When the last series of the Great British Bake Off aired, I was inspired to start baking. I’ve made the occasional cake here and there, but I wouldn’t have called myself an enthusiast beforehand. However, with each episode of the series, I baked something out of my comfort zone to varying degrees of success. This year, I’m less inclined to get the oven on. Part of that is because I have less time, but a big part of it is just how complex the series has got now.
For each and every episode of this year’s Great British Bake Off competition, I attempted to bake my own version of something seen in the show - either a direct recipe from the show, or a recipe that was inspired by what I’d just watched. My previous baking experience includes a loaf of bread here and there, the occasional Victoria sponge, mince pies and simple bits, plus one iced cake extravaganza.
The final of the Bake Off was so good! The balance of baking power kept swinging between the contestants, so that it really was a complete unknown when the winner was announced. Well done John! Brilliant job. Meanwhile, I was left with a decision to make. I decided, as this is the last “Inspired by…” post, I’d go for it and try my hand at the technical challenge.
Signature dish - Pithivier Technical challenge - Fondant fancies Showstopper - Chiffon sponge Mary Berry’s fondant fancies - the recipe had a lot of steps, but I understood pretty much all of it and felt it was something I could get away with.
The Bake Off is getting pretty difficult now, with the semi-final last week and the final coming up. I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be able to make anything they did in the show itself, but I was keen to be inspired. They baked the following:
Signature dish - Petit-Fours Technical challenge - Fraisier cake Showstopper - Choux pastry gateaux I figured that chocolate eclairs would be a good compromise, although the recipe confused me a bit as it seemed to have chocolate on the inside and white icing on the outside.
I was looking forward to this biscuit episode of the Bake Off, but actually when we got to it, it wasn’t all that biscuity after all. The options this week were as follows:
Signature dish - Crackers Technical challenge - Chocolate teacakes Showstopper - Gingerbread construction I’m not really a massive fan of gingerbread - I don’t mind the occasional biscuit or nibble but an entire house was a bit too much for me!
I’ve tried to stick to recipes from the actual Bake Off for the last couple of weeks, but this time I moved slightly away from it. There were a few variations on the Chelsea bun, and I very quickly realised that I wanted to do the bun, but in it’s rather more normal form.
It’s worth noting what the other challenges were for this week:
Signature dish - Regional buns Technical challenge - Jam doughnuts Showstopper - Celebration loaf The recipe I went for came from the BBC food site, and seemed reasonably simple - compared to some of the ones I have tried so far!
An admission before we begin - this week I was forced to pick the recipe before I’d actually seen the Bake Off show. My viewing was delayed until Thursday, and I had to order my online shopping before that, so I viewed the episode recipe options on the BBC’s site and decided on the one that looked the best.
The options this time:
Signature dish - Sponge puddings Technical challenge - Queen of Puddings Showstopper - Strudel I opted for the Queen of Puddings, because it didn’t seem too crazy challenging but still had something new in it (meringue).
After last week, wherein I wasn’t sure I liked anything I’d seen on screen, I knew this would be a much easier week. Mr C is a fan of pastry, and there was bound to be something we liked.
The options this time:
Signature dish - Wellington Technical challenge - Hand-raised pie Showstopper - American sweet pie I was convinced it was going to be a Wellington on my to-do list, but I’d forgotten about Mr C’s sweet tooth.
As I tweeted earlier in the week, something I had not considered when I dreamt up this idea of trying my hand at things that the Bake Off featured, was the concept of not liking anything within a given week. Each episode is on a theme, but there are three options within each and a multitude of recipes in each option. How is it possible not to like any of it?
Mr C and I had something of a discussion/disagreement after the last baking adventure. The flatbreads were nice enough, but he was disappointed they didn’t match anything that he’d seen on his TV screen. I hadn’t realised it up until this point but the BBC do actually put selected recipes from the Great British Bake Off on the site, so for this week’s challenge, I promised to do something that he could relate to the TV viewing experience.