Butterfly cakes

Hey guys!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend, whatever you’ve been up to! I spent mine trying to get some uni reading done, babysitting my little nephew and getting stuff prepped for my 21st birthday (which I’m sort of in denial is happening if I’m completely honest).

I guess that explains my choice for this week’s recipe (not as exciting as last week’s chocolate brownies ) as butterfly cakes are something I’ve made since I was young- my fondest memories are baking with my parents and grandparents over the years, and I suppose this is one of the earliest recipes I remember making.

(My photos aren’t the best as I had to rush, considering my family were waiting to eat them!).

Here’s how a few simple ingredients make these:

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

– 100g butter

– 100g caster sugar

– 100g plain flour

– 2 eggs

– a dash of vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

– 50g butter

– 75g icing sugar

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 (fan)/ 200c/ gas mark 6 and line your tin with cupcake cases.

2. Mix your butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale

3. Add the eggs and flour, plus a dash of vanilla extract (or whatever extract you like) and mix together completely

4. Fill your cases with the mixture and bake for 15 minutes (or when the cakes are golden brown)

5. For the buttercream, mix the butter and sugar together- spoon this mix onto your cooled cakes.

6. Cut your wing shapes out of the top of the cake (fill any gaps in with your buttercream), sprinkle some sugar on top (if you want) and enjoy.

Although they aren’t the prettiest things, these cakes are delicious. Plus they’re perfect for making with friends or with little ones.

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. So stay tuned!

(You can keep up to date with my thoughts so far: Week One| Week Two| Week Three| Week Four)

Have any of you been baking this weekend?

The Great British Bake Off: Week 4

We’re four weeks into the current series of The Great British Bake Off and so far there’s been plenty of Hollywood handshakes, heavenly (and hellish) bakes and heatwaves in the Bake Off tent.

(You can read my thoughts on the previous weeks here: Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3)

This week the bakers faced Dessert Week, so still stressed- only backwards!

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE FOUR, AHEAD!

The bakers

This week, the boys impressed. As usual, Rahul was unaware (and completely modest) of how good he actually is. Jon brought colour to the tent with (another of) his mad shirts (and a tutu when he presented his Showstopper) as well as great flavours and brilliant bakes. Dan, who I’m tipping to win at the moment (sorry Ruby!), showed the judges (and the other bakers) that he’s one to watch- again earning himself the coveted Hollywood handshake.

The challenges

Dessert Week began with the Signature Challenge, in which the nine remaining bakers were asked to make a roulade with a perfect swirl and a melt-in-the-mouth meringue.

This challenge produced a variety of results, a cherry liqour spiked roulade, a ‘dream’ inspired roulade and a roulade inspired by one of the bakers spending a lot of time in the Florida Keys. There was one handshake worthy offering and plenty lacking the signature swirl.

Next up came the Technical Challenge which saw the bakers make a raspberry blancmange (which I’m luckily too young to remember ever eating and, to be fair, wouldn’t want to anyway!) and 12 Langues De Chat biscuits (that’s cat’s tongue, for non-French folk like me!). This challenge put the ‘stressed’ in ‘desserts’, let me tell you! The bakers found themselves in a tailspin over the troublesome technical, with a few melting moments turning the baker’s blancmange from a wobbling wonder to a weeping wet thing- luckily some bakers had the biscuits to redeem themselves, even just a little bit! After that I probably wouldn’t attempt a blancmange, as I wouldn’t subject my parents to what they’d say should only be reserved for school dinners (or, in my Mum’s case, the dog should eat it and throw it up later!).. but I’d be tempted to make the biscuits, as they looked delicious and (to be fair) everything sounds better in French!

For the bakers final challenge, the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were asked to make a dessert with a twist. What was the twist, I hear you ask? The twist, eager reader, was that the baker’s chosen dessert had to be hidden by a magnificent chocolate globe which the baker’s would melt (using a sauce) to reveal their dessert. Yes, it was as exciting as I make it sound! This challenge brought my stress levels (and my chance of catching diabetes through my TV screen, which I’m glad isn’t a thing) up a lot as the bakers raced to create their chocolate masterpieces. Due to the troublesome nature of chocolate, and the fact that the UK was enjoying a heatwave at the time (so writing this post looking out at a grey sky and crazy wind is even more depressing), some of the bakers found themselves in trouble- with some desserts melting before the big reveal. Other bakers triumphed in this challenge, especially in making me really hungry for chocolate and dessert…at the same time!

