It’s that time of the year again – yes, Great British Bake Off is back! Albeit a little later than usual (sad face). I am of course joining with the #GBBOBloggers2016 bake along again, and I’ll try to join in as many weeks as possible! I have decided I am going to attempt a few more technical challenges this year, and also be a bit more organised.
It started off well with baking on Monday before the show even aired, then I watched it and decided I would attempt the technical instead (so my original bake will be in a future post!). I love jaffa cakes; I could easily eat a whole pack in one sitting. To be fair, I think they looked quite easy. My famous last words, it seems… Read more
So the Bake Off final. Everybody reading this must have watched it, right? I knew who I wanted to win (Nadiya), though I think they all made amazing showstoppers! It made me get my thinking cap on about what I was going to produce for the Bloggers final. I never managed to join the final last year so I didn’t want to miss out this time, though I know I am up against some brilliant competition!
I knew I was going with a showstopper classic British cake, and I had a few ideas before I actually took inspiration from a cushion and decided I would make myself a house warming celebration cake…
So for the first time this series, I made like a proper Bake Off contestant and got my notepad and pen out and drew what I had in mind. I think it has turned out pretty similar to my imagination! It could do with a few improvements here & there, mainly with the icing, but I absolutely hate fondant icing cakes. Overall though, I’m pretty pleased with it after being at it on & off for 48 hours (children and general life kept getting in the way!).
If you want to have a go at something similar, here’s how to do it.
9 inch sponge
500g caster sugar
500g Tesco self raising flour
10 Tesco free range eggs
2tsp Tesco Madagascan vanilla extract
6 inch sponge
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
4 Tesco free range eggs
1 tsp Tesco Madagascan vanilla extract
Filling and icing
680g icing sugar
1.5tsp Tesco Madagascan vanilla extract
1 jar of Tesco Finest strawberry conserve
1kg pack Tesco white ready to roll icing
10 inch Tesco thick cake board
thin circular lollipop sticks (to use as dowels for stacking the cakes)
500g pack Tesco chocolate ready to roll icing
500g pack Tesco red ready to roll icing
‘Snowflake’ shimmer pot/small tipped paint brush
licorice/black icing writing pen
Tesco porcelain cake stand
Preheat the oven to gas 2-3/160C/315F. Grease and line 2 x 9 inch cake tins and 2 x 6 inch cake tins (or if you only have one of each tin like me then you can do one after the other, as I did each cake in two parts rather than cutting one in half).
For the 9 inch cake, cream the butter & sugar together, then add the flour, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. I used my stand mixer for this so I just chucked it all in together.
Separate the mixture between the two tins and then bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
Repeat the three steps above for the 6 inch cakes, but bake for 45 minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare your butter icing for the filling and crumb coat.
Whisk the butter until creamy, then add half of the icing sugar and mix well.
Add the rest of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract, and mix for around 5 minutes until light & fluffy. Set to one side.
If needed, turn the cakes over and then level out so they are both the same height, either using a very sharp knife or an adjustable cake leveler.
On one half of the 9 inch and 6 inch cakes, spread generously with the jam.
On the other halves, spread with some of the butter icing. You will need some for the crumb coat.
Carefully stack each half of the 9 inch cake on top of each other, fixing to the cake board using a little butter icing.
Carefully stack the 6 inch cake and set onto a plate, or I used some grease proof paper.
Crumb coat each cake by spreading and removing a thin layer of butter icing, then leave to dry for a few hours.
Decorating – icing
Once ready to decorate your cakes, coat them both in another layer of butter icing – it can be a bit thicker this time. This will help the fondant coating stick to them.
Roll out the white icing to slightly bigger than needed for the 9 inch cake.
Using the rolling pin, carefully lift the icing onto the cake and smooth out across the top and around the sides, you can use a cake smoother if you have one. Carefully trim any excess icing.
Repeat the above steps for the 6 inch cake.
Poke one of the lollipop sticks into the centre of the 9 inch cake, lightly marking where it comes level with the top of the cake. Carefully remove and then cut down five sticks to this size.
