I’ve had an idea to use my love for the Great British Bake-off to get my creative baking juices flowing. I am launching a new blog series to follow The Great British Bake Off season which has just re-started on Channel 4. Each week I will blog a post using the theme of the GBBO of that week. Whether it be revisiting an old recipe or trying new ones! I think this is a great way to challenge myself and also to give people some inspiration if they are feeling like trying a bake after watching the programme.
This week, we kick start the series with Cake week. Cake week is a great way of seeing the contestant’s personalities within week one. The theme of cake allows for a blank canvas and therefore plenty of creativity.
The first challenge in this week’s episode was a fruit cake. I loved seeing everyone’s take on fruit cake and actually watching all the different variations come to life made me change my opinion of fruit cake. Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional fruit cake you get at Christmas but sometimes I feel it can be boring and not many people tend to like it. I thought some of them looked beautiful as well. It just goes to show you can turn something which seems simple and bland into a cake full of different flavours, textures and styles.
If you fancy giving a fruit cake a go take a look at my recipe at the bottom of this post. It’s a small cake which can be used at Christmas or as part of a wedding tier. It’s packed full of orange zest so isn’t to be snubbed as boring. It’s moist as well and a lighter version of what can be a dense cake.
Moving on the contestants also were set with a Showstopper challenge of a Children’s Birthday cake. This again showed off a lot of the baker’s skills and creativity with plenty of bakes which were amazing. The level of baking skills showed was admirable, and something I one day aspire too. However, for now, I will stick to my basic lemon cake with royal icing and a children’s motif added on. My recipe for this simple children’s birthday cake is at the bottom of this blog. The theme I did was frozen as you will see below but it’s a basic cake which allows you to decorate how you wish.
It’s biscuit week next week, hopefully I will try out a new recipe to post alongside the episode. In the meantime, happy baking!
Fruit Cake Recipe:
The recipe is inspired by Jane Hornby.
Cake tin size required: 15cm
140g Butter or Margarine 140g Golden Caster Sugar 2 Large Eggs 175g Plain Flour 1 Tablespoon of Orange Extract Zest and Juice of 1 Orange Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon 100g Glace Cherries 100g Mixed Peel 50g Pistachios 50g Stem Ginger 100g Sultanas
To Finish (optional)- Ready roll marzipan and fondant icing- you can buy these in supermarkets for a cake this size!
Preheat the oven 160 degrees then grease and line the cake tin. Also, wrap the outside of the tin with 2 layers of greaseproof paper which you can secure with string. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy Beat in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated Fold in the flour using a wooden spoon. In a separate small bowl mix together the zest and juice of the citrus fruits with the orange extract. To prepare the other fruits cut the cherries into smaller chunks and toss in a little flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Ensure the ginger is also chopped into small pieces. Add all the dried fruit and nuts into the large bowl of the cake batter and mix well. Stir in the orange and lemon flavourings. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour and 40 mins. Keep checking on it and roughly after an hour, it will start to brown on the top, when this happens, cover the top with some foil to prevent it from burning. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 mins then empty onto a wire rack. To keep for up to a month wrap in greaseproof paper then tin foil and store in a cake tin. Often a popular finish for a fruit cake is rolled out marzipan and fondant icing- however wait for when you plan to eat the cake to do this.
Lemon Children’s Birthday Cake Recipe:
The recipe is inspired and adapted from GoodFood.
You will need a 23cm cake tin
For the Sponge:
350g Margarine/Butter 350g Golden Caster Sugar 6 Eggs Beaten 140g Plain Flour 280g Self Raising Flour 4 Lemons A drop of Vanilla Essence Pinch of Salt.
For the Syrup:
2 Lemons 100g Golden Caster Sugar
For the Buttercream:
125g Butter/Margarine 250g Icing Sugar 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Curd 2 Packets of Fondant Icing Method: Preheat the oven 160 degrees then, line and grease your 23cm cake tin. The easiest way to do this is to draw around the base of the tin on greaseproof paper and cut out the circle then using the side of the tin as a guide cut a strip of paper to go around the edge of the tin. To grease, I take some kitchen roll, dip it in the butter and rub it all over the cake tin. Place the grease-proof paper in the tin wrapping the strip around (see below) Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until it is light a fluffy using an electric hand-held whisk. Then, add the eggs in a little bit at a time, beating them in at each addition. Fold in the flour, then add the zest of 4 lemons and the juice of 3. Mix the lemon flavourings in well. Add in the vanilla and essence and salt Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and even out the top using a spatula. Bake in the oven between 1 hour 20-35 mins. The top will brown quicker than it takes the cake to cook. To avoid a burnt look, cover the top of the cake with tin foil after around 50-60 mins. When you take the cake out the oven start making your syrup so you can pour it on whilst it’s still warm. Heat up the zest and juice of 2 lemons with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Using a skewer poke some holes in the cake right to the bottom for the syrup to sink into. Pour the syrup on the cake a little at a time to allow it to soak up. Once the cake has cooled slightly take it out the tin and let it get fully cooled on a wire rack. Once the cake has fully cooled you can start on the icing. First of all even out the top of the cake. Make sure you use a long, serrated knife to do this. You can use a ruler to measure the middle and poke a toothpick in as a guide. Do this at points around the cake to have a guide to get it to cut evenly. To make the buttercream, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and beat together using the handheld whisk. Once it resembles buttercream add the lemon curd and whisk again. Put a cake on a turntable onto the base you want to present it on. Put a few tablespoons of buttercream onto the top and use a palette knife to spread it out. Drag the excess buttercream onto the sides of the cake. Using a cake scraper spread the buttercream on the sides evenly, by placing the scraper on the side of the cake and turning the turntable. Excess buttercream will gather on the top, spread this back onto the top of the cake with the palette knife. This is your crumb coating. Put the cake in the fridge whilst you roll out your fondant to fit/wrap around your cake. To get the fondant workable, microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Take the cake out the fridge and repeated step 10+11 to create another layer. Place your rolled out icing on the top of your cake. The first thing you need to do is press lightly down on the top to alleviate any pressure pulling on the icing which could rip it. Press the sides down so you have a guide to cut around any excess fondant. Cut the excess off around the edge of the cake using a pizza cutter. Using a clean cake scraper with a straight edge if you have one. Drag this around the edge of the cake as you did when you did your crumb coat making circular motions. Make circular motions on the top as well and repeat until you’re happy with the finished product. Decorate your cake as you please!