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Cake with Chetna from the Great British Bake Off

Cake with Chetna from the Great British Bake Off

Taking a Great British Bake Off semi-finalist out for cake is a nerve-wracking experience. I must have vetted twenty cake and coffee shops, all the time wondering whether Chetna would ever even want to see a cake again in her life.

Her eyes widened as we approached the counter and she scanned the cakes.

“I didn’t know whether going for cake was a good idea…”, I mumble.

“It’s always a good idea!” she says, pointing out a huge sponge topped with beetroot-red icing to the server, who recognised her immediately and smiled.

It seems baking almost every day for 12 weeks has dulled none of Chetna’s passion, and nor has falling at the last hurdle. Tonight Richard, Luis and Nancy go head to head in the final after watching nine others crumble at the mercy of the immoveable Paul and Mary. For many weeks it looked like Chetna was going to make it.

“I knew after day one of the semi-final that if I didn’t do well on day two I would be going home. And that’s what happened because they didn’t really understand my layered cake – but I thought there was nothing to understand! The layers were so clear and it tasted how I wanted. In the end I was quite happy to go because, for me, I didn’t fail.”

Getting to the semi-finals of this year’s show is certainly no failure. Mel and Sue said that any of the final six, so including Martha and Kate, could have won the show if they had been in previous seasons. By her own admission though, Chetna never expected to get as far as she did. She didn’t even get into baking until she moved from India to the UK 10 years ago, which makes her far less experienced than many of her competitors.

“Indians just don’t bake. If you see the old kitchens in houses there is never an oven, so 99% of the time it’s just cooking. But my Mum had one of those small portable electrical ovens – in fact, she still has it – and I always baked my birthday cakes with her when I was little. So when I had kids I thought ‘I’m going to make their birthday cakes myself’, and that’s how I got into baking.”

From those humble beginnings, Chetna became one of the most exciting contestants on the show, always adding intriguing ingredients and unusual designs to more classic bakes. There was her classy Cardamom, pistachio & coffee Swiss roll, her star-baker-winning Orange savarin with cinnamon cream and, of course, her beautiful Chocolate & mango éclairs.

“My cooking comes from living in India so it shows in my baking ­– I didn’t do it consciously, it’s just what came to mind. No one in Bake Off had really used the spices in their baking before, so I just thought I’d go with it.”

The judges may not have understood her final patisserie, but they loved many of her other bakes, as did the contestants. After the judging was over each week, contestants would descend upon the cakes to find out how the others had done.

“We’d try to work out if what Paul and Mary said was right or wrong! When you watch it you think ‘That’s so pretty it has to taste good’ or ‘That looks rubbish, how can it be tasty?’. But 99% of the time they were spot on.”

With 12 people vying for such an esteemed prize you would be forgiven for thinking that the contestants would be looking for faults, but according to Chetna they were nothing but supportive of each other and have all become friends.

“The atmosphere in the tent is really lovely, and not competitive at all – until the semi-finals. Oh my God, it was so tense; all four of us felt it. It was so quiet when we were doing our baking, and no one wanted to talk to the cameramen because everyone could hear. Apparently the final was tense too… for obvious reasons.”

The contestants still meet up and have even organised a message board that they can talk on. Because they have never seen the edit they like to message each other as each episode airs. How the conversation went during “ice cream gate” is a question I wish I’d asked.

“You weren’t always aware of what was going on in the tent. Particularly during the showstopper challenges you barely had time to breath. So when you finished, you’d leave the tent and someone would say ‘Oh my God, this happened to me’, you’d be like ‘What?!’. You have no clue really, so you don’t see things until the show.”

The obvious question then, was whether the contestants had any idea who was going to win or make the final during the show. Pencil-eared Richard is odds-on favourite to win (though what kind of person bets on the Great British Bake Off I have no idea), but was he a clear favourite to the contestants?

“Around week five Richard was not having a good week – he was actually in the bottom two twice – but then he bounced back. In week seven he got star baker, and then again, and then we knew he was going to the final. With Luis I think after week 5 or 6 you could tell that he would go through. It’s been so hard keeping the winner a secret, but most of my friends don’t want to know yet. They want to find out on the show.”

Given how much Chetna must have talked about the show with eager-eyed super fans like me, it’s amazing how excited she still is by everything she talks about.