Poke the sticks right into the cake, making sure to go no wider than where the 6 inch cake will sit. These will act as dowels to stop the cake from sinking.
Using a little butter icing like on the cake board, do the same on top of the 9 inch cake and carefully place the 6 inch one on top.
You will now need to make the house!
Decorating – house
Using 3/4 of the pack of chocolate icing, gently shape into a rectangle. Using a flat ended fondant icing tool, or a small sharp knife, make brick patterns all the way around the icing.
Using the remainder of the chocolate icing (leaving a tiny bit for the door step and window ledges) do the same as for the house and make a roof and a chimney, fixing the roof to the house, and the chimney to the roof, with a little butter icing or edible glue.
Using a little butter icing or edible glue, fix the house to the top of the 6 inch cake.
Using the excess icing from the cakes, make a small door and two windows, and then fix to the front of the house using edible glue.
Draw on a door handle and window outlines.
Using the paint brush, dab some of the shimmer into the window outlines.
With the remainder of the chocolate icing, roll a door step and two window ledges and fix to the door and windows with edible glue.
Place some fondant flowers around the house. I used a mixture of ready made shop bought ones which I poked in to the icing, and some that I had in the cupboard which I had made myself, fixed on with edible glue.
Decorating – writing
If you don’t have letter cutters, you could just make the letters yourself. To make mine I rolled out some of the red fondant icing very thinly and then stamped them out with my cutters.
Very carefully, turn the letters over and spread a little edible glue on, then fix to the sides of the cakes.
Finally, wrap some ribbon around the edges of the cakes and cut to size, then fix together with edible glue.
Ta-da! You have a house warming celebration cake!
I was provided with a voucher for Tesco for buying products for this post. You can check out even more delicious recipes on the Tesco Real Food baking section!
You may have noticed I haven’t joined in with the Bake Off for a few weeks (the last time was with my rainbow frangipane tart for which I received star baker!). First we moved house and then the following week my father-in-law passed away so I’ve had a lot going on, plus we have only just had internet installed so I’ve only had a mobile connection and haven’t even opened my laptop until yesterday.
Anyhow, I really wanted to join in with chocolate week and after watching the show I immediately knew I was going to make a chocolate tart. Though I didn’t anticipate chocolate pastry not being as easy as normal pastry, which I’m not usually that great at anyway… I am so glad I’m not presenting this one to Paul & Mary as my pastry case is a mess! It’s cracked, bubbly, uneven… I will try it again at some point though as I will be determined to get it right.
I had a couple of ideas for this before settling on including an ingredient you may have noticed in abundance in my recipes – peanut butter! I can’t help it, I’m in love 😉 This tart has a crisp pastry case, with a smooth peanut butter ganache filling, topped with a smooth chocolate ganache, and then peanut brittle on top for a bit of crunch (the first time I’ve attempted that too!).
Ingredients (serves 8-10) Chocolate pastry base
175g plain flour
2tbsp icing sugar
2tbsp cocoa powder
100g cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cold water
Peanut butter ganache layer
100ml double cream
200g white chocolate, broken into chunks
75g smooth peanut butter
Chocolate ganache layer
100ml double cream
200g milk chocolate, broken into chunks
100g caster sugar
100g salted peanuts
Preheat oven to gas 6/200C/400F.
For the pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar, and cocoa powder together, then add the butter and rub in lightly until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Mix the egg yolk with the water and use a knife to mix the liquid into the flour. (Alternatively you could do it in a food processor like I did!). When it begins to stick together, gently knead into a ball (remove from the food processor first if using), wrap in cling film and chill for at least 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry big enough to fit a 9 inch tart tin (with a removable base if you have one) making sure to leave some excess to allow for shrinkage.
Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice.
Blind bake for 15 minutes then remove the paper and baking beans and bake for another 7 or 8 minutes.
Leave to cool then trim away any excess pastry with a small sharp knife.
When cool, prepare the peanut butter ganache by gently heating the cream until bubbling, then add the white chocolate and stir until melted, then finally stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth & creamy.
Pour over the pastry base then chill until the ganache is set but still slightly soft to the touch.
