(now that’s a tongue twister!)
The Great British Bake Off is a television series that has twelve amateur bakers compete with one another in hopes of becoming Britain’s Greatest Baker. Over ten weeks, the bakers are tested in all aspects of baking. The show itself has seven collections or seasons with ten episodes each. The judges are well known British celebrity chefs Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith who work with Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, two broadcasters to explain each challenge.
The show has sister shows called “The Great British Show -The Beginnings,” “The Great British Baking Show -Masterclass,” and “The Great British Baking Show-Holidays.”
Some fun facts about “The Great British Bake Off provided by Mental Floss” are that everytime an oven door is opened and the camera takes the shot, the contestants have to wear the same clothes all week; the contestants don’t interact with the judges all that much; and there are never any leftovers because the crew makes sure that all food is eaten.
Steven’s Telephone Cake
Ingredients:(For the Sponge)
100g of cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso
125ml boiling water
3 tbsp hazelnut liqueur
600g caster sugar
200g salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
400g self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
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Make the sponge. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Dissolve the cocoa powder and coffee together in the boiling water, then whisk in the liqueur and set aside to cool.
Cream the sugar, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater until pale and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then fold this into the creamed mixture with the cocoa mixture to make a smooth batter.
Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake for 35–40 minutes, until firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the sponges to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the buttercream.
Use an electric hand whisk to beat the butter, cream and sugar with the cinnamon, salt, vanilla and hazelnut liqueur until smooth.
Cover and set aside.
Place one cake on the cake board.
Spread one third of the buttercream on top, then place the other cake on top. Using a sharp knife, 3–4cm in from the top edge, cut a long triangular wedge off each side of the square to make a phone shape.
Separate the 2 layers of sponge from one of these triangles, then lay them on top of each other in opposite directions so that they fit snugly together in a rectangle at the top of the narrow edge of the phone.
Trim to fit, creating a phone cradle.
Spread the top and sides of the whole cake with the remaining buttercream and refrigerate.
To decorate, reserve 250g of the red sugar paste. Lightly dust a work surface with icing sugar and gently knead the remainder, then roll it out to a square large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake.
Lift this over the cake and smooth it neatly over the top and sides. Trim the edge neatly against the cake.
Make the handset. Using the reserved sugar paste, shape two 75g balls of red icing into the earpiece and mouthpiece, using the end of a fine paintbrush to create the divots and detail.
Shape the handle with another 75g of icing, making a slightly flattened sausage about 18cm long and curving the ends slightly.
Construct the handset on the board and lay it next to the phone. Knead the tylo powder into 25g red sugar paste (this helps make it much firmer), then roll it into a string about 60cm long.
Wind this loosely around a pencil, leave it to set for a few minutes, then use it to connect the handset to the phone, like a wire.
Roll out the white sugar paste to about 3mm thick and use the 9cm cutter to cut out a disc. Dampen the back so that it sticks, and place it in the centre of the cake as the dial. Cut out a second 9cm disc, then cut a 3cm disc out of the centre.
Use the 1cm round cutter to cut 10 small holes from the ring of white icing for the numbers on the dial. Fix this on top of the first disc.
Using black food colouring, paint the numbers and message in the centre of the dial. (Alternatively, make up a little black icing to piping consistency and pipe these on, using a small piping bag fitted with a fine writing nozzle.)
Steph’s Black Forest Chocolate Cake
For the sponges-
-200g unsalted butter
-200g 56% dark chocolate
-5g instant espresso powder
-110g plain flour, sifted
-110g self-raising flour, sifted
-¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
-200g light muscovado sugar
-200g golden caster sugar
-3 large eggs
-For the chocolate ganache:
-285g 56% dark chocolate
-125ml double cream
-220g unsalted butter
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Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3.
Make the sponges. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium pan. Mix the coffee powder with 125ml water and add it to the pan.
Place over a low heat and cover with a lid. Leave for about 2–3 minutes, until the butter and chocolate have melted into the coffee mixture. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.
Mix the flours, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and sugars in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk.Add the butter and chocolate mixture to the flour mixture along with the beaten eggs and buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix to a smooth batter.
Divide the mixture equally between the 3 prepared tins and bake for 30–35 minutes, until firm to the touch or until a skewer inserted into centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the sponges are baking, prepare the ganache. Place the chocolate, cream and butter in a bowl and place over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, refrigerate, stirring occasionally to keep the ganache smooth, until thick and glossy, then remove from the fridge so that it doesn’t set too hard. Set aside.To make the jam, place the defrosted cherries in a medium pan and mash with a potato masher. Add the jam sugar and lemon juice and place over a medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow to bubble for 4 minutes, until it reaches 105°C on the sugar thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Once it starts to thicken, remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and place in the fridge to cool.
To make the chocolate bark, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then spread over the strip of baking paper. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, until leathery, then, taking a short end, roll up the paper with the chocolate inside and place in the fridge to set.
For the crème Chantilly, using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the cream, icing sugar and kirsch in a bowl, until it forms soft peaks. Place one third of the mixture in the piping bag fitted with the large star nozzle and set aside.
