Wow!, I watched this week’s Bake Off open-mouthed (and not just because I was busy dunking Hob Nobs into builders tea). I’m not sure if Channel 4 has an elaborate plan to boost ratings or the contestants haven’t been briefed well enough on family baking show etiquette, but, either way, everyone is talking about it and everyone has an opinion. Many viewers took to social media to complain about Manon leaving the acetate on her chocolate collar (Ooh err missus) sorry but the new format show is seriously lacking in double entendres. I however, was more perturbed by the fact that she was brazenly using a setting spray to hold her cake together. As far as I could tell, no one else was using one and it may be permitted by the show, but I felt this gave Manon an unfair advantage, given that the bakers were having to work in unusually high temperatures. Then there was that swear incident right at the end. Poor Noel was rendered speechless by Manon’s slip of the tongue, but she seemed blissfully unaware of everyone’s discomfort. They bleeped it out but it was clearly an F-bomb, and all the more shocking coming from the mouth of the most angelic of faces. I have to say it made me giggle, I’m sure she will be forgiven, she is an awesome baker after all.
The technical challenge was a head-scratcher. Apparently artist Monet’s favourite cake, it was a bizarre green monstrosity made with layers of Genoese sponge, pistachio cream, marzipan and topped with a glaze coloured with spinach. I’m down with using veg in baking. I’ve made cakes containing carrot, beetroot, sweet potato and even courgette, but spinach seems a veg too far. I would love to try making it and I will once things quieten down here. It was just too hectic this week, what with the new orangery being constructed and every water pipe in the house being replaced to give us the faintest hope of being able to run a bath in less than four hours! So, I plumped instead for a simple but delicious tray bake. As I had chosen the easy option this time, I decided to give myself a time challenge. It wasn’t easy and I found myself having to frost the cake before it was fully cooled so it melted slightly, but they still tasted good, and I’m sure the builders will appreciate them tomorrow.
As coffee is one of my favourite flavours to use in a cake I used a basic sponge recipe, added chocolate and coffee and made a decadent white chocolate frosting to make it more special. To make this Cappuccino tray bake I creamed 200g of butter and 150g of light brown sugar, gradually added in four beaten eggs and then folded in 200g of self-raising flour. Finally I dissolved 1tbsp of cocoa powder and 2tbsp of coffee granules in 2tbsp boiling water and mixed it into the cake batter. I baked the mixture in a 20cm square tin for 35 minutes until it was just set. Then I cooled it on a wire rack.
The frosting is made by melting 80g of butter, 150g of white chocolate and 4tbsp of double cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once it had turned into a silky, creamy liquid, I mixed in 250g of icing sugar and gave it a good beat. Then I popped it into the fridge for about an hour to thicken it up. The cake now had a nice crust around the outside but was soft and fluffy in the middle. I spread the frosting over the top and dusted it with cocoa powder. Finally I cut it into 16 small squares and topped each one with a couple of chocolate covered coffee beans. Easy peasy. Even if you’ve never baked anything in your life I reckon you could make these.
I will not be posting for a while now, as next week I will be relaxing on a beach with my very own Mr Big (my nickname for Vern). Once I am back I will catch up with the Bake Off and decide what to try next but for now its ciao from me. XX