Tag Archives: paul hollywood

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! 🙂

The Great British Bake Off – Series 2

Sorry for not posting much recently but I’ve been very busy, actually I’ll hopefully have some big news to share soon.  The Great British Bake Off was the best thing I have ever done, it lead to some amazing experiences and I had a wonderful time filming the show, which brings me to the point of this post.  The show is getting a second series and the BBC is looking for 10 more amateur bakers who love home baking and want to put there skills to the test, and steal my title! If you are interested and want to find out more email baking@loveproductions.co.uk or call 020 7067 4876

If you fancy it but are not sure, I’m happy to answer any questions about the process you might have. Just leave a comment and I’ll answer.

To apply you must be over 16 on 1 April 2011. As an ‘amateur baker’ your main source of income cannot come from commercial baking in a professional environment and you cannot have ever worked full-time as a baker or chef. You cannot have acquired any catering NVQ or other professional catering qualifications in the past 10 years.

Further Info

– There have been a couple of requests for more info about the application and audition process so here is how it worked for me. This does not mean it will be the same this year but it might help.

The first stage was a paper application, which is quite long but nothing scary or out of the ordinary. This was followed by a phone call to get a feel for you and to flesh out what I wrote in the application. The first major part was the first audition, where you took some baked goods to a kind of mock judging with the judges, this was immediately followed by a screen test. After all this there was a bit of a gap but once everyone else had been seen you then heard if you got through to the final audition, a mini bakeoff to see how you coped with cameras and time limits. This was when you wait to find out the verdict. I cant remember the exact time line but I do know I applied in February and found out I was on the show in May. Filming took place over 7-8 weeks mainly on the weekends. Whilst that may seem not too intense, bear in mind you have normal life, recipe writing, and practice in between filming too. Yes it is intense but it is also a lot of fun and obviously, it can lead to exciting things so its well worth a go.

The Great British Bake Off

So the secret is finally out, I won The Great British Bake Off and it has been the most amazing past couple of days. I wanted to write a short post to say thank you for all the emails and support I have received over the last six weeks as the show has aired and especially over the last two days as the result was finally revealed. I have had to keep it a secret for so long that it was such a weight off my shoulders to finally be able to shout it from the rooftops. When I was watching the show even I felt nervous, actually I felt sick to my stomach. As I was watching I started noticing emails coming in and over the last 24 hours I have actually received so many it’s been so hard to keep up (most were just Twitter so didn’t need responding). Today my feet have barely touched the ground I started the day at 6.30am and was on way to the BBC for 7am where I had interviews with Gaby Roslin on Radio London, Chris Evans on Radio 2 then amazingly I even did a live tv interview on BBC Breakfast which turned out to be much less daunting then I expected. In total I think I did around 20 different interviews. Even though it was tiring it was amazing and fascinating and I still can’t quite believe it’s happening to me.

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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

Great British Bake Off – Episode 2

I meant to write a post last week about my experiences of the show and of the cotswolds but never quite got around to it so this week I was prepared. I loved filming this weeks episode, the weather was so much better than the previous week. You couldn’t tell on the show but it rained almost the whole weekend and it was bitterly cold as well. Scotland was warm and sunny and when we were not filming we were out enjoying the sun. I also felt very comfortable in the kitchen compared to the week before, I was relaxed and excited to be there doing what I love.

For the first challenge we had to make biscuits and yes my definiton of biscuits includes cookies! I went with my oatmeal raisin cookies which were inspired by and adapted from a recipe from a New York bakery called Momofuku Milk Bar (original recipe here). The really interesting thing about the recipe is that they used milk powder to make crumbs to add a creaminess which I loved. So I played around and came up with a recipe using the same idea. For the show I adapted it further and changed the way I make them to make simpler and more straight forward. The recipe I used on the show isnt on the BBC website but my original adaption is here.

The Second Challenge was scones and, well… yeah I didnt do great on the challenge. I grew up on my mum’s wonderful scones and holidays in devon with real cream teas, but the ones my mum taught me to make are slightly more rustic so maybe ill just brush over this challenge…

The third and final challenge was the big one, macarons, meringues and choux buns. I make macarons a lot but not so much choux pastry and meringue but i wasn’t uncomfortable with them either. My macarons were filled with raspberry jam and a rose flavoured French buttercream. If you want to look at the recipes I use most often take a look at this post here.

Big News

If you follow me on twitter (@TheBoyWhoBakes) then you have already heard the big news but if not then here goes, I am one of the ten contestants on a new BBC2 baking show (like masterchef meets hairy bikers) called The Great British Bake Off!! The show is presented by the wonderful Sue and Mel and jusdged by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. It starts next tuesday, the 17th and I am so excited to see it, I really hope you enjoy it. Obviously I cant talk about it anymore than this so you will just have to watch it to see how I did.

If you havent been glued to BBC2 waiting to catch a glimpse of the advert (just me?) then you can catch it here until it airs next week, you can see me at the end.

The Great British Bake Off BBC2 8pm starting 17th August

Pierre Herme’s “Macaron”

Anyone who knows me well or reads this site knows that I love Macarons and Pierre Herme. Unfortunately he has no shops in this country (which is apparently shortly going to change) so when I heard rumours that Monsieur Herme’s “Macaron” book was coming back into print I knew I had to get it. When it was first published I left it too late and when I finally went to place my order it was out of print. Yes the book isn’t the cheapest and yes its completely in French but to be fair its absolutely gorgeous and has every macaron recipe you could ever wish for, including all his signature flavours. If you have ever wanted to try the foie gras or the ketchup macarons then this is the book for you, as alongside the more regular flavours the book is full of interesting and experimental combinations. Continue reading