The Great British Bake Off – Week 6

Hello! I am back from Paris, it was great. Lots of food was had, and I will blog about it in the next few weeks.

So, it’s Bake Off catch-up time, as I missed it on Tuesday. I did some baking myself this afternoon and I have triple chocolate brownies in the oven as I type. I shall have some later with hot chocolate, it’s that kind of weather… Brrrr…

It’s pudding week. Now I th0ught pudding week was two weeks ago. Ach well. See, I’m not a massive fan of steamed sponges. Oh, chocolate fondants count as a sponge. Well, I like those. Very brave to attempt these, as for those of you who watch Masterchef might recall Jay Raynor say something along the lines of ‘the path to Masterchef glory is littered with the bodies of failed chocolate fondants’. Or something. Let’s hope they turn out better for Ryan, as his lime pie looked amazing last week. I also like the sound of the elderflower sponges… Maybe I should rethink my stance on steamed puddings… And poor Danny, not having a good start to the week.

Sarah-Jane has been struggling. I had her down as a finalist at the start of the series, but not so sure now. Although I think his baking is a bit too old-fashioned, I think Brendan is doing rather well.

Queen of Puddings… now, call me crazy, but I’m not a fan of jam combined with custard, never have. As a result, the only trifle I like is one with lemon curd. I do like meringue though. I’ll just have the meringue…

Mmm… strudel. Now, I like apple strudel. With lashings of custard. Years ago I used to make one quite regularly. But not with the strudel pastry. I like James’ idea of a rhubarb and strawberry filling. Yum. Oh dear, blooooooooooood. Poor John… But lots of strudels are bleeding as well.

I wonder who will go, it’s not been a great week for most. And Brendan as star baker yet again… Oh, no-one’s going. Hurrah! But two going on Tuesday, interesting…

And it’s done!

Wedding cake!

Wedding cake – detail

After a few days of hard graft, my wedding cake is done. Although I won’t breathe a sigh of relief until it’s in a box and at the venue tomorrow and it has survived the, albeit short, car trip.

I won’t reveal the whole cake yet, as that’s reserved for the wedding day itself, but I thought a little teaser detail would be nice.

MrFoxyBakes has given his approval and so have my folks, who are here at the moment.

It’s not perfect, but I made it and I’m happy with it.

I’m signing off now for a week or so, to get hitched and go to Paris.

No Bake Off post this week…

Sorry people, no Bake Off post this week. I have been busy finishing kilt socks for MrFoxyBakes that have been in the making for over four years… I promised him they’d be done for the wedding, and there’s nothing like a deadline…

I did watch the Bake Off, the pastry looked quite disastrous in most cases…

Next week’s Bake Off post will be later in the week as I will be in Paris then.

On the upside, expect a wedding cake post tomorrow…

Paris musings

Patisserie des Reves

Patisserie des Reves

A week today, I will just have arrived in Paris. MrFoxyBakes and I are spending a few days there after the wedding for a mini-moon. Our honeymoon isn’t until January, but we wanted to go away for a few days after the wedding as the thought of going straight back to work just didn’t sit right!

So, off to Paris we go. We will see some sights, but the main purpose of the trip is to eat, drink and be merry. I expect bread, wine, cheese and steak will feature heavily. But I’m mostly looking forward to the pastries and chocolate.

I have been devouring Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris and now I have a problem: which places to visit for baked goods? Pierre Hermé is a given, La Patisserie des Reves as well. For balance I will have to go to Ladurée as well. I have three days. I don’t know I can fit it all in.

I am so excited by the prospect of all the food and amazing wine, I can hardly wait!

 

Trepidation…

Tomorrow, the big bake commences: I will start making my wedding cake. Well, I have kind of already started. The last few days I have spent some making hydrangea petals with Beau Sugarpaste. The first batch I did, took ages to dry, I thought it was going to not set for, like, forever! It dried in the end though and subsequent batches have been much better and all petals are now so hard, that if they fall, they will shatter. As it’s supposed to.

So, tonight, the butter for the cakes will come out of the fridge and I will be disciplined and set the alarm for 8am, so I can get started. I have appointments in the afternoon, so that will give me 7 hours to bake 3 cakes, which should be enough. And make ganache to use on Sunday. After I purchased Planet Cake, an Australian baking book, I feel very confident about ganaching. The Aussies seem to prefer ganache to fondant, which I suppose with the humidity and heat makes sense. Any excuse for a new cake decorating book though…

So, tomorrow it starts. I’m hoping I will stay calm, I have a tendency to stress out when things don’t go my way in the kitchen. But, the recipes are tried and tested, I have practised icing and all that jazz, so it should all be ok, right?

I’ll post pics of progress here, but I will keep the reveal of the cake until after the wedding. Which is a week tomorrow. Oh my…

 

The Great British Bake Off – week 4

Puddings it is, this week. I am taking a break from making what feels like a gazillion hydrangea petals. I have burgundy fingers as I type from the sugar paste.