To assemble the cake, place the first cake on a cake board or plate. Spread with a layer of the cherry jam, followed by half the crème Chantilly remaining in the bowl. Place a second cake on top and repeat, then finally place the last cake upside down on top to give a flat finish.
Spread the ganache around the sides of the cake and over the top in an even layer. Remove the chocolate bark from the fridge, unroll the paper and break up the chocolate into pieces as necessary.
Pile these in the centre of the cake. Pipe 8 swirls of cream from the piping bag around the top edge of the cake and top each swirl with a whole cherry decorated with a little gold leaf.
Store the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Sophie Ode to the Honey Bee Entremet
For the sponge
80g unsalted butter, diced
115g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
35g plain flour
4 egg whites
good pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange
½ tsp orange blossom water
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
blackberries, to decorate
icing sugar, for dusting
or full recipe Full list
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Melt the butter in a small pan and leave to bubble gently over a medium–low heat, until it turns a nut-brown colour. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Sift half the sugar, all the ground almonds, and the flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, with the salt, until they form soft peaks.
Whisk in the remaining sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue stands in stiff peaks. Sprinkle the flour mixture and the grated lemon and orange zests on top and start to fold in by hand.
When the flour is half-combined, trickle in the melted butter, the orange blossom water and the vanilla bean paste, and fold again to fully combine. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack, unmold the cake from the tin and leave to cool.Clean the cake tin and press the card base into the bottom. Cut a wide strip of acetate to fit inside the rim, like a collar, and secure with tape.
Remove the paper from the sponge, turn the sponge top downwards and place on the card base, pressing it down firmly. Tighten the acetate to fit, if necessary.
To make the lemon set curd, pour the lemon juice into a medium pan, sprinkle over the agar-agar, and place the pan over a medium–low heat. Bring to the boil without stirring, then simmer for 8 minutes, to dissolve the flakes.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a heatproof bowl, add the sugar and whisk for 2–3 minutes, until smooth, then whisk in the lemon mixture. Return to the pan and stir over a medium–low heat, just until it thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the butter, a little at a time, then strain the curd into a bowl. Leave to cool to room temperature, stirring as it thickens.Spoon the curd on top of the sponge and chill for 4–5 hours, until set.
Make the honey set custard. Soften the gelatine in water. Put the honey into a medium pan, add the vanilla paste and set over a medium–low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey thickens and darkens. Remove from the heat and hand whisk in the cream and milk. Return to the heat and whisk until smooth and hot. Remove from the heat.Put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl, add the salt and sugar, and whisk for 2–3 minutes, until smooth.
Whisk in the hot honey cream, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Return to a medium–low heat and stir until the custard thickens to coat the back of the spoon. Remove the pan from the heat.
Lift the gelatine out of the water, squeeze out the excess water, and stir into the hot custard to dissolve. Strain the custard into a jug. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring frequently, then pour on top of the lemon curd. Chill to set.
To make the gelée, soak the gelatine as before. Put the blackberries and lemon juice into a medium pan over a medium heat. Stir as the berries release their juice and the mixture comes to a boil, then simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the berries are very soft.
Remove from the heat and mash to a thick purée, then add the butter and sugar and stir until melted.Beat the eggs in a heatproof bowl, then whisk in the hot blackberry purée. Return to the pan and stir over a low heat until thick but not boiling.
Remove from the heat, then stir in the gelatine to dissolve as before, then strain the blackberry mixture into a jug. Cool to room temperature, stirring frequently. When the gelée starts to thicken, pour it over the top of the custard, then chill to set.
To serve, carefully remove the entremet from the tin, peel away the acetate and serve decorated with blackberries and dusted with icing sugar.
Sophie’s Hazelnut Dacquoise Centrepiece
For the hazelnut meringue:
150g blanched hazelnuts
1 tsp icing sugar
250g caster sugar
30g corn flour
6 egg whites
large pinch of salt
5g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the chocolate ganache:
300ml double cream
250g 60% dark chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra, grated, to decorate
25g unsalted butter, softened
For full recipe Full list
Make the hazelnut meringue. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Tip the hazelnuts into a baking dish and toast in the oven for about 5–8 minutes, until golden. Leave until cold, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
Add the icing sugar, half the caster sugar, and the cornflour. Pulse to a coarse sand texture (don’t over chop).
Reduce the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/235°F/Gas ½–1. Put the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and whisk to soft peaks.
Sprinkle over the remaining caster sugar, then whisk for a further 30 seconds to stiff peaks. Sprinkle over one third of the hazelnut mixture and fold in lightly. Repeat twice more.
Add a spoonful of the hazelnut/meringue mixture to the cooled melted butter and mix well, then gently fold into the remaining hazelnut/meringue mixture.
Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle.
Line the baking sheets with the paper drawn with 20cm circles. Pipe 3 spiral discs inside the circles, starting at the centre and spiralling outwards. Fill any gaps.Bake the discs for about 1½ hours, until very light golden, rotating the sheets after 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the sheets on a wire rack.
Leave until cold, then peel the discs off the paper.Make the ganache. Heat the cream until almost boiling, then pour it over the chopped chocolate and leave for 2 minutes to melt. Stir until very smooth, then stir in the butter.
