Tag Archives: GBBO

Great British Bake Off Hangover.

For the last 2 months The Great British Bake Off has consumed my life, and that’s no exaggeration. Week upon week I have laughed, cried, rejoiced and dismayed at the baking trials and tribulations of Great Britain’s amateur bakers. There were firm favourites (James), some bungling bakers (Manisha, I mean seriously, what was she doing there) and finally a very deserved winner. And I have been glued to my television each week guided through the emotional roller-coaster of the tent kitchen by the effervescent duo, Mel and Sue. I am now at an utter loss, what does one do with their tuesday evenings? Alas, I allowed myself the remainder of the week to wallow in my post GBBO depression and grieved the lost of my favourite reality show with some appropriate activities.

Firstly, I tried a recipe by the ‘Master Baker’ himself, his unforgiving Eight Strand Plaited Loaf.  Unfortunately, I attempted this before watching his masterclass at the Good Food Show (more on that to come!) which provided me with a tonne of tips that would have made my first attempt a lot less traumatic.

The actual bread recipe is very simple, and nothing I haven’t done before. The plaiting however, left me mumbling numbers like a mad woman for near on half an hour with little success. However, after much perseverance I ended up with a reasonably well plaited loaf (well, all apart from the start, but for a first attempt I like to think it was okay).

After the ‘hard bit’ that was the plaiting, comes the ‘easy bit’ that is the proving and baking. Well, I say ‘easy’, I ended up leaving my bread to prove for too long, which meant my loaf ended up being more suitable for the ‘flatbread challenge’ of bread week than Mr Hollywood’s technical challenge. As my mother would say- it’ll taste fine regardless, and it did. But after my triumph at plaiting I was thoroughly dejected that I had messed up the easy stages. However, bread making is a learning curve, and my next attempt will hopefully be a lot better. That’s not to say that my bread failure didn’t push me further into a post GBBO depression.

 

My GBBO week ended with a trip to Glasgow to the BBC Good Food Show. Other than eating a horrendous amount of samples I also got the chance to meet the one and only Bake Off God’s- Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Who also signed my Great British Bake Off Book, a gave me a very cheery hello. After the excitement of watching two reasonably old people use a pen (one of the most momentous occasions for a keen baker, for everyone else, a relatively mundane way to spend an afternoon) I went to watch their masterclass, and got some great (although belated) tips regarding eight strand loafs. As well as some invaluable cake making tips from the Queen of Cakes, Mrs Berry. It certainly took the edge off my GBBO come down.

Here’s a link to Paul’s recipe, and please learn from my mistakes and keep an eye on your bread!

eight-strand_plaited_57815

And fellow GBBO fans, all is not lost, we do not have to go cold turkey, Paul and Mary have Masterclasses all of this week on BBC 2.

 

 

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Peach upside-down cake with honey pistachios

Taking inspiration from Great British Bake Off and after purchasing some beautiful donut peaches from Stanley’s Farm Shop I decided to whip up an upside down cake. I LOVE upside down cakes, the jammy-ness of the fruit and the light but gooey sponge makes for the perfect dessert, especially with a side of vanilla ice cream. This cake would also work with other soft fruits such as nectarines or apricots.

Peach upside-down cake with honey pistachios

Ingredients:

For the peach jam:

6 peaches, sliced as neatly or messily as you desire (they cook down to almost mush anyway, so if your pattern is less than perfect no need to worry)

50g butter

50g soft muscavado sugar

1tsp cinnamon

For the cake:

150g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

2 eggs, beaten

100g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

100g ground almonds

1tsp vanilla extract

60ml milk, this is a play by eye ingredient, if your mixture is loose enough it may not be needed.

For the Pistachios

50g pistachios

10g butter

1tbsp honey

Method;

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and place a shelf in the centre of the oven.

2) Grease a 10inch (or whatever cake tin you wish to use) and ensure you use greaseproof paper as the jam will get too hot against the metal tin and overcook.

3)Place your sliced peaches onto the greased bottom of the tin, choose whatever pattern you wish.

4) In a mixer (or by hand if you’re feeling brave/strong) cream together the caster sugar and unsalted butter. Once combined slowly add in the beaten egg (if the mixture begins to curdle add some of the flour, but if you beat quickly enough this should not occur) Once the egg has been added, incorporate the vanilla extract.

5) In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Then stir the almonds into the sifted mixture. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a smooth batter (although it won’t be as smooth as a normal sponge as the almond provides a bumpy texture, just ensure all ingredients a well combined) if your mixture is too thick add the milk.

6) In a sauce pan, melt 50g of butter. Once melted add the muscavado sugar and cinnamon and simmer on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and smooth. Pour this onto the peaches in the cake tin.

7) Pour the cake batter on top of the peach and sugar mixture. It would be a good idea to place the cake tin inside a baking tin and the sugar mixture will ooze during the cooking process and is a pain to chip off the bottom of the oven!

8) Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked throughout (the skewer test works a dream, pop it in, if it comes out clean your cake is cooked)

9) Let the cake cool for 5 mins once you have taken it out of the oven. Don’t leave it for any longer as it will cool and the jammy peach mixture will stick to the bottom. Carefully turn out onto a plate, remove the greaseproof paper (if it has remained on the cake) and leave to cool.

10) When cooling the cake will separate away from the peach slices, this is perfectly normal. A good trick to solve this is to use some honey in a squeezy bottle and squeeze some honey into the gaps, it retains the sweetness of the fruit without detracting from the peach flavour as well as leaving a sheen finish.

11) Melt the final amount of butter, and a tablespoon of honey in a sauce pan, once combined add the pistachios. Spread the now honey-ed pistachios onto a baking tray and place in the oven or 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

12) Leave the pistachios to cool (so the honey hardens) and sprinkle over the cake and you are done!

This cake is perfect for pretty much any scenario, a winter’s day by the fire, an after dinner dessert or just a cheeky treat to accompany a G&T in the garden, Enjoy!