“With baking, you need it inside you, that art. But it’s a science too. With cooking you can see things go wrong and do something about it, with baking you can’t. Once it’s in the oven there’s nothing you can do except watch it and say ‘please rise, please rise’.”

Next year Chetna hopes to write a cookbook, partly thanks to endless questions about the prospect on Twitter. Her unique recipes and use of Indian spices means we’ll certainly be buying it – and we know the recipes work because we’ve seen them in action – although we assume there won’t be a 20-layer Schichttorte.


Lottie’s Toadstool Cake

These cakes rise a lot during baking, so bake them separately to make sure you get an even rise. The results are completely worth the extra time. And don’t worry if you have a little bit of cracking – the sponge is delicate, so this is to be expected.

Ingredients

For the toadstool cap:

250g full-fat cream cheese

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lime

For the toadstool stalk:

125g full-fat cream cheese

30g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Finely grated zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lime

For the cherry cream:

125g pitted black cherries (fresh, or frozen and defrosted)

Finely grated zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lime

To decorate:

75–100g white fondant icing

Equipment

You will need:

20cm springform cake tin, base and sides double lined with baking paper

15cm springform cake tin, base and sides double lined with baking paper

Method

Step 1
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Wrap each of the lined cake tins in a double thickness of foil – this is to prevent water from the water bath soaking into the cake as it cooks.

Step 2
Make the toadstool cap. Tip the cream cheese into a large heatproof mixing bowl, place over a large pan of simmering water and whisk until smooth. Add the egg yolks, whisking well with a balloon whisk to combine. Add half the sugar and whisk again to combine.

Step 3
Melt the butter with the milk and double cream either in the microwave or in a small pan. Add this to the cream-cheese mixture with the salt, and the lime zest and juice and whisk to combine. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

Step 4
Sift the flour and cornflour into the bowl and use the balloon whisk to mix until smooth.

Step 5
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk until the meringue mixture holds soft peaks. Add one third of the meringue to the cake mixture and use the balloon whisk to mix in until no streaks remain.

Step 6
Add another third of the meringue and this time fold it in using a large metal spoon. Fold in the final third of meringue in the same way and carefully pour the mixture into the prepared 20cm tin. Gently tap the tin on the work surface to disperse any large air pockets.

Step 7
Sit the filled cake tin in the middle of a large, deep roasting tin and half fill the tin with boiling water. Bake the sponge, in the water bath, in the bottom third of the oven for 18 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/120°C fan/275°F/Gas 1 and bake for a further 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the sponge inside, without opening the oven door, for 30 minutes. Then, remove the sponge from the water bath and return it to the cool oven, this time leaving the oven door ajar, for another 20–30 minutes.

Step 8
Carefully remove the sponge from the tin, remove the baking paper and leave to cool on a wire rack. While the first sponge is cooling, prepare the cake for the stalk. Make the batter in the same way, but bake the sponge in the smaller cake tin for 15 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6 and then reduce the heat to 140°C/120°C fan/275°F/Gas 1 and bake for another 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside without opening the oven door for 30 minutes, then remove from the water bath and return to the cool oven with the door ajar for another 20–30 minutes, as before.

Step 9
While the sponges are baking and cooling, prepare the cherry cream. Tip the pitted cherries into a pan, add the caster sugar, the lime zest and juice and 1 tablespoon of water. Cook over a low–medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is tender and most of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from the heat, add the almond extract and leave to cool.

Step 10
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold this into the cold cherry compote. Cover and chill until needed.

Step 11
To assemble, place the smaller cake on a serving plate and using the larger (6–7cm) cutter, stamp out and remove a cylinder from the middle of the cake (discard the offcut). Fill the cavity with most of the cherry cream, then spread the remaining cream over the cake.

Step 12
Spray the larger cake layer with red food-colouring spray and leave to dry.

Step 13
Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the white fondant icing until 2mm thick. Using the smaller cutter, cut out circles of white fondant. Very lightly brush each circle with water and stick the white spots on top of the red cake. Re-roll the trimmings and, using a small, sharp knife, cut out smaller circles for the pupils and ‘glints’ for the eyes, according to the picture. Roll out the black fondant, and again using a sharp knife, cut out circles for the eyes. Using a little water stick the white details onto the black circles, then fix the completed eyes to the cake. Carefully place the red cake on top of the cherry-filled cake to serve.


