Whittlesea Bakehouse pastry chef Michael Valenti, left, and manager Adrian Caporetto took home the award for Victoria’s best vanilla slice for the second year running.

By Aleksandra Bliszczyk

WHITTLESEA Bakehouse’s vanilla slice has been named best in the state for the second year in a row.

At the Victorian Baking Show, hosted by the Baking Association of Australia at Shepparton late last month, 45 bakeries entered the vanilla slice category to be judged blind.

Each slice was cut, tasted and scored on the crispness and evenness of the puff pastry, the thinness of the icing, and the flavour and mouthfeel of the custard – the silkier the better.

Whittlesea Bakehouse’s winning recipe from 2020 held up for a second consecutive year, which bakery manager Adrian Caporetto said was the result of years of experimenting.

“It’s been enhanced, improved, tweaked, a couple of little modifications here and there, little secrets and it’s just really stepped up a notch,” he said.

“What makes it so good is that creamy velvety custard, nice crisp pastry, thin shiny icing; it’s just a complete package.”
The bakery’s pastry chef of more than 20 years Michael Valenti makes each element from scratch, and bakes the slices every day to ensure crisp pastry.

Mr Caporetto and Mr Valenti worked ‘through the night’ to get everything ready before the show, which was nerve-racking for the pair.

“The judges have a very straight pokerface, you can’t make them out, you don’t know, and then of course you’ve got to sit there and wait for the dinner and presentation and you find out, so it’s one of those nail-biting days,” Mr Caporetto said.

“It’s great to get that recognition from people that are in the industry – that have been in it for a long, long time. It was just overwhelming, it’s fantastic.”

Mr Caporetto said business has been booming since they posted a photo of the trophy to the bakery’s Facebook page, which he said was a joy after last year’s lockdowns.

“It was a pretty sombre year last year and it’s great to have a bit of spark again,” he said.