This week was bread week on Great British Bake Off, this is normally one of my favourite weeks on GBBO but I didn’t think the challenges were that great this time. The Signature Bake was baking rye rolls, ciabatta was the Technical Challenge and the Showstopper was baking a filled centrepiece loaf. No eight stranded plait.
I’ve known what I wanted to bake for bread week for a while, Chocolate Krantz Cake from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem. Sweet bread dough, chocolate and pecans – you can’t really go wrong. Now I will say this isn’t a bake that would fit into the 4 hour time limit the contestants had because it requires the dough to rise overnight, but I couldn’t resist!
The original recipe is for two braided loaves but to make it more of a showstopper centrepiece I shaped it into a braided ring. One thing I would suggest is chilling the dough a bit before you shape the loaf. It’s got quite a lot of butter in and in a slightly warm kitchen it went a bit squishy (yep, that’s a technical term). Popping it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before you shape it will make it a lot easier to work with.
Chocolate Krantz Cake
530g plain flour
100g caster sugar
2 sachets (14g) dried yeast
3 free-range eggs
150g butter, softened
oil for greasing
50g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
130g dark chocolate
100g pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar
130g caster sugar
Firstly the dough, this needs to be done the day before. A stand mixer with a dough hook makes this much easier.
- Combine the flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.
- Add the water and eggs and mix until the dough comes together.
- Next add the butter bit by bit.
- Knead or mix the dough with the dough hook for five to ten minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Grease a bowl with the oil and transfer the dough to this bowl. Leave to rise overnight.
The next day start by preparing the filling.
- Melt together the chocolate and butter in a bowl above a pan of simmering water.
- Add the icing sugar and the cocoa and beat until smooth.
Time to shape your loaf, remember my tip about chilling the dough for 20 minutes or so before you start. If you want to make two loaves split the dough and filling in half and follow the instructions below up until shaping into a ring and put into two loaf tins.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle until it is about 1-1.5cm thick.
- Spread with the chocolate filling leaving a 2cm border around the edge.
- Sprinkle on the chopped pecans and the caster sugar.
- Roll up the dough along the long edge using a small amount of water to seal the end.
- Next trim the ends off and cut your rolled dough down the middle of the roll.
- Twist the two halves together with the cut side on top.
- Shape into a ring and transfer to a round loose bottomed cake tin.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 4 and bake for about 40 minutes.
While the cake is in the oven make the syrup.
- Combine the sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat.
- When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is just boiling take off the heat and leave to cool.
- When you take the cake out of the oven use a pastry brush to cover it with the syrup, it will need a few coats.
- Take out of the tin and allow to cool.
Tonight it’s desserts, I’m looking forward to seeing the inevitable Baked Alaska dramas!
Or “Happy Birthday!” for those of you whose Swedish isn’t quite up to scratch! On Monday it was my brother Will’s birthday and he was home in Cornwall from Sweden for the first time in a while. The Swedish seem to be pretty keen on their cake, even having a word, “fika” for coffee and cake. So I decided to bake Will a traditional Swedish birthday cake or a Pricesstårta. The Swedish Princess Cake consists of a fatless sponge layered with pastry cream and raspberry jam and lots of whipped cream all covered with green marzipan and finished with a pink flower.
I have a Swedish recipe book that Will got me a couple of years ago for Christmas so I used the recipe from there as a basis then had a look at a few others online to come up with this recipe. Most of the recipes used potato flour or potato starch in the cake but I replaced this with cornflour which is much easier to get hold of. I was planning on making the traditional pink flower out of marzipan but I couldn’t get any pink food colouring so I made one out of tissue paper instead.
Pricesstårta (Swedish Princess Cake)
225g caster sugar
70g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Creme patisserie ingredients
4 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
300ml whipping cream
pack of marzipan
green food colouring
Start with the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and line and grease a 9 inch loose bottom cake tin.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar until they are very pale and thick.
- Sift in the flours and baking powder and carefully fold into the eggs and sugar.
- Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes.
While the cake is cooking make the creme patisserie:
- Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until they are pale and golden.
- Whisk in the cornflour.
- Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and at the seeds and the pod to the milk in a pan.
- Heat the milk until it simmers.
- Sieve out the vanilla pod and pour half of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time so that the eggs don’t scramble.
- Add the egg and milk mixture back to the pan with the rest of the milk.
- Bring the creme patisserie back to the boil stirring all the time.
- When it has boiled pour it into a baking sheet lined with cling film.
- Cover with more cling film to stop a skin forming then pop in the fridge to cool.
When the cake and creme patisserie are cool:
- Whip the cream until it is stiff.
- Colour the marzipan with the food colouring and roll out.
- Cut the cake into three layers.
- Sandwich the first two cake layers together with the raspberry jam and half of the creme patisserie.
- Spread on the rest of the creme patisserie and add the final cake layer.
- Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of whipped cream then pile the rest of the cream onto the top of the cake and shape into a dome.
- Carefully cover with the green marzipan.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar and add the pink flower for decoration.
So it was biscuit week on the Great British Bake Off this week. The Signature Bake had the contestants baking 36 savoury biscuits, the Technical Challenge was making florentines and to finish off they had to build a 3D scene out of biscuits for the Showstopper. Luis’ George and the Dragon and Martha’s Ski Scene were my favourites, I liked how they had thought about the flavours of their biscuits and not just the design.
This week I decided to bake florentines, they are a quick and easy bake and it gave me an opportunity to practise tempering chocolate. I used the recipe they used on the programme, with a few tweaks. I reduced the amount of candied peel and swapped cranberries for glacé cherries, although I was lucky to find any according to this article.
I’m at home with my parents this weekend and they seemed to go down well, all of the florentines were gone within 24 hours!
50g demerara sugar
50g golden syrup
50g plain flour
50g glacé cherries, finely chopped
25g candied peel, finely chopped
25g almonds, finely chopped
25g walnut pieces, finely chopped
200g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
- Melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup over a low heat.
- Stir in the flour, fruits and nuts.
- Spoon teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper and flatten them slightly.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.
- When the florentines are cool melt the chocolate and spread on the bottom of the biscuits. If you want to have a go at tempering the chocolate there is a good guide here.
Last Wednesday was an exciting day for bakers and cake lovers, Great British Bake Off returned for series 5! Lots of you might know that I applied to be on GBBO this year and I was pretty disappointed to not be competing in the tent. So instead of just sitting through every episode and saying “I could do that!”, I’m going to bake along!
Episode one involved the bakers take on three cake challenges, firstly the Swiss Roll Signature Bake, then trying to replicate Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake for the Technical Challenge and then baking 36 mini British cakes for the Showstopper. Now, my Grandma’s Cherry Cake is pretty hard to beat and I don’t have 36 mini cake tins, so I decided to bake a Swiss Roll – something I have never baked before.
I made a Chocolate Swiss Roll with Whipped Cream and Raspberry Curd. I was surprised by how quick and easy the cake mixture was to make, the challenging bit was the rolling and in true GBBO fashion it didn’t go quite to plan! My cake ended up with one quite major crack which ended up being cemented back together with plenty of whipped cream and some of the outside of the cake ended up sticking to the baking paper but a quick sprinkle of icing sugar managed to disguise that! I think Mary and Paul would have been impressed by the swirl and it doesn’t taste bad either!
Chocolate Swiss Roll with Whipped Cream and Raspberry Curd
Recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book
4 large egg
100g caster sugar
65g self-raising flour
For the filling:
150ml double cream, whipped
raspberry curd or jam
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7 and grease and line a Swiss roll tin (33 x 23 cm).
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are really light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour and cocoa into the egg mixture and carefully fold them in, use a metal spoon and try not to knock out all the air.
- Bake for about 10 minutes.
- While the cake is baking lay out a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle it with a bit of caster sugar.
- When the cake is ready take it out of the oven and turn it out on to the baking paper straight away and peel off the paper from the bottom.
- Trim the edges of the cake with a knife and roll it up, with the paper inside, while it is still hot and then leave to cool.
- When the cake is cool, carefully unroll it and spread on your filling.
- To finish off roll the cake back up without the paper.