Tag Archives: great british bake off

Baking The Great British Wedding Cake


I never thought I would make wedding cakes, the one time I had in the past was fine but I wasn’t very inspired and I didn’t enjoy the process all that much, to be honest I found it boring. But when I was asked to take part in The Great British Wedding Cake I thought, why not, lets see what challenges they throw us? And it turns out I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was creative, challenging and I ended up making two cakes I absolutely loved, both of which I would be happy to have at my own wedding one day. I enjoyed making the wedding cakes so much that I have since even taken a couple of orders to make cakes for real couples and their real weddings not just for TV.

Traditional Cake

My traditional cake was based around my Nanna’s christmas cake recipe, which if you watched carefully was a bit more like a dundee cake. Many people dont like traditional dark wedding cake because it’s heavy and very very rich. The cake I made is the opposite of that stereotype, it’s lighter and moist and not heavy at all, it has converted quite a few haters of wedding cake in its time. I kept the decoration simple and what I thought was rather classy and spring-like, perfect for this time of year.

Modern Cake

Of course my modern wedding cake was made of macarons, what else could it be? I hadn’t actually made this cake until the day we did it for the show. Sure that’s not the wisest decision but I loved the finished look and I’m sure this will become a signature, I’ve already been asked to make another. If you can make macarons well, then you can make this cake. It needs accuracy, as the macarons need to be the same size, and needs to be assembled as close to the wedding reception as possible as it isn’t as stable as a wedding cake, but I think it makes for a stunning alternative to the more traditional choice and the extra effort is well worth it.

The Boy Who Bakes – The Book

I know I have mentioned it in the past but I thought it might be time to properly announce it – I have a baking book coming out in September of this year (I have my final photoshoot tomorrow)!! It has just been added onto Amazon and is available to pre-order, I really hope you all like it. It’s called The Boy Who Bakes and is baking that I love, in my modern and slightly inventive style. I can’t tell you how excited I am for everyone to see it, the recipes are ones I love and the book is looking beautiful!

In other news, I wanted to quickly let you all know that I will be doing a few food festivals this year and will announce them as they are confirmed but so far…

Glynde Food Festival 16th-17th July

http://www.glynde.co.uk/food_and_drink_festival/index.html

Harvest at Jimmys 9th-12th September

http://harvestatjimmys.com/

Hope to see some of you there! 🙂

PB&J Bars

I know I know I have been terrible with the blog recently, embarrassingly I haven’t given you a new recipe since back in November, ill go and hang my head in shame shall I? As im sure you can guess ive been pretty busy the last few months. In the last week I moved house and now live in London. Im staying with a friend for a few weeks while I look for my first apartment and my first ever kitchen of my own, I cant wait to get it all set up and ready to go. Anyway now im getting back into the swing of things I thought I would share a new recipe of mine. It was inspired by watching some American comedy and they were making peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and whilst im a big fan of both jam and peanut butter I had never had together in a sandwhich. And no dont worry the recipe isnt for a sandwhich but and PB&J shortbread bar. Its so easy but also delicious.

PB+J Shortbread Bars

450g Plain Flour

300g Unsalted Butter

150g Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp salt

150g smooth peanut butter

250g jam (choice up to you)

1. Press a piece of foil into the base and up the sides of a 9×13 baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

2. Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until the ingredients form a dough.

3. Tip the dough out onto the worksurface and lightly knead until it becomes uniform. Remove a third of the dough and wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed. Press the remaining dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 mins or until lightly golden around the edges. leave to cool for 20 mins.

4. Spread the peanut butter evenly on the cooled base then repeat with the jam. Remove the third of dough from the fridge and crumble into pieces and scatter evenly over the jam. Bake for a further 25-30 mins or until the crumbled dough starts to colour a little bit. Cool completely before cutting into 12 large squares.

2010 Roundup

Its fair to say 2010 has been one amazing year. I started off working as a litigation clerk for a bank, a job I really didnt enjoy, and ended up the year by basically becoming self employed about to embark on some massive changes. You could say that my life has turned upside down. I, slightly reluctantly, entered The Great British Bake Off and beyond all my expectations I only went and won! Along the way there was of course a lot of baking, many cookbooks bought (a practice I have had to stop, cant justify cookbooks with no income!) and a holiday to Paris. Since ive been too busy to blog the way I would like I thought I would do a roundup of my favourite recipes, cookbooks etc of the year. Continue reading

Whoopie Pies and a Giveaway

I have never been a fan of whoopie pies I think its because of the whole “next big thing” label that seems to surround them. Everyone seems to be saying that they will be the next cupcake but I really doubt it. Why am I posting a recipe for them then? Well I was asked to do a baking demonstration at a charity even this weekend and I wanted something easy and quick so thought I would give them a whirl, and do you know what? They were pretty good. The event was The Great Brownie Bake Off organised by Louise Thomas the Chocolate Consultant and was to raise money for the charity Wheels For Wellbeing. Twenty-two home bakers who thought they had a great brownie submitted samples and a panel of judges including Paul A Young and Abigail Phillips of The Cake Nest (who will be using the winning recipe for a year in her business) sampled each one looking for the best. During the day, whilst the judging was happening there were demos by a really great group of people

Stacie Stewart the Masterchef finalist, Fred Ponnavoy the head chef at GU Chocolate Puds, Caroline Aherne of Sugargrain Bakery and Sasha Jenner of Hobbs House Bakery. The day was a great success and whilst I was a little nervous doing my first live demo the whole experience was a lot of fun. Continue reading

Update

Since the show finished I have been so busy, my feet have barely touched the ground, it has been such an exciting and fun time. I spent all wednesday the day after the final ensconced at the BBC doing about 20 interviews which was weird and amazing at the same time, especially doing BBC Breakfast. Want to know something secret about Breakfast? The “Green Room” is actually red (yeah that was a lame secret) Continue reading

liquorice Ice Cream

In the post about Nanaimo Bars I mentioned that I had tried something called Tiger Ice Cream, which is basically just liquorice and orange ice cream swirled together. I absolutely loved it, ever since I’ve been hoping i come across an ice cream shop over hear that makes it, but i’ve never seen it outside Canada. I don’t have two ice cream makers so can’t see how I would be able to make it so I decided to just make the liquorice ice cream. None of my books had a recipe, which I guess isn’t surprising as it’s not exactly the most popular flavour, so I turned to Twitter for suggestions. I was given a couple of suggestions but someone was even kinder to send me Claudia Flemings recipe from her book “The Last Course” a book I have wanted for a long time but which is unfortunately out of print and now ridiculously expensive to buy, so unless anyone wants to give me a copy I won’t be getting it anytime soon. Now, I will admit that at one stage this ice cream looked disgusting, the custard was the most unattractive green colour. I’m sure this is down the the brand of liquorice I used, so I decided I had to add a little colouring to darken it and in the end it looked okay but next time I’ll choose a different brand, because I hate colouring ice cream. Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Crinkles

Super simple but impressive cookie recipe today. These are not traditional cookies, they dont have the same texture, they are actually nearer brownies, although not gooey in the same way. The impressive thing about these is that they are rolled in icing sugar so that when they are baked they crackle and reveal the chocolate cookie beneath. The recipe makes loads, I got 45 from the cookie dough, thankfully they were baked as a favour for an event so they didnt go to waste. The recipe comes from the new book by the White House pastry chef Bill Yosses, The Perfect Finish. The book has some wonderful sounding recipes from a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart to Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nutella, I cant wait to try some more. Continue reading