Very interesting week, this week. Puddings, my favourite bit of a meal. Is it just me who always looks at the pudding menu first when eating out?

I see Stuart is a good man and made his own wedding cake. He’s growing on me! I’ve never really attempted tortes, although I think after this week’s Bake Off that will probably change! I have to say I’m always intrigued by tea-flavoured sponges. Does it really work I wonder…

I like John’s idea of checking how a sponge is done, when it stops singing. I think I’ll stick to the good old trusty method of the skewer.

Whenever I watch the Bake Off, I take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one freaking out when baking. Just ask MrFoxyBakes, he’ll tell you things can get um… tense… at times when I’m baking.

Some of these tortes look seriously impressive! I love the 70s throwbacks Brendan comes up with every single week. I have to say I might have to give Danny’s torte a go with the elderflower and white chocolate. I wonder if the recipe will become available on the Bake Off website…

Oooh, crème caramel. I am very good at eating crème  caramel. Now, are they not allowed thermometers to make sure the caramel doesn’t burn? And ‘make the custard’? I would struggle without a recipe, and I’ve made custard many times before. It looks like some of the bakers are struggling as well! Oh my word, Kathryn, don’t break the crockery!

Well, I think it’s fair to say there’s crème caramel in all kinds of colours and, above all, consistencies! Well done, Brendan!

Meringue, something I love!. So much so, we’re having meringues and fruit as our dessert at our wedding breakfast next week. Sarah-Jane, again, that looks amazing, a tiramisu meringue. Yum. Also, James’ one looks nice. I see Kathryn like living on the edge and sticking the meringue in last-minute. It needs an hour to cook and two hours to dry, love, get it in!

I wonder who will be up for the chop this week. Stuart hasn’t had a great week so far, nor has John. although his meringue stack looks impressive.

Well, bye bye Stuart…

Let the cakes begin

Wedding cake, pre baking

A crate load of unhealthy stuff

Tonight MrFoxyBakes and I went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for our wedding cake. As you can see, it’s a crate full and this doesn’t include some of the icing I already have and I realised I also need lemons and raspberry jam. That will have to be bought next week then.

In the crate is 2kg of white chocolate, 3 kg of flour, 1.5 kg of sugar and 800 gr of dark chocolate, amongst other things. Oh, and almost 2kg of butter. Basically, a heart attack in a crate.

This crate of bad goodies means two things: 1) our wedding is approaching fast, 2) I really now have to make this cake. So, Sunday will see the start of the hydrangea petals being made and then next weekend I will start the actual baking and decorating. I will post photos of my progress and I might give you a sneak peek of the end result before the wedding…

The Great British Bake Off – Week 3

So yes, no Bake Off post last week. My week got slightly side-tracked by wedding planning stuff and a weekend away to see friends. Also, I don’t know much about bread and was just simply in awe of the 8 plat bread!

Anyway, it’s tart week this week, something I’m looking forward to. This post is written during the show, because otherwise I fear I won’t get round to it this week.

Before we start, some good puns from Sue. I do like the puns…

So, tarte tatins. I don’t think I ever made one. Although I have made rough puff pastry many a time. I usually make it the cheat’s way by using Nigella Lawson’s Processor Rough Puff Pastry, which works well for me. Now, I do think MrFoxyBakes will like the caramelised banana tarte tatin, so I will pay attention to Sarah-Jane’s tarte… But the marzipan layer on the almond and pear tarte tatin just sounds vile to me, but then I’m not a fan of marzipan. And also, did I just see someone whisking the water and sugar as it was heating up? Oh dear, that’s never going to go well…

Well, some nice tarte tartins there, now let’s see if I can hunt down a recipe for the caramelised banana one.

And now on to the technical challenge, mmmm, treacle tart. I have this recipe, I think. Some clever ways of making the lattice, I will have to remember that…

And I’m sorry to say it, but why is Stuart still in there? Didn’t he make the awful tomato upside-down cake in episode 1? He should’ve gone then… But hey, go James, I like him!

Oh, fruit tarts for the showstopper. Let’s see what they come up with!

Oh, James, macarons, you brave brave man! And liking the sound of Sarah-Jane’s tart with cassis jam. Yum! Seeing all these tarts makes me want to have tart. I’m off to Paris in a few weeks, and I may just eat my bodyweight in tarts. And that’s a helluvalot of tarts!

Stuart’s tart looks amazing though… something I would’ve made, probably. Maybe he deserves to be still in after all… He’s just not consistently good.

Now, who will be star baker? My bet is on James. And I think Victoria will go.

And I was right.

So, next week? Oooh, desserts. A nice distraction from what undoubtedly will be a week of making sugar hydrangeas for my wedding cake…