Leave to cool until very thick, but fluid.
Spoon half the cooled ganache into the centre of each 20.5cm circle on the baking paper sheets and gently spread out to create 2 even, flat discs. Chill for about 30 minutes, until firm enough to peel away. Make the coffee mousse.
Soak the gelatine in cold water for about 10 minutes, until soft. Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour into a heatproof bowl and beat until very smooth, thick and creamy.
Heat the milk with the coffee in a medium pan over a medium heat until steaming hot, then pour onto the yolk mixture in a steady stream, using a hand whisk to whisk continuously until combined. Pour the mixture back into the pan and whisk continuously until the mixture boils and thickens.
Remove the pan from the heat.Squeeze out the gelatine, then whisk it into the hot coffee mixture until completely smooth.
Leave to cool, stirring frequently. When the mixture is cold but still fluid, whisk the cream to stiff peaks, then gently fold into the coffee mixture.
Line the sides of the springform tin with the acetate and secure with sticky tape, then assemble the dessert.
Place one meringue disc on the base of the tin and very gently place a disc of ganache on top. Spoon half the coffee mousse onto the centre of the ganache disc and gently ease it to the edges to make an even layer about 2.5cm deep.
Freeze for about 15 minutes, until set. Stir the remaining coffee mousse from time to time to keep it fluid.
Remove the tin from the freezer and repeat the layers. Return to the freezer for 15 minutes, then top with the last meringue disc.
Freeze for 2–3 hours, until very firm.
Make the Chantilly cream. Whip the cream with the sifted icing sugar until it stands in stiff peaks.
To finish the dessert, carefully unclip the tin and remove the acetate, then set the dessert on a serving platter.
Cover the top and sides with a thin layer of the whipped cream.Transfer the remainder to a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe a small rope of cream around the top edge, and another looser one around the base.
Decorate with grated chocolate. Chill for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, before serving.
5. Briony’s Hazelnut Mocha Cake
Ingredients(For the sponge)
565g self-raising flour
600g golden caster sugar
125g cacao powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp salt
200g chopped roasted hazelnuts
200ml dairy-free spread, melted
400ml soy coffee & hazelnut milk
250ml walnut oil
1 tsp xanthan gum
3½ tbsp espresso-strength instant coffee
50ml boiling water
For full recipe Full list
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Make the sponge. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cacao, baking powder, salt and hazelnuts.In a medium mixing bowl, using a balloon whisk, combine the melted spread, soy coffee & hazelnut milk, walnut oil and xanthan gum.
Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water, then whisk it into the bowl with the other liquid ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to a smooth batter, then divide the batter equally between the 3 tins.
Bake the sponges for 30–35 minutes, until just firm to the touch and a metal skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make the meringues.
Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C/90°C fan/225°F/Gas ½. Place the aquafaba in the bowl of the electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk and whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes, until doubled in size and thick and foamy.
With the whisk on slow, add the icing sugar and xanthan gum, then increase the speed to maximum and whisk for about 10 minutes, until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Place the mixture into the large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe meringue kisses over the baking trays (you’ll have many more meringues than you need – you can freeze the spares once baked; or keep them in an airtight container for 1 week).
Bake the meringues for 90 minutes, until dried out. Allow to cool, then dust with gold lustre powder. Meanwhile, make the ganache. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Warm the coconut cream and salt in a pan over a low heat until starting to bubble around the edge. Pour the coconut cream over the chocolate, leave for 5 minutes, then mix until smooth. Stir in the Tia Maria. Cover with cling film and chill for about 2 hours, until set.
Make the truffles. Place the chocolate buttons in a heatproof bowl.
Warm the coconut cream in a pan over a low heat until starting to bubble around the edge. Pour the coconut cream over the chocolate, leave for 5 minutes, then mix until smooth. Pour into the square container and chill to set. Put the chopped hazelnuts in a small bowl.
When the truffle mixture has hardened, use the melon baller to scoop up 10 balls. Roll each ball in the hazelnuts to coat, then chill to set. Make the jam. Cook the raspberries in a small pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until soft and pulpy.
Reduce the heat to low, add the sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Then, increase the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the jam reaches 105°C on the sugar thermometer. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed. Make the icing. Whisk the margarine by hand until light and fluffy.
Sift in half the icing sugar and whisk to combine, then add the vanilla and remaining sugar and whisk again. Put 2 tablespoons of the icing in a small bowl and add green food colouring until leaf-green.
Place in the small piping bag fitted with the small star nozzle. Colour the remaining icing red and place in the medium piping bag fitted with the large star nozzle.
Set both aside. Whisk the cooled ganache in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
To assemble, cover the bottom sponge with a thin layer of ganache, then a thin layer of jam. Repeat for the next tier, then place the last sponge, base upwards, on top.
Spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the layered cake, then use an icing scraper to smooth the icing around the sides.
Pipe 3 or 4 large rosettes of red icing to make roses and use the green icing to pipe small rosettes representing leaves for each rose. Scatter dried raspberries over the cake and decorate as you wish with truffles, meringues and fresh raspberries.