This red velvet cake is really moist and super delicious. The stunning colour of the sponge looks beautiful against the contrasting cream cheese icing. Great celebration cake! Look out for the special cute taste tester in the end of the video! Subscribe to Food with Chetna to see even more amazing recipes and get your &hellip

Iain bakes on Food with Chetna. My lovely friend Iain Watters from The Great British Bake Off 2014 has shared one of his favourite recipes on Food with Chetna. These super rich and gooey Chocolate Brownies with fresh raspberries running through them and a hint of lime are an absolute must try for every baker! &hellip


Great British Bake Off 2019: Cake Week

Chetna Makan gives us a rundown of what happened during the first week in the Bake Off tent, including who triumphed, which cakes stood out and which contestant sadly had to leave.

Chetna is a food writer and baker who appeared on the 2014 series of Great British Bake Off.

Chetna is a food writer and baker who appeared on the 2014 series of Great British Bake Off.

Here comes the Bake Off! A whole ten years of baking in a tent by amateur bakers. Lots of sweat, blood and a crazy of number of eggs later we are back in Berkshire with this new glorious bunch.

The judges and presenters gathered together dressed as the Wizard of Oz cast to launch the new series – other than the fact that Paul says he has no heart, I’m not sure if the rest made any sense. I am sure the viewers at home agreed with Noel though.

The first week in the tent is always the most nerve-racking for the bakers, getting used to the surrounding, ovens, other bakers, cameras in your faces and – something I only learned after going in the tent – talking to the camera and presenters while baking. No one wants to be the first to leave the tent there’s nothing wrong with dropping your cake or coming last in the technical challenge but going home in the first week is the worst bit.

The first signature challenge for Cake Week was to make a fruitcake. I’m not a fan myself but it’s still a good challenge to start the series. Everyone gets straight to work and out come all those recipes straight from grandma’s cookbook – although there are plenty of twists added.

As soon as Sandi says ‘BAKE!’ we have the first casualty in the tent, with Michael cutting his finger the minute he touched his knife. A few minutes later he slices his other finger, and then his third by the time the oven has harely had a chance to heat up. At this rate he might have all his fingers in plasters by week two – I hope the tent had a large stock of plasters for him! Who can blame him though the knives in the tent are much sharper than what the average home baker is used to.


Spanish Lemon Meringue Cake

Hands-on: 25 mins/Bake: 25 mins

This lemon meringue cake from Helena (from the current series) comes from her great-grandmother. Her family loves it so much that they all stake their claim straight after baking to ensure they get their share.

  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 110g unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 550g condensed milk
  • Juice of 5 lemons
  • 75g caster sugar

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs. Remove two tablespoons of the crumbs and set aside. Add the melted butter to the crumbs in the food processor and blitz for a few seconds more until combined.

Transfer the buttery biscuit mixture to the prepared tin and use the back of a spoon to press it down firmly and evenly all the way to the edges of the tin to give an even base.

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk in the condensed milk until fully incorporated. Then, slowly whisk in the lemon juice until combined. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base.

Place the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk to stiff peaks. Whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a thick and glossy meringue. Spoon the meringue on top of the lemony layer in the tin.

Sprinkle the reserved biscuit mixture on top of the meringue and bake the lemon meringue cake for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then move it to the fridge to cool completely.

When you are ready to serve, release the cake from the tin, remove the baking paper and serve in slices.


1. Lemonade cake

Most keen home bakers can whip up a passable lemon drizzle cake, but a lemonade cake? That’s much more impressive. With three layers of zest-infused sponge, a zingy lemonade syrup, candied lemon slices and a lemon icing made with sherbet for a bit of fizz, this is an ideal choice for summertime baking. A few edible flowers on top make it look as good as it tastes.


What Great British Bake Off contestant Chetna Makan did next

Brave is the Great British Bake Off contestant who tests out unheard of flavour combinations on the judges. Their efforts are typically met with an embarrassed sideways chew from Mary Berry, and a firm dressing down from Paul Hollywood, reminding us why such a concoction should never make it to teatime.

The spotlight may have been on the most recent winner Nadiya Hussain after she baked the Queen’s 90th-birthday cake, but fans will also remember Chetna Makan from the 2014 series of GBBO, in which she delighted both judges week after week with her innovative combination of Indian flavours and traditional British baking techniques.

