Great British Bake Off Inspired Cake Making
So like most of the country we've been struck by cake fever in the office as the much loved Mary Berry brings us The Great British Bake Off once more. Between a team of 9 we have agreed that one of us will create a sweet feast on Bake Off night that we can bring into the office for staff enjoyment the following day.
So being that this was my idea, I thought it only proper that I be the first to step up to the plate - how hard could it be? After all I am a complete pro at basic banana bread! An idea that started at chocolate brownies quickly became - chocolate brownies and 2 lemon drizzle cakes, one gluten free for our office gluten freer. I took myself off shopping for the ingredients and quickly made my first fatal mistake; There was no SELF RAISING gluten free flour, so I thought to myself 'I can't leave out Andrew, I'm sure normal gluten free flour will be just fine'.
So back in the kitchen I prepped my station so that I could sit comfortably at the table with Mary Berry on the accompanying television (I missed the whole show anyway - real life baking takes a lot of concentration when you have no clue!). As I laid out the recipe, I first noted that I have no kitchen scales - why would I when I don't usually bake? That's fine I can guess roughly using a cup, as long as I measure my flour and sugar equally ensuring I have the correct ratios I'm sure there’ll be no problem. I also do not have baking tins - no probs, I have Pyrex! I butter my Pyrex and proceed to mix my ingredients, I also have no grater! I had no idea my kitchen was so under stocked of basic food prepping material. I use my potato peeler on the lemon zest and then chop as finely as possible with a kitchen knife. I beat the mixture and popped it in the oven. Success! Cake number 1 down. I repeat the process for my gluten free lemon drizzle cake.
The 'best ever' chocolate brownie mixture is slightly more complicated but I manage to juggle the 3 separate preparatory phases along with the simultaneously cooking lemon drizzle cakes. The chocolate sits melting over hot water boiling in a pan, the flower and cocoa powder is sieved and ready to go and I have beaten the eggs and caster sugar - it's all ready to be 'folded' together.
I remove lemon drizzle cake 1 and 2 - they look okay. Mary Berry's specific instruction was to mix granulated sugar and lemon juice for the icing - this is where I first realised just how important the scientific solution of a metric system is so incredibly important in baking - my guestimation of ratios for this mixture was devastatingly useless. I proceeded to paste the cakes with said mixture waiting for the heat of the fresh-from-oven-bakes to perhaps melt the sugar? - No such luck. I go to prick my gluten free creation to check it is cooked through, and BAM! My work collapses miserably before my eyes - okay, no problem - I ignored the self raising flour rule - I can swallow that. Cake and dish go straight into the bin.
I knife around the edges of my second lemon drizzle cake ready to free it up and present it beautifully on a plate all ready to be enjoyed at precisely 11am the next morning, and 2nd ouch! It's stuck! I dig further, trying to edge my butter knife beneath the mixture, and- crumble. I tip it upside down and continue to shake my Pyrex dish vigorously, resorting to scooping at the base with a knife. It's now a fluffy, unpresentable mound on a plate - this cannot go to the office. My night has been wasted.
But wait – there’s still the brownie. I watch this one like a hawk, and I believe it will be my saving grace when I rock up to the office with a huge lasagne dish full of chocolate brownie - but baking lesson learned.
The rules are there for a reason - follow the rules and you'll no doubt end up with a mouth watering master piece, but try to cut corners and blag it - be prepared for an epic, heart breaking failure. Baking is a science - that's why it makes such a great TV show!
Summer is officially here and this week temperatures have started to sizzle into the mid-twenties. What could be more refreshing than a chilled, juicy cocktail?
This week it has been a real struggle to avoid all of the frozen summer treats, from chocolate based ice lollies to all sorts of yummy ice cream flavours it’s a tough time of year to stay on the bikini bod bandwagon!