Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Great British Bake-Off - My New Favourite Programme!

I officially have a new favourite programme... The Great British Bake-Off! I have always really enjoyed food-based programmes, I watched Masterchef religiously with John Turrode and Gregg Wallace and occasionally catch The Great British Menu. But these are overshadowed by the BBC's new series. The basic premise of the programme is a group of 10 enthusiastic home bakers fighting it out for the title of best amateur baker. Each week they go to a different location in the country where they bake the particular area's signature food, with two people eliminated in the first week until only one winner remains. The judges are renowned baking writer Mary Berry, and professional baker Paul Hollywood. The programme is presented by Mel and Sue, and they trace the history of British baking by visiting baking landmarks and discovering why we bake what we do today.

The competition was kicked off with cake in the Cotswolds. The contestants had three challenges, the first being for them to bake their own signature cake to show the judges their tried and tested recipes that they love and are passionate about. Anita, with her caribbean inspired, rum soaked, black cake with strawberries and cream were a real highlight for me, it looked delicious and was a hit with the judges too.

I wouldn't have minded a nice big slice of this gorgeously indulgant looking chocolate brownie, raspberry and meringue layered cake... yum!

For the contestants second challenge they had to each make a victoria sandwich using identical ingredients so that the judges could see their true skills. It amazes me how different the cakes can all look even though they were made from identical ingredients... it just goes to show how baking is not an exact science, especially as the slightest variation at any stage of making a cake can make huge differences in the way that the cake rises, looks, tastes and feels.

Lastly the contestants had to bake a chocolate celebration cake that they were encouraged to decorate in whatever way their saw fit. I loved the look of the rich chocolate fudge cake (above) with the handmade chocolate buttons and flowers.

One contestant used edible glitter and stars along with some scrummy looking handmade truffles to decorate her chocolate cake.

The thing I love about this programme is that it will raise the profile of baking and help people get passionate about it. Baking was always a brilliant treat as a child, where me, my mum and sisters would make a mess in the kitchen, have fun together and make fairy cakes, cornflake cakes, sponge cakes, cheese straws and such like. There is nothing more satisfying than spending time making something yummy from scratch, imperfections and all!

The bbc website that accompanies the series is very good too, with recipes, tips and videos on how to get a firm grasp of the baking basics. So there is no excuse to avoid a spot of baking every now and then! Tune in to next week's episode of The Great British Bake-Off when they will be in Scotland making biscuits! Or catch up on iplayer and enjoy!

(All photos and screenshots are taken from the programme and any rights to the images belong to the BBC)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear Abbie! It's also my new favourite programme and Ihave just baked pink macaroons after being inspired by the petit fours bit!! Just waiting for them to come out the oven! Happy baking! :)