During her run, she introduced the veteran bakers to tastes and ideas they had never considered before, and in the very first week she successfully restyled a British classic, the coffee cake, spiking it with cardamom and presenting it as a swiss roll. Like Hussain, she baked a special celebration cake last week, but for a different kind of royalty: Tracey Emin cut Makan’s showstopper creation for the Turner Contemporary gallery’s fifth birthday in Margate.

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Day @TCMargate cake went down a storm with Tracey Emin and Victoria and many hundreds of people got a slice! Happy. pic.twitter.com/7MdOFEtr7V

— Chetna Makan (@chetnamakan) April 16, 2016

Some of the bakes that most impressed Paul and Mary were the fenugreek papdi chaat (cracker-like semolina biscuits studded with fenugreek leaves and carom seeds, and topped with potato and chutney) and the dal kachori (round pastry pockets filled with black dal).

Both are baked with an unusual spice called carom, also known as ajowan, whose greyish green seeds have a strong flavour often compared to thyme or oregano, and a warming peppery finish.

“It just came naturally to me to incorporate these flavours and spices, that’s what I knew,” explains Makan in the week her first book, The Cardamom Trail, is published. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of fresh twists on baking classics, with riffs on everything from a cheesecake flavoured with rose and mint, to a chocolate mousse cake warmed up with star anise, and custard tarts lifted with fennel.

The brioche, for example, carries the subtle taste of saffron and is filled with a mango and cardamom cream, and the chocolate cookies are made with cloves and cinnamon. There’s a rose and honey cake enriched with fennel seeds and cardamom, and a lime and black sesame loaf cake. Makan’s choice of fruits all sing of far-flung adventures: mango, lychee, papaya and pomegranate.

“Everyone has thought of Indian food and British baking,” she explains, “but they have not thought of combining the two. All the flavours are inspired by Indian sweets or Indian curries, and the recipes bring the flavours together, so they’re balanced and quite unique – not so it tastes of curry!”

Makan grew up in India in Jabalpur, an ancient city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Although Indians like to eat sweets, baking is rare and most cooking is done on a stove. Her mother had a portable oven and made birthday cakes for her three daughters. Once she was old enough, Makan began to bake a little herself, but that stopped when she left for Mumbai aged 17 to study and then work as a fashion designer.

A decade ago she moved to Broadstairs in Kent and began to bake again for her own children, who are now aged six and eight. When she entered the Bake Off tent in 2014, some of her fellow contestants had many more decades of baking experience than her. “I didn’t feel disadvantaged,” she insists. “I was quite happy with what I was doing, and with my strong points of intense flavours and spices.

“I like bakes with some kind of character and flavour, and I like intense flavours. Even if it’s vanilla it has to be a strong flavour.”

She enjoys the use of seasonal fruits and jams in British baking. With dried spices, seasonality isn’t an issue, but many of the flavours Makan uses will be familiar to British palates: saffron, cardamom, fennel, star anise, clove, cinnamon, coriander, carom, cumin, fenugreek and tamarind.

If you’re a GBBO wannabe, copying Makan is unlikely to wash with Paul and Mary, but these innovative ideas for spicing up home baking will give you that edge over any competitive bakers you know, and reinvigorate appetites for classic recipes.


Hardest bake of the series in GBBO episode six

After bidding farewell to Norman last week, Mel and Sue kicked off GBBO's episode six by welcoming the contestants to European Cake Week.

Mary Berry
and Paul Hollywood asked the contestants to create a cake inspired by the great cakes of Europe, for their signature bake.

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FULL GALLERY

They were asked to use yeast for their leven cakes and were given free reign of the cake's filling but were told it must be made in three hours.

"A leven cake is similar to a loaf of bread, it can&rsquot be hurried. If it&rsquos too hot it&rsquoll rise too quickly,&rdquo highlighted Mary, while Paul emphasized that ,"timing is key."

Flavours in a leven cake often can inhibit the yeast's rise. Knowing the difficulty of working with yeast, Nancy and Richard made a yeast-filled sponge before baking in order to estimate their baking times.

The adventurous bakes varied from Luis' Austrian Kugelhopf to Chetna's orange Savarin with cinnamon cream.

