The Great British Bake Off is back for it's seventh year on our TV screens and this means that my yearly 'bake along' commences too. If you're new to my blog - hello! And also, you won't know that I've been baking along to The Great British Bake Off for 4 years now, with this year being my fifth year! I started doing this in order to increase my skills and expand my baking repertoire. I've learnt so much and baked such a wide variety of things that I may never have tried otherwise. I'm excited to get started on another year of baking adventures. If you'd like to check out all of my past GBBO bakes click here.
As usual the bakers this year are a mix of ages, professions and ethnic backgrounds. There's Val who's 66 and loves exercise, Ed Sheeran and "listens" to her bakes. Andrew who's 25 and designs jet engines for a living. Candice who's 31 and a PE teacher. And Rav who's 28 and is into vegan baking and far eastern cuisine. It's so hard to tell at the start who will go the distance!
The first challenge for the bakers was to make a drizzle cake, and it must be moist. Paul said they are taking the challenges back to basics, so making it easier, but the judging would only get harder! Mary wanted the twelve new bakers to be inventive.
Any bakers doing a two layer cake were asked by Paul and Mary if they were putting the drizzle on both layers - which is a massive flashing warning light to the bakers that this is what they should be doing! First week nerves hit everyone, Lee immediately hit issues as his mixture kept separating. Selasi was the most laidback baker in the tent, when he forgot to put cinnamon in his cake batter he just put in the drizzle instead. Jane forgot to add ground almonds so had to make her cake again.
Benjamina got great comments from the judges, as did Candice, Jane and Selasi. The others bakers had problems with texture, lack of drizzle and missing flavours.
This week's technical challenge was jaffa cakes. This entailed making a fatless genoise sponge, and orange jelly, and neatly covering them in chocolate. Mary said they are a great British classic and she wanted them to be absolutely perfect. No pressure bakers!
Some of the bakers made the sponge by whisking the eggs and sugar over simmering water, none of them knew how long to bake the sponge for, and a couple of them got confused on which way round the sponges should be. Andrew did all of his upside down, then almost presented them with the chocolate on the bottom, not sure if he's eaten jaffa cake before?! Unfortunately that meant he came last, Lee was eleventh, Val tenth, Louise ninth, Rav eighth, Jane seventh and Benjamina sixth. Candice made it into the top five with fifth place and Kate came fourth. Michael was third, Tom second and Selasi was first.
The showstopper challenge was to make a mirror glaze cake, which should be as shiny as a mirror, and cover the entire cake. The sponge must also be a genoise. Mary was looking for sheer perfection and Paul wanted something that would stick in their minds. There was a great variety of flavours from salted praline with white chocolate from Benjamina, matcha tea from Michael and
Candice had a lot of trouble making her genoise sponge, she made them multiple times and even chucked one across the tent like a frisbee! Tom, Benjamina and Val also made their sponges more than once. The cakes, once baked and cooled had to be covered with a base layer, or crumb coat, of either ganache or buttercream. There were the first tears of the series from Benjamina as her swiss meringue buttercream was too runny, Sue was there to offer comfort and kind words.
Jane got great results from the judges, with both her flavours and appearance getting praised. Rav's mirror glaze also looked good, the Paul didn't like the texture of his cake. Despite having too much gin in his drizzle cake, Tom didn't have enough alcohol in his mirror glaze cake this time! Unfortunately for Michael the judges didn't like matcha tea, although I thought his presentation looked stunning. Kate's cake was very messy, but Mary liked the gooseberry flavour.
Selasi was praised for his cake as he was the only one to do a fruit glaze and fill his cake with a set mousse, Mary said it was a joy to eat and Paul said it was simple, elegant and beautifully flavoured. Val's cake looked good, but she'd used caster sugar in her buttercream. Lee's cake had a messy appearance on the outside and the sponge was dry. Louise had no mirror glaze at all, but her cake was delicious. Benjamina had a simple but good looking cake, with lovely flavours. Candice had a good mirror glaze, but her vanilla genoise was not cooked well. Andrew's cake looked stunning and Paul called it fantastic all over.
Lee was the first baker to leave the tent, as he did badly in all three challenges he was the obvious choice. Jane got star baker which surprised me to be honest as I really thought Selasi deserved the title. Next week is biscuit week!
I decided to make this week's technical challenge - Homemade Jaffa Cakes. Partly at my boyfriend's request, and partly because they looked really yummy! I followed Mary Berry's recipe for them and changed a couple of bits here and there to suit.
I started by making the orange jelly the night before as it takes a couple of hours to set. I used a sachet of Robinson's orange jelly as it was the only one in the supermarket suitable for vegetarians, I found it in Asda. I followed the instructions on the packet and I also added the zest of 1 orange. I added a small amount of orange food colouring too as I wanted it to be brightly coloured when the jaffa cakes were cut into. I lined a baking tray with cling film for the jelly to set in one even layer.
To make the sponge I started by greasing a muffin tin with butter.
I used an electric whisk to whisk up 1 large egg and 25g caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it was thick and pale. I then gently folded in 25g self raising flour.
I only got enough for 10 sponges, so I made another lot of mixture and greased up another muffin tin.
I baked each lot of sponges on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutes.
I tipped the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutter.
Then I melted 250g dark chocolate and gently covered the top of each cake using a spoon. I then used a fork to give the top some texture. I put them in the fridge to set the chocolate.
Then I tucked in! These are so satisfying to eat, breaking through the crisp dark chocolate to find tangy orange jelly and light as air soft sponge is a great feeling. One that can too easily be enjoyed over and over and over again...!
I'm linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg.
And We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.
And Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage.
Homemade Jaffa Cakes
- 1 Robinsons's Orange Jelly Sachet
- 1 Orange
- 2 Free range large eggs
- 50g Self raising flour
- 50g Caster sugar
- 250g Dark chocolate
- Orange food colouring (optional)
Line a baking tray with cling film and follow the instructions on the packet to make the jelly, also added the zest of 1 orange. Add a small amount of orange food colouring too at this point if desired. Pour the jelly into the lined tray and leave in the fridge to set for approx 2 hours or overnightGrease two muffin tins with butter or margarineUse an electric whisk to whisk up the egg and caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it is thick and paleGently fold in the self raising flourBake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutesGently tip the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutterMelt the dark chocolate and gently cover the top of each cake using a spoon. Then used a fork to give the top some texture. Put them in the fridge to set the chocolate