Prepare the chocolate ganache by gently heating the cream until bubbling, then add the milk chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth & creamy.
Pour this mixture over the peanut butter ganache and again chill in the fridge.
Prepare the peanut brittle by heating the caster sugar in a medium pan over a low heat. When it starts to melt gently shake the pan; at first it will clump together, then turn a light golden colour and eventually a dark caramel colour. At this point add the peanuts.
Quickly pour the mixture on to a baking tray lined with baking paper, and leave to set but do not touch!
Break into pieces and add to the top of the tart in some artistic way!
Pastry week – a bit like bread week – is my nemesis. It’s usually always a double take for me with pastry so when I saw the bakes for this week I had no qualms about what I was going to do. Vol au vents – nope, I resorted to ready made puff pastry last year, so no go this time! Flaouna (what?!) – nope, no time to attempt a technical challenge at the minute with the business and stress of moving house. So a frangipane tart it was.
I’ve made a tart before so I could just about manage shortcrust pastry, but I’ve never actually made frangipane let alone experiment with flavours so I just went with a classic almond flavour, because as you can see I am hosting the linky this week (last minute!) so I had to come up with something quick! I wanted to make it flavoursome and pretty though so I went with a rainbow fruit topping; I think it looks great and it tastes delightful too!
Ingredients (serves 10-12) Pastry
200g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
Topping (you can substitute any of these fruits, I just went with the nearest rainbow colour fruit I could get my hands on!)
300g tub creme fraiche
icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to gas 5/375F/190C. Set a 9 inch tart tin with a removable base to the side (no need to grease or line).
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter, and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add a little water – I found 1 tbsp was about enough – and form into a smooth ball.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20-30 mins.
In the meantime, prepare your frangipane. In a clean bowl using a hand mixer, mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and almonds until well combined.
Roll out your pastry to an even thickness, and so it is a little larger than your tin in diameter (overhang is okay as it will shrink anyway). Carefully place over and press gently into your tin.
Pour in the frangipane mixture and gently shake so it spreads evenly, then bake for 30-35 mins until the pastry is just browning and the frangipane is golden.
Leave the tart to cool in the tin (on a cooling rack) and then neatly trim if needed.
Once completely cooled (I left mine in the fridge overnight) spread the creme fraiche almost to the edge of the tart.
Starting in the middle, place your fruits in circles to resemble the colours of the rainbow.
Dust lightly around the edges with icing sugar.
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Be sure to check out the linky rules and badge code which can be found over at Jenny’s blog Mummy Mishaps. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been baking this week!
As we aren’t a free from family I had to get my thinking cap on about what to bake this week, but in the end I decided on good old carrot cake as I knew that was sugar free and dairy free, and obviously it can also be gluten free if you use gluten free flour. I changed a couple of ingredients though for a more autumnal feel – as I’m not sure if you’ve felt it yet, but it’s getting a bit cold now! So I added prunes instead of raisins, and chucked some pecan nuts in there too for a bit of crunch. I also decided to make mini loaves instead of a large cake, for a change! If you don’t have a mini loaf tin though, you could alternatively make a large loaf cake. I also couldn’t decide between a sugar or dairy free frosting; I almost went a for a cream cheese frosting but in the end decided on an orange drizzle, so these particular cakes are only dairy free but you could change to your desire. If you left the cakes as they are without any frosting then they would remain both sugar and dairy free.
Ingredients (makes 8) Cake
150g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
50g prunes, roughly chopped
50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
4tbsp mixed spice
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml sunflower oil
300g carrots, grated
3-4tbsp icing sugar
2tsp orange juice
Preheat oven to gas 4/180C/350F. Lightly grease an 8 hole mini loaf tin.
Put the flour, almonds, prunes, pecans, mixed spice, and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil, and milk together and stir in the grated carrot. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, combining well until a thick batter is formed.
Fill each hole in the tin with the mixture, about three-quarters full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then gently remove.
Mix together the icing sugar and orange juice to a thick paste, then use a teaspoon to drizzle over the cakes. (They are best eaten straight away with this icing as it does soak in after a while).