The Great British Bake Off started with cakes.
The 13 contestants were asked to bake a signature sandwich cake, their skills were tested in the blind test with an Angel Food Cake and they had to wow Paul and Mary with a show stopper chocolate cake.
I took a chocolate and cherry cake into my office to wow my colleagues, and win over my bosses.
I used this recipe for a rich chocolate wedding cake but halved the recipe – I thought 50 portions was probably too much!
I thought half the cooking time would probably be about right but when I checked it after an hour it was still very wobbly so baked for about another five minutes.
I filled it with sweetened whipped cream and topped with cherries for a fuss free but impressive looking cake.
The recipe was simple to follow and the finished product was delicious – I heard yummy noises coming from around the office!
Last week was the final of The Great British Bake Off and, spoiler alert, John won.
The last ever technical challenge was fondant fancies, one of my all time favourite treats! I love the big ones you can get in Waitrose and of course the classic Mr Kipling but I’d never tried to make my own before.
The contestants used Mary Berry’s recipe and so, I did too. I understand why Paul and Mary left it until the last week because the recipe was really tricky to follow. I assumed, being a basic sponge base, that it would be easy peasy, but there was just so much to do!
After the cake was cooled it needed to be covered in jam, then marzipan. Next I had to measure it out into square and cut. Spread buttercream over four sides of the sponge and pipe a blob of it on the top, then cover with icing and then decorate. They took me two evenings!
After all the effort though, they were worth it. They were light and sweet and lemony and beautiful and went perfectly with a cup of tea. Although they were difficult, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go!
The blind test on Great British Bake Off last week was Crème Caramel, the wobbly baked custard covered in caramel sauce. When I was younger we used to buy these from the supermarket all the time, and I remember having to eat them fast as my dad was always waiting to gobble them up while our back was turned!
Having the opportunity to bake a childhood favourite is always great, there’s a lot more pressure because your memories, especially when food is involved, are often rose tinted, so I was really excited to bake Crème Caramel but also very scared something would go wrong.
Crème Caramel Recipe
Although it has quite a few steps, the recipe was really easy to follow, the important thing to remember is not to stir the caramel, not at all. The sugar will crystallise the moment it’s touched by a spoon. If it needs to be moved around, you’re best off just shimmying the pan a bit. My caramel took a long time to cook but just be patient, cook it on a low heat, the moment you crank it up you’ll lose control and the caramel will burn, yuck!
The custard looks a bit scary when it’s ready to pour as it’s so thin but it will set, I promise you!
The tips for cooking correctly are to keep checking, when they stop wobbling so much you’ll know they’re done. But also, don’t over cook them, if bubbles begin to form around the rim of the ramekin then they’re starting to go over and you’ll be left with a caramel covered omelette tasting thing.
You need to let the Crème Caramels cool for a few hours before turning them out, mine worked really well.
Good luck if you make your own, they’re easy as long as you follow the recipe, and they taste just as good as I remembered!
The blind taste test on last week’s Great British Bake Off was Mary Berry’s Treacle Tart. Making pastry has always been a bit of a disaster zone in my kitchen so I was slightly terrified of giving it a go.
Mary Berry’s Treacle Tart Recipe
The recipe was really simple to follow, and the pastry even worked well! It rolled out thinly without breaking and none of the filling leaked through when it was cooking! The lattice top was a bit tricky and I didn’t get it looking great but I gave it a good go.
Lattice topped treacle tart
No offence to Mary but, I think her recipe has got a bit too much lemon in it. I did exactly what the recipe said to do and added the zest and juice of two lemons but I think in the future I’d maybe just do the zest. It tastes delicious but it’s not got that treacle tart stickiness as there’s too much citrus coming through.
This tart is super easy to make though and I;d recommend it to anyone who’s just beginning to bake.
This tart is simple and delicious
Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards, I won’t know how I’ve done until October but I’ll be following the bake-off every week so stay tuned!