Dec 30 2012

Miele Sunday Times Dessert Competition

Posted by     10 Comments    Posted under: The Sunday Times weekly column

We love judging competitions, so when we were invited to join Miele at their Über cool test kitchen in CityWest, Dublin, a few weeks ago, to judge their dessert-off competition, we were only too delighted to head east for a day of tasting and judging fun. Along the way we stopped in to Avoca in Rathcoole and enjoyed a quick bite of lunch in their cafe. The christmas carols were streaming throughout the shopping arena and we certainly felt like the christmas and shopping season was going full tilt.  It would have been very easy to get lost in that shopping complex for a couple of hours, but duty called. We headed over to Miele shortly after lunch and the four finalists were already working up a few treats in the kitchen.

Juan Carlos Cordovez-Mantilla   - Banana Amaretto Mousse and Hazelnut brittle cake.

Banana Amaretto Mousse and Hazelnut brittle cake by Juan Carlos Cordovez-Mantilla

Judging a competition like this can be a bit nerve wrecking. First, you have to review all the submissions, then, before you whittle it down to the finalists you need to test the recipes to see if they pan out the way the recipe creator intended.

You could tell from the way the contestants glided around the Miele showroom that they were seasoned bakers, all quite capable of making and baking their favourite dessert, and certainly all eligible to win the amazing prize; €10,000 euros worth of Miele kitchen appliances. Wouldn’t we all like a few new pieces of kitchen kit?

We observed with interest and listened intently to each contestant as they told us the story behind their creations. One of the desserts, and possibly the most complicated recipe of the bunch, was a gorgeous banana and amaretto cake. Another, a rich, dark chocolate cake decorated to the nines followed by a third cake, layers of pastry and jam smothered in an exquisite chocolate ganache.


Chocolate Ganache 1

Celebration chocolate cake by Catherine Gibney


We had a scoring system drafted and myself and Ron along with Margaret Crerar (from Miele) sampled each dessert one by one, stopping only for a sip of water to prepare us for the next bite. We sampled, we scored, and then we sampled a bit more. We then left the room to chat a little bit about the scoring system we were using and what we liked or disliked about each dessert. You can be sure we factored in how stressful it can be for any baker, novice or amateur, to come in to someone else’s kitchen and make or bake their favourite dessert. All four of the contestants were incredibly calm, cool and collected and the proof was certainly in the puddings.

Finalists Miele

All contestants with the judges

Interestingly enough, all three of us with judging hats on had picked the (same) winner and it was from the first bite of a cake called ‘Grandmas gift’. A meringue and sponge layered cake, unlike anything we, or most others who were in attendance, had ever tasted. Now, many of you will have sponge cake in your repertoire and I am sure plenty of you make meringues or pavlovas to beat the band. It was the marrying of the two of these gorgeous desserts that sealed the deal.

Gerbaud Cake

Gerbeaud Cake by Erika Hoffmann (photo by Móna Wise)

The other three contestants worked as hard and as diligently as Geraldine, and did leave with a goody bag from Miele to take home with them. We were delighted that they came to spend the day with us in Dublin and hope to see them enter the competition again next year for another shot at wining a few new pieces of Miele appliances. If you would like copies of the other recipes please email me and I will send them on to you at

Judges Miele

We tasted and we tried

Geraldine Holohan, a grandmother now herself, presented her interesting and truly exceptional cake on a stunning silver platter that she had received from Macy’s department store (New York City) years prior, and it is on this very platter that she always serves her favourite cake. A good omen we would call it, but we assure you this cake would taste fabulous even if served on a paper plate.

Winner Miele 2

Best shot of the day . . .total surprise for a deserving win!

Judging food competitions, be they savoury or sweet is a lot of fun, but of course, in most cases, there can only be one winner. Complexity of a recipe, choice of ingredients, texture, taste and over all presentation of the dessert were all taken into consideration when we three agreed that this was the winner alright.


Winner  and Margaret from Miele

Miele Sunday Times Dessert Competition
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish Food

Winner of the Miele Sunday Times competition: Geraldine Holohan Meringue Cake Many years ago, just before I got married, my grandmother gave me this recipe. She said “Try this recipe for your first dinner party and your guests will be anxiously awaiting your next invitation”. How right she was. Over the years I have baked it many many times and each time it was very much enjoyed. The meringue cake is unusual in that a thin layer of cake mixture is baked with a covering of meringue. You might well imagine that this would not work. But it does and the result is a great eating quality as well as looking most attractive. I vary the fruit used for the filling depending what I have. Raspberries, strawberries and cherries work well as does a blackberry and apple puree. The preparation time is 20 minutes and the baking takes approximately 45 minutes.
  • What you will need
  • The cake mixture
  • 2 oz margarine
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 oz flour
  • A little vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons creamy milk
  • The meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • The filling
  • Fruit of choice
  • 1 cup cream
  • Sugar as necessary

  1. Instructions
  2. How to prepare it
  3. Line the bottom of two 9 inch cake tins with circles of greased paper.
  4. Now prepare the cake mixture: cream the margarine and sugar together and when light, beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Then add the flour and other ingredients alternately with the milk. Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread evenly.
  5. Now make up the meringue: add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until stiff. Gradually beat in the sugar. Divide between the two cake tins and swirl attractively. Sprinkle one cake with the flaked almonds. Bake in a moderate oven for approx. 45 minutes at 150ºC.
  6. When the cake is cold sandwich generously together with a mixture of whipped cream and fruit. The cake sprinkled with the flaked almonds should be uppermost.

We took a little creative license with Geraldine’s recipe and cooked the sponge cake part separately to the meringue and then layered the cake with fruit and cream to make this one of the most delicious pieces we have ever tried in our kitchen. Also, Geraldine did use some stewed cranberry compote in her winning cake presentation and I have to say that shows again how versatile this dessert really is. A winner for all seasons. Congratulations again Geraldine. A well deserved win.

Winning cake recipe

Winning cake recipe – make this. (Photo by Móna Wise)


Special thanks to Clodagh Kilcoyne Photography for all the gorgeous shots from that day. You can find her on Facebook right here!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,



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10 Comments + Add Comment

  • I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

    • Why thank you kindly for adding me back on to your list.

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      Glad you found something of interest to you.

  • I am so thrilled I found your website,
    I really found you by error, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up
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    • Thanks Belinda…I hope not to disappoint you then!

  • Wow this looks amazing. Hats off to the chef, it all looks so yummy and brilliant.

    • Why thank you kindly… It is my husband!

  • I am a little confused.If Geraldine’s cake won this competition why did you not show a picture of her cake. Why give a recipe and then show a picture of a different cake. I am sure Geraldine’s cake was lovely and hence why it won. To be honest I think it is disrespectful to Geraldine.
    Ps I don’t know Geraldine just wanted a recipe for a cake for Valentines Day

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks for this lovely comment.
      If you continue scrolling all the way to the bottom of the blog post you will see that Geraldine’s cake is indeed photographed quite nicely and labeled as the winning cake. Much respect to you and to her.
      I hope you try it!
      It is a gem of a recipe to be sure.
      Regards from Galway,
      Móna Wise

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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