However, Nancy journeyed across the Atlantic, opting to make a hybrid cake- European in design but Carribean in flavour. Her choice of fruit worried Paul, especially her use of fresh banana that often loses flavor in a bake.

Timing the rise was crucial and forced many of the culinarians to opt to prove their cakes twice. Deciding when to stop proving and when to stop baking was the key to this baking challenge, it seemed.

When approached by the judges, Martha admitted that she was planning to add four tablespoons of butter to avoid a bready taste- a revelation which shocked Paul.

Meanwhile, Richard revealed that he was going to 'wing it' when it came to deciding the topping of his German-inspired cake.

In the end, the judges praised Martha&rsquos cake, congratulating her on the texture, the balance of bitter chocolate with sweet icing and brittle and perfect blend of alchohol.

However, although great in flavours, both Kate and Nancy disappointed the judges for their dry sponges while Richard's bake lacked texture and shine with a yeast that hadn&rsquot reached its full potential.

For the technical challenge, the bakers were asked to make one of the most difficult recipes of the Great British Bake Off so far, in two and a quarter hours.

The six remaining bakers were asked to make Mary's traditional Swedish Prinsesstårta Princess cake. The bake contains alternating layers of sponge, jam, pastry, cream and a thick layer of whipped cream.


The monumetal bake is then topped by green marzipan, covering the dome shape, sprinkled with powdered sugar and decorated with a pink marzipan rose
.

"Read the recipe at least twice before you start," advised Mary before Mel outlined that there are 26 separate ingredients and 14 stages to the tricky bake.

"I think you&rsquore cruel Mary," joked Paul as the baking duo sat to indulge on Mary's perfectly domed creation.

The minimalistic recipe challenged the bakers, with many never having seen a Princess cake.

"Make a crème patisserie and chill," laughed Martha as she struggled with the recipe&rsquos vague outline.

The hopefuls also found difficulty gageing the correct shade of green for the marzipan, with many bakers resulting to using previous bakes of football pitches and rainbows as a guideline.

Timing appeared to be the most stressful aspect of the bake with many contestants doubting that they would finish in time for judging.

"This is such a complicated recipe," stressed Martha, as the tent was full of mayhem as the countdown began.

Ultimately, Richard's lack of distinct layers and Kate's incorrect layering of Marzipan failed to impress the judges.

However, Chetna's perfect colour and layers saw her placed second to Nancy, who wowed with her elegant and beautiful Princess Cake.

"A lovely cake," praised Mary as her and Paul beamed with joy at tasting Nancy&rsquos creation.

Following a good night&rsquos rest, the bakers entered the tent, determined to create the perfect show stopper that would see them crowned Star Baker.

For their final bake. the six bakers were asked to make a contemporary version of the Hugarian Dobus torte. With several layers, the contestants were asked to impress with a two-tiered cake, with emphasis on sugar work and caramel, in under five hours.

"I expect some serious caramel work," demanded Paul, as Mary asked for perfection- &ldquoIt's got to be stunning&rsquo she said.

Luis decided to use inspiration from his wife&rsquos favourite monument in Stockport, opting to make a 'Cage on the Rocky Hill', while Richard began creating a sugar Forrest Dobos torte with ten layers in each of the two tiers.

"I&rsquom caustiously optimistic not confident," the builder stressed.

Across the tent, Martha began making her chess-themed cake with salted caramel, swiss meringue buttercream as Chetna started on her chocolate caramel buttercream cake with balls caramel covering the top layer.

The sponge to a Hugarian Dobus torte should contain even layers of sponge to filling in order to reveal clearly defined layers.

Martha's Dobos torte was a blend of salted caramel and bitter chocolate

With such a long time to create the bake, the bakers methodically worked through their recipes, with a keen eye to detail, precision and timing.

In the end, Nancy was praised for her well-exectuted praline bake while Luis' beautiful designed was deemed 'spectacular' by Mary.

Kate's lack of caramel disappointed the judges while Martha's uneven design and use of shop-bought chess moulds failed to impress.

Former favourite, Richard, frustrated the judges as his sponge was too dry and his lack of presentation, in comparison to the other bakes, didn&rsquot meet Paul and Mary&rsquos high standards.

In the end, Chetna was crowned Star Baker of the week, while Kate and Richard were both up for the chopping board. Mary and Paul admitted that they couldn't decide between the two bakers and analyzed their baking pitfalls.

