and you should give it a go (wearing Nivea's new deodorant of course).
White chocolate, lemon and macadamia Genoise layer cake recipe:
For the cake:
185g caster sugar ,4 large eggs at room temperature, plus one extra large egg yolk
35g macadamia nuts ,125g plain flour, Zest of 2 lemons, 60g salted/unsalted butter plus a little extra to grease tins
For the mousse:
1 sheet leaf gelatine, 200g white chocolate, broken into pieces, 45g (about 1.5) egg whites, 300ml double cream
For the syrup:
50g castor sugar, Juice of two lemons plus cold water to make up to 50mls (cold water may not be required)
For the macadamia praline:
165g chopped macadamia nuts, 165g castor sugarStage 1: Make the mousse.
-Put the leaf gelatine into a bowl of cold water and leave to soften. Pop the white chocolate into a microwavable bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts until just molten. (Or melt in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, being careful that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.) Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside, at room temperature, to cool slightly.
-Whisk the egg whites (using a hand/stand mixer or a hand whisk) until firm peaks form and set aside. Place 50mls of the double cream in a small saucepan and warm a little on the hob, then take off the heat. Squeeze as much water as possible from the gelatine and stir into the warm cream until completely smooth. Set aside in the fridge to cool.
-Whisk the rest of the double cream until stiff then whisk in the cooled white chocolate. Add the gelatine-cream mixture and whisk lightly until combined. Add a third of the egg whites and stir with a metal spoon to loosen the mixture. Then add the rest of the egg whites and fold in gently using a metal spoon until you can’t see any flecks of egg white left. Cover bowl and place in the fridge to set. Don’t worry if the mousse looks a bit grainy at this stage.
By the end of stage 1, I was feeling quite stressed and tired. I have never even heard of leaf gelatine before, clearly not a chef! I never realised just how much energy goes into baking, it's the fact that you have to do so many steps at the same time for example, checking on the eggs whilst doing the gelatine. So in stage one, I was quite stressed and it actually felt like I was exercising because I was running around so much whilst making the cake. Of course though, I didn't feel sweaty whatsoever by this stage and even if I was perspiring, the deodorant didn't give any tell tale signs.
Stage 2: Make the Genoise sponge.
-Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Check the rack is in the middle of the oven. Grease two cake tins (I used 20cm ones but any will do, adjust the cooking time accordingly. The smaller the tin the shorter the bake) with a little butter and then line the bases and sides with greaseproof paper. Pulse the macadamia nuts, lemon zest and flour in a food processor and pulse until very finely ground.
-Take a large saucepan, fill with boiling water and check your mixing bowl fits over the top of it without touching the water, then place the bowl over the top of the pan of water with the eggs and sugar in it. At this point, melt the butter in the microwave or on the hob and leave at room temperature to cool ready for later.
-Whisk the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes (handheld mixer of manual) until the mixture doubles in volume. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk vigorously until the egg mixture has cooled, tripled in volume, and looks like softly whipped cream. This takes about 5 minutes and the mixture should form trails like a ribbon when you lift the beaters/whisk up.
Sift one-third of the nut-flour mixture over the whipped eggs and fold in using a large rubber spatula. Repeat twice more until all the nut-flour mixture has been folded in. Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter.
-Then take a scoop of the batter and fold it into the warm butter mixture with a spatula. When completely combined, fold the butter mixture back into the cake batter with a spatula. Pour the batter into the tins, only half way up. Bake until the cake shrinks slightly from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed. The time will depend on the size of your tins but with 20cm size it takes about 20 minutes. Cool on a metal rack, removing the cake tins and paper as soon as you can bear to touch them.
Yep so me and my Mum made this together and we were both extremely stressed by this stage. My Mum was saying: 'who bakes cakes when its this stressful, I'd rather just buy a ready made one' haha, she commented on how hot she was from all the rushing around. Again though, neither of us felt sticky/sweaty, we were warm but the deodorant worked really well under these conditions. We were ready to give up by this point. But we carried on...Stage 3: Make the lemon sugar syrup.
-Put the ingredients into a small saucepan and place on the hob. Heat until bubbling and then boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool at room temperature.
By the time stage 4 had come we were losing the will to live, we felt tired, honestly, like we'd been on a run from all the running from one pan to another, oh and all the washing up from all the pans that we'd used. We decided to improvise for the final stage and I used blueberries and bananas in order to create more of a fruity loaf, just because my family aren't too keen on nuts.
Stage 4: Make the praline.
-Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place the sugar in a saucepan and place on a moderate heat until light brown in colour. Add the chopped nuts and swirl the pan until they’re covered in the sugar; don’t stir! Then pour onto the prepared baking tray and leave to set, this takes about 10 minutes. Smash into pieces once set using a rolling pin and then whiz up in the food processor until you have a fine crumb. (If no food processor then you can pop into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to bash into fine pieces.)
Stage 5: Assemble the cake.
-Cut the Genoise sponge into four separate layers using a serrated knife. Position one onto the cake stand/serving plate and secure to the bottom with a little mousse, then brush with sugar syrup and add about 1 heaped tablespoon of mousse and spread into a thin layer, then repeat until the last layer. Coat the whole cake in mousse using a palate knife starting by piling the mousse onto the top and working it down the sides of the cake. Add praline around the side and top of the cake using your hands.
Thanks Nivea for this exciting but very stressful challenge. At least I got to eat a yummy cake out of it and put my culinary skills to the test. You can buy the NIVEA STRESS PROTECT from Tesco, Boots or Superdrug. Beiersdorf RRP: 250ml spray £3.29, 150ml spray £2.29, Sticks £2.49, Roll On £2.03 I used the stick which I really liked, it's a lot different to any deodorant i've ever used as I usually use spray ons, I found that this lasted so much longer and you really can put it through its paces. You can find out more about this deodorant here: nivea.co.uk