The Great BOAT Bake Off: Winner Announced

3 June 2020

If you’re a chef and stuck on board or at home during lockdown, chances are you did a little experimenting in the galley. If baking is your jam, we hope you spent your time surrounded by delicious cakes, cookies, and pies. But if you’re searching for some more baking inspiration, look no further than our Great BOAT Bake Off.

For Boat International’s Virtual BOAT Show charter competition, we asked superyacht charter chefs to send in their best bakes, inspired by a dream destination they wish they could visit. Each chef has created a delicious cake recipe using only 10 ingredients from their superyacht galley — and it’s up to you to pick the winner.

The votes from Twitter and Instagram have been counted, and the winner of the Great BOAT Bake Off is Chef Lény Belin of M/Y Wheels with his “Great Aussie Pavlova.” Congrats to Chef Lény and the other entrants for their fabulous cakes! You can try your hand at making them at home with the recipes below. Happy baking.

Amalfi Lemon & Almond Cake
By Chef Lauren Loudon of Balk Shipyard’s 31-meter M/Y Sandalphon

This concoction is inspired by the amazing, huge lemons on the Amalfi Coast — it’s my favorite destination, both in yachting and by land. Driving along the coastal road, typically in a vintage Fiat 500 or scooter, is high on the to-do list when visiting the area as the scenery is comparable to nowhere else. To one side, a steep cliff drops down to the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea and on the other side, lemon trees grow beautiful citrus of all different shapes and sizes. The scenery is only enhanced by the regular pit stops on the road where you can buy fresh fruit, large lemons, and, of course, locally made limoncello, each in beautiful, uniquely painted bottle shapes. Buon Apetito!

*Triple recipe for three tier cake, as pictured

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
200g almond flour (finely ground almonds)
100g polenta
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
Zest of 1 large Amalfi lemon

Juice of ½ large Amalfi lemon
2 Tbsp. Limoncello
125g icing sugar, sifted

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a nine-inch springform pan with parchment.
Step 2: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Step 3: Add one egg, then one-third of the dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and combine. Repeat this process, alternating egg and dry mixture followed by the lemon zest and stir until fully combined.
Step 4: Bake for 40 minutes until golden and the cake has come away from the sides slightly. Leave in pan to cool for 10 minutes, then boil the drizzle ingredients together to dissolve, prick the top of the cake with a toothpick all over and pour over the syrup evenly.

Optional Decorations:
To decorate, make a simple buttercream: one part butter to three parts icing sugar, add lemon zest, and one tablespoon of juice.
To elevate an extra notch, make some simple meringues by whipping three large egg whites with 175g caster sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to stiff peaks. Pipe onto a tray and bake at 120°C for 1.5 hours.
Slice some fresh lemon, place on top with the cooled meringues and garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves.

Wheels Great Aussie Pavlova
By Sous Chef Lény Belin of 76-meter Oceanco M/Y Wheels

I chose this pavlova dessert because it is a classic Aussie recipe, the country where my fiancé is from, and since we were not able to see each other during COVID lockdown, Australia is the place where I would like to go if I was able to travel. We wanted to create something that is not only delicious but easily made at home. The pavlova is shaped like the map of Australia, but guests can make it any shape.

My favorite thing about this dessert is that it’s simple, with only 10 ingredients, and the method is easy enough that anyone can make it! I believe it’s a perfect summer dish — it’s fresh, fruity, and light and is best enjoyed in warm, sunny weather. Vegan alternatives are easily made using aquafaba for the base and coconut cream for the toppings.

The cake has a meringue base and Chantilly on top, which I piped with a St. Honoré nozzle to make the shape that resembles the Sydney Opera House. The coulis is made from the off-cuts of the strawberries used for garnishing the cake and I placed it where the island state of Tasmania would be located below mainland Australia. The flip-flop and boomerang are not compulsory, but I felt that they were two iconic symbols for representing Aussie beach culture, as well as the Aboriginal heritage of the Indigenous people of Australia.


7 large egg whites
350g caster sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
500ml heavy cream
2 whole vanilla pods with the seeds scraped out
500g strawberries

Step 1: Make sure all the equipment is clean and dry (mixing bowl, whisk, two spatulas, sugar bowl, bowls to separate egg yolks and whites, etc.).
Step 2: Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. Cut a piece of parchment paper big enough to line a baking tray and draw the Australian map using a template. Line the baking tray with the parchment paper. Set aside until needed.
Step 3: Carefully break an egg and strain the egg white into a small, clean bowl, taking care not to break the egg yolk. Once you’ve successfully separated the egg white, transfer this into a mixing bowl that’s placed on a weighing scale. Repeat with more eggs until you have 221 grams of egg whites.
Step 4: Once the egg whites are measured and in the mixing bowl, whisk them on speed four (on a 10-speed mixer) until it reaches soft peak stage (i.e., when you lift the whisk, soft peaks should be formed in the egg whites). This may take about 10 minutes.
Step 5: When the egg whites are at the soft peak stage, lower the speed to three, and add the sugar, one to two tablespoons at a time. Make sure each sugar addition is dissolved before adding the next. (I wait about 30 seconds between each addition.) Also, scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once while adding the sugar. Do not rush this process — it can take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 6: Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to four, and whisk the egg whites just until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are thick and glossy and hold their shape well.
Here’s how to check if the sugar has dissolved — take a small amount of the meringue mix between your fingers and rub it. If it feels grainy or has any granules, then there’s undissolved sugar. If you don’t feel any granules or grittiness, then the sugar is completely dissolved. I also like to make sure that I don’t see any undissolved sugar in a few other places in the meringue (under the whisk, in the bowl, etc.).
Whisking egg whites until the sugar completely dissolves can take between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the sugar you use. Do not rush this and check on the meringue periodically to make sure you won’t over-whisk it. Use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times as well.
Step 7: While the egg whites are being whisked, place the cornstarch and vinegar in a small bowl and mix to combine.
Step 8: Once the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is glossy and thick, immediately add the cornstarch and vinegar slurry. Increase the speed to about five or six and let the cornstarch slurry mix into the egg whites for about 30 to 45 seconds. Then stop whisking and remove the bowl from the mixer.
Step 9: Using a clean spatula, scoop the meringue into a piping bag and pipe the meringue on the baking paper.
Step 10: Transfer the cake into the preheated oven, and immediately reduce the temperature to 225°F / 110°C.
Step 11: Bake the pavlova for 90 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time.
Step 12: When the 90 minutes are up, turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool down in the oven overnight (or up to six hours, until completely cooled down). Do not store in the fridge or freezer.