Luckily for the contestants, they were both saved from this week's elimination and will face another week of baking stress in the tent.

Tune in next week at 8pm on BBC One for complez pastries and choux pastry show stoppers.


Great British Bake Off Recipes You Need to Try By Alicia Grimshaw

The Great British Bake Off is back and we couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing better to do on a Wednesday night than to witness Paul Hollywood’s dreamy eyes and Mary Berry’s floral ensembles. We caught up with three former contestants who share their favourite recipes that will have you running to your mixing bowl in no time and there’s not a soggy bottom in sight, that’s a promise.

Chetna’s Upside Down Plum Hazelnut Cake

It is a good time of the year to benefit from friends and neighbours crops of fresh plums. And what better way to use them than in a super delicious cake. This is a great autumn treat for when the fruits are at their best. This light moist sponge with ground hazelnut goes beautifully with the caramelised plums. Eat it warm, on its own or with some warm custard or cold ice cream.

For the caramel

3 plums, stoned, halved and cut into thin slices

For the cake

175 gms unsalted softened butter

175 gms golden caster sugar

175 gms self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 23 cm spring form cake tin.

In a pan melt the butter and sugar. Cook this for 2-3 minutes and pour it into the prepared cake tin. Arrange the plum slices in concentric circles over the caramel.

In a bowl mix all the cake ingredients and whisk for 2 minutes until light and creamy. Pour this mixture over the plums. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cake to rest for 10 minutes in the tin before carefully inverting it on a serving plate.

Serve it with custard, ice cream or just on its own.

Kimberley’s Lemon and Rosemary Butter Biscuits

Photo Courtesy: mirror.co.uk

For the biscuits

150g unsalted butter, cubed

100g caster sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)

2tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped

For the glaze

In a large mixing bowl rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You can, of course, do this by pulsing in a food processor. Your call, friend. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest and rosemary.

Whisk together the egg yolk and lemon juice and tip in to the flour mixture. Using your fingers bring together to form what will be a very soft dough. Give it a quick knead on a very lightly floured surface just to bring it together to a uniform colour. Shape into a ball, flatten with your hands to about an inch thick, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill and firm up, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat your oven to 180C/160fan/Gas 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 5mm thickness. I used a 5cm plain edge cutter because I was making these with my goddaughter who, displaying wisdom beyond her years said, ‘Let’s use the small one because then we can have more.’ Genius. I think they look cute. A 6cm cutter will be fine if cute isn’t your thing. Cut your biscuits and very gently (as the butter will have started to warm up and soften) place on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just golden on the edges. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

When completely cold they are ready to ice. Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Dip the tops of the biscuits into the glaze and return to the cooling rack until the icing sets. Done. Super great.

Luis’ Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Chocolate Torte

Hre we have a really rich and indulgent chocolate cake. I make my version without any flour so it has the added advantage of being gluten free. This cake makes for a fantastic dessert and the addition of the fruits and chopped nuts on the top not only taste great but also make it look amazing.

Essential equipment

Chocolate Torte Ingredients

150g dark chocolate 70% – coarsely chopped

40g cocoa powder and 1 tbsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 80ml boiling water

For the Cake Decoration

Handful fresh raspberries

Handful fresh blueberries

20g chopped roasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/320°F/gas 4. Grease and line the cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove and place on one side to cool slightly.

Put the sugars and eggs in your mixer bowl and whisk on high speed for 8 minutes until meringue like. Gently fold in the melted chocolate using a large metal spoon, be careful not to deflate the mixture. Next gently fold in the ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder/coffee mixture and salt. Pour the mixture very gently into the prepared cake tin and bake just below the centre of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes

The cake is ready when the centre feels just firm, the top has a slight crust and some cracks have appeared. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door until at least 30 minutes has gone by. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool.

Take the cake out of the tin and place on your presentation plate or stand. Arrange the raspberries and blueberries in the centre of the torte. Next scatter the chopped roasted hazelnuts around the fruit but leave the outer edge of the torte exposed. Pick some perfect mint leaves and use them to add a splash of colour around the fruits.


Great British Bake Off, 2014 - Patisserie week

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

This week was patisserie week but it should rather have been entitled 'wahffer thin week'. You will see why in a mo.

The first semi final challenge was filo pastry. A worthy challenge but who really makes filo pastry? As Richard put it 'we have so many great shops in North London' why bother? But a challenge it was and they all got stuck in to making two different types of Baklavas. Paul was looking for a beautiful syrup binding a beautiful filling. Mary wanted a "wahffer thin" pastry.

The pastry is made with flour, water, vinegar and water and Luis had the great tip of just letting the KitchenAid do all the work in kneading it to build the gluten up to make is stretchy and elastic to work with. Most of the others seemed to knead by hand

Chetna was the only one to make two different types of pastry. A normal one and a chocolate one. Her flavours were chocolate filo with orange and pistachio and then a masala chai (of course as we are coming to expect nothing less than spice mixes).

Luis had his own interpretation of baklava. He was making filo flower shaped cups in a muffin tin to fit a rose and barberry filling. For his second bake he was making what looked more like filo cigars with a cashew, almond and carrot filling and a saffron syrup. I love how Luis uses saffron in his choices. Such a delicate flavour that is difficult to get right. Too much and it's too bitter. Too little and you've wasted about £10 worth of the strands!

Nancy went for something completely untraditional. She was making granola. Yes granola to go inside her breakfast baklava. What a genius idea. I would live this for breakfast right now. With a dollop of rose scented yoghurt perhaps. This was complemented with a coffee and chocolate baklava.

Richard opted to stay true to the baklava roots with a rose and pistachio combo in the traditional shape and then a walnut and almond version with a cinnamon syrup. Delicious and completely akin to those we see on the shelves of Turkish bakeries in North London. I would recommend Yasser Halim in Palmer's Green. They also use the filo for amazing savouries too.

Anyway, the challenge seemed to sail away. Before we knew it they were all playing up and being judged. Nancy had a great result with both. No negative comments. Her bonkers granola baklava idea was spot on. Richard received the same showers of praise. Luis did not. Paul commented that his pastries were not really Baklavas as there were no layers and the bakes were 'bone dry'. But I guess the saving grace for Luis was that both judges loved his flavours. Chetna also did not do too well. Though she had perfectly formed Baklavas in two different shapes and a good colour on her pastry, she was missing the layering too.

This week was patisserie week but it should rather have been entitled 'wahffer thin week'. You will see why in a mo.

The first semi final challenge was filo pastry. A worthy challenge but who really makes filo pastry? As Richard put it 'we have so many great shops in North London' why bother? But a challenge it was and they all got stuck in to making two different types of Baklavas. Paul was looking for a beautiful syrup binding a beautiful filling. Mary wanted a "wahffer thin" pastry.

The pastry is made with flour, water, vinegar and water and Luis had the great tip of just letting the KitchenAid do all the work in kneading it to build the gluten up to make is stretchy and elastic to work with. Most of the others seemed to knead by hand

Chetna was the only one to make two different types of pastry. A normal one and a chocolate one. Her flavours were chocolate filo with orange and pistachio and then a masala chai (of course as we are coming to expect nothing less than spice mixes).

Luis had his own interpretation of baklava. He was making filo flower shaped cups in a muffin tin to fit a rose and barberry filling. For his second bake he was making what looked more like filo cigars with a cashew, almond and carrot filling and a saffron syrup. I love how Luis uses saffron in his choices. Such a delicate flavour that is difficult to get right. Too much and it's too bitter. Too little and you've wasted about £10 worth of the strands!

Nancy went for something completely untraditional. She was making granola. Yes granola to go inside her breakfast baklava. What a genius idea. I would live this for breakfast right now. With a dollop of rose scented yoghurt perhaps. This was complemented with a coffee and chocolate baklava.

Richard opted to stay true to the baklava roots with a rose and pistachio combo in the traditional shape and then a walnut and almond version with a cinnamon syrup. Delicious and completely akin to those we see on the shelves of Turkish bakeries in North London. I would recommend Yasser Halim in Palmer's Green. They also use the filo for amazing savouries too.

Anyway, the challenge seemed to sail away. Before we knew it they were all playing up and being judged. Nancy had a great result with both. No negative comments. Her bonkers granola baklava idea was spot on. Richard received the same showers of praise. Luis did not. Paul commented that his pastries were not really Baklavas as there were no layers and the bakes were 'bone dry'. But I guess the saving grace for Luis was that both judges loved his flavours. Chetna also did not do too well. Though she had perfectly formed Baklavas in two different shapes and a good colour on her pastry, she was missing the layering too.