Serving Suggestion:
Step 1: Place the chilled heavy cream in a chilled bowl. Whisk the cream on medium speed. (Do not over-whisk the cream as it can become grainy. If you whisk the cream on high, you risk over-beating it, and the cream will deflate faster, making the pavlova runny.)
Step 2: While whisking the cream, add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla into it. Mix until you have stiff peaks, but the cream is still smooth. The flip flop and boomerang are made using fondant icing and food coloring.
Step 3: Spread the cream on top of the pavlova and top it with the prepared fruits. Drizzle/spread the passion fruit over the top. Serve immediately.

Duck Egg Santorini Sponge
By Cook Heather Richie

The idea was to recreate a Santorini panorama, and it was good fun to try Waitrose Cooks’ line of gold and bronze embellishments to top a simple fondant and, for the dome, buttercream. Sadly, I did not nail the perfect Santorini blue. Duck eggs were used in the Victoria sponge because they make for a lighter and fluffier bake as they have more albumen than hen eggs, and because they are readily available in the UK, where I have been spending lockdown.

Sponge Cake: (This should make enough sponge for the cake, the dome, and smaller cakes depending on your smaller pan sizes.)
750g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
15 duck eggs, or 750g weight of beaten hen’s eggs
750g white caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
750g self-raising flour
3 tsp baking powder

250g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
600g icing sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 vanilla pod
blue food coloring (optional) for the dome

For the buildings, I chose Tesco’s pre-rolled fondant because I have limited supplies in my quarantine kitchen and because I thought it made a nice, pure white as seen in Greek architecture, but you might wrap the whole thing in buttercream for superior flavor.

Tesco pre-rolled fondant, Waitrose gold leaf, Waitrose edible gold spray, Waitrose bronze crunch, M&S mints, or other embellishments

Step 1: Heat oven to 180°C. Grease, then line cake tins with baking parchment. Grease the parchment, too.
Step 2: Crack the duck eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk for about five minutes until pale and fluffy. Keep whisking as you add the melted butter, a little at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
Step 3: Fold in the flour and baking powder with a large metal spoon until you can’t see any pockets of flour. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 35 minutes or until bouncy to the touch and a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin, then turn out onto wire racks when cool enough to handle.
Step 4: To make the buttercream, tip the butter into a big bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk. Add the icing sugar, two to three tablespoons at a time, until it’s all incorporated, adding the milk halfway through the process. Scrape the seeds out of a vanilla pod, add them in, and whisk again. Transfer half the buttercream to another bowl and stir your food coloring into one of the mixtures.
Step 5: When the buttercream mixtures are ready and the cake is cold, level the cakes with a bread knife, cut each one in half through the middle and stick all the layers together with the uncolored buttercream.
Step 6: Trim the larger cake into a hexagon and place the dome on top. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of the colored buttercream — this will seal in any crumbs.
Step 7: Chill the cake for 30 minutes, then cover with the rest of the buttercream and use a palette knife or pastry scraper to make the buttercream flat.
Step 8: To finish, cover the dome in blue buttercream and wrap the remaining cake and smaller cakes in fondant or additional buttercream, and embellish with abstract metallic designs. Will keep for two to three days.

“Up to Snow Good” Cake
By Chef Franky Johnson of 130-foot Westport M/Y Antares

I baked a scene of a place I’ve wanted to ski for many years. Hopefully as long as I’m in the USA after COVID has vanished, my wish will become a reality. My boss spends plenty of time in Aspen, so after he sees this, my luck might be in!

Sponge Cake:
660g self-raising flour
660g butter
660g caster sugar
12 eggs
3 Tbsp. Vanilla
3 tsp Salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:
900g cream cheese
350g butter
4 cups icing sugar

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 190°C.
Step 2: Soften the butter and add it to the Kitchen Aid bowl with the sugar and vanilla. Cream with the paddle attachment until creamy and white.
Step 3: Add each egg one at a time, scraping down the sides until all eggs are combined.
Step 4: Sift the flour with the salt, and on a slow speed, add the flour one tablespoon at a time until all combined.
Step 5: Pour the cake mix evenly into trays, about one inch of cake mix in each tray, using as many trays as you need. Line with parchment paper, then bake cake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 6: Make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature, then mix with the Kitchen Aid or hand blender until smooth.
Step 7: Sift your icing sugar one cup at a time, then add to the cream cheese and butter on a slow speed, and mix until smooth.

Building the Cake:
Add layers for mountains using the frosting as glue and cut out sections to give the desired shape and features you associate with ski parks. I’ve never been to Aspen and have only spent time on my planks in Europe. From one mountain to another, the rails, half-pipes, and jumps are all common features. For the little figures, I used fondant and food coloring for painting. Wooden ice-lolly and toothpicks, fishing line, and Super Glue were used for the ski lift, skis, and half-pipes.

Feel free to add your own touches. Until the snow falls and the slopes are open, happy baking!