Twitter was complaining that so far in patisserie week there had been no patisserie. So it looked hopeful for the technical challenge. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I wish they would raise the budget for this part and have a guest chef present the challenge. How amazing would it have been to get someone from Lenotre over?!

This challenge was however to be German. Yes German. The bakers were asked (with the barest of instructions remember) to make a Schichttorte - 20 layers in two hours.

Essentially the recipe is simple. A cake made with wahffer thin layers of batter which are grilled to cook them and then covered with a chocolate ganache. These cakes originate from Germany in Hanzelstadt Salzwezel. Lucky Mel got to go and visit one of the bakeries that make this in the traditional way on a rotisserie type contraption. The batter is ladled on in layers and then the whole thing is covered in chocolate.

Back in the tent time seemed to be the challenge. The bakers had to cook each layer and ensure there would be twenty. The chocolate glaze seemed simple enough to them all but again time was the issue as there was no minutes left to allow the cakes to cool beforehand.

Chetna had 17 layers, a lop sided looking cake and a hard crust which signalled overbaking. Well over grilling rather. She came bottom this week.

Nancy had 18 layers and the chocolate was hanging off the edges as the cake was still so warm.

Luis had twenty lovely layers and a super professional finish as did Richard.

Finally a little French inspiration. The contestants were asked to make two types of entremets. Essentially these are layered mousse cakes and if you look back onto Edd's (as in winner of GBBO1 Edd Kimber) Twitter feed you will see a lovely little video of his versions coming out in his next book.

Mary was looking for polish and a pristine finish. Paul wanted to see precision, beauty and elegance.

All the bakers chose superb flavours and to be honest this part of the show was a bit of a blur. There were so many techniques going on that it would have been great to have seen more of them.

Richard was making a grapefruit mousse with almond and vanilla in a dotty sponge and this was paired with a hazelnut latte creation which had the most perfect chocolate work in the final shot that I wanted to know how he had cut each piece to precision. Both his creations looked just perfect and certainly good enough for a LeNotre bakery.

Nancy had jellies and mousses and biscuits in her Lime, Chocolate and Passionfruit layers and Raspberry Nonnettes. Again both looked superb and the raspberry jelly was especially magnificent when cut into. A perfect square in the centre.

Luis had created 'sensational and elegant' entremets and they must have been so deliciously enticing for Mary as she took a Greg Wallace sized mouthful to taste. His flavours were Pomegranate and Pistachio and Cherry and Chocolate. It was a shame we had not been able to see how he had layered them all up because they looked like genius flavour bombs.

Chetna had 'bulbous looking' entremets. That was not a good start. The judges liked the cappuccino flavours but the chocolate and orange let her down. There were no wahffer thin layers. It was rather a 'chocolate cake with a bit of orange'

It was pretty clear who would be leaving the tent this week. She'd done so well to get Indian twists on traditional bakes across throughout the series. Long may she continue to share these. Chetna was not to be a finalist and left with happy memories and smiles. Good luck Chetna.

Richard had once again knocked everyone's 'spots off' this week and got Star Baker for an amazing fifth time. He joined a tearful Luis and Nancy in an emotional send off.

Three bakers left. One more week. Six more sleeps until we have a winner.


Candice Brown’s Spiced apple, date & espresso cake

CANDICE says: “This is one of my favourite bakes to make, especially now that the seasons are changing.

"With us being inside more than ever this is the perfect bake to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.”

For the sponge:

  • 275g plain flour (plus one tbsp of extra flour set aside)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 50ml espresso (cooled)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes (either Bramley or cooking)
  • 100g chopped dates

For greasing:

For topping:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50g chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 50ml of espresso and icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan / gas 4. Make one shot of espresso and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whip together the sugar and butter until pale. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, milk, eggs and espresso.

Mix with hand mixer until fluffy and combined. Toss the cubed apple and dates into the 1 tbsp of flour that was previously set aside and fold them through the mixture.


Watch the video: Το ΠΙΟ Αφράτο Δίχρωμο Κεικ που εχεις δοκιμάσει! Εύκολο και γρήγορο (November 2021).