The result

When it came to the reveal this week, Rahul stepped down as Star Baker (for now) in favour of another man- ‘Dan The Man’, who wowed the judges and earned himself yet another Hollywood Handshake.

Of course, that wasn’t the shock of the episode. Terry, who has given varied performances so far, was too ill to compete this week. As well as meaning the episode wasn’t full of comedy gold, this had an affect on the end result as nobody (yes, nobody) went home.

This meant that the girls (mainly Karen and Briony, though Kim-Joy was in a compromising position pre-Showstopper) could breath a sigh of relief….and make sure they work extra hard next week not to be the Baker (or Bakers!) to go home!

I think, judging by this week, there’s going to be a male winner this year (the first since Series 3’s winner John Whaite). Although, anything could happen between now and the final- it’s so exciting!

Next week, the Bakers are ‘spicing up their lives’ with the tent’s first ever Spice Week.

This week, I went back to basics with butterfly wing cakes so the recipe will be up on Sunday!

What did you think of the episode?

Chocolate brownies

Hey guys!

I’m back with another baking post! It’s not as exciting as last week’s (with Rocky road and flapjacks, you guys were spoiled!) but- I promise you- they’re just as delicious.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made Chelsea buns and more ‘savoury’ bakes before (The small amount of Food Tech I did at school taught me plenty of uses for pre-made pastry, and that tuna pasta belongs in the bin!) that would’ve suited this week’s Bake Off– Bread Week (read my thoughts HERE)- to a T but- until I learn and get better- my strength is in sweets.

Anyway, enough rambling. This week, I decided to make brownies- considering the fact that I couldn’t go to my friend’s house empty handed and they sort of expect this from me now. They were so simple to make and, in the end, they were a crowd pleaser.

The brownies only took a short time to make (about as long as it takes to gather and combine ingredients plus the 20 minutes cooking time) so, if you do find yourself making them, you have plenty of time to relax, put your feet up and (maybe) catch up on the latest episode of Bake Off (just a suggestion).

Here’s how to make these beauties:

Ingredients

140g soft brown sugar

2 large eggs

100g butter

150g chocolate

80g flour

20g cocoa powder

(Feel free to add whatever extra ingredients you wish. Maybe salted caramel or your favourite chocolate).

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 170/180 and line a square tin with baking parchment

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water then leave to cool.

3. Whisk together the butter and sugar until the mix is pale and, when you lift your mixer, it leaves a trail (pale and leaves a trail, I’m sure you’ll remember that!)

4. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold carefully

5. Add the flour and cocoa powder (using a sieve) and fold carefully. (You can leave the cocoa powder out and add more flour and chocolate but I just felt that the cocoa powder added to the taste and the brownies were really rich and fudgy). Transfer the mix into the prepared tray.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or at least until the brownies are soft in the middle but (obviously) cooked through. (Of course you can adjust your baking time to suit how fudgy/not fudgy you want the brownies to be). Leave to chill then, once chilled, cut into slices and serve.

Here’s how they turned out:

In other news, I was nominated for a Sunshine Blog Award. I had no clue what that was but thankfully my nominee Miss Blogs-A-Bit explained. So, as well as this rambling recipe post, I’ve included my answer to 11 questions set by the blogger who nominated me, plus I’ll leave my questions for my nominees (get all that?). Also a big BIG thank you to the blogger who nominated me- it’s such a surprise considering the amount of time I’ve been blogging for but I’m glad that my content is viewed positively already. The nomination made my day!

Here’s the rules:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog

– Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you

– Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions

– List the rules and display the award’s logo in your post and/or on your blog

So, here’s the questions I was asked:

1. Do you collect anything – what is it and why?

I used to collect Disney Tsum Tsums (little stackable Disney toys) but then I sort of realised they were going to take up too much room if I continued!

My friends and sister contributed a lot to that collection though, as they all know how much I love Disney.

2. What was it that made you step into the world of blogging?

A few things. First off, a journalist did a talk at my uni once and said- in order to be a writer of whatever kind (which I’d love to!)- you have to a. Say ‘yes’ to things and b. Take opportunities. So I guess I took his advice, and my own initiative, and took the opportunity to blog. Also, I have wanted to blog for a long time and, for a while now (I’m very stubborn!), I’ve said I’d start blogging. My third year at uni (which starts very soon) was a big factor in my decision to blog. I thought about a way to take myself away from the stress might just be by documenting the stress! Plus, when I finish third year and I have to start being an ‘adult’ (ew) I thought that this might be a good platform for potential employers to get to know me/ this would be a good platform for me to showcase my writing skills.

3. Where in the world would you most like to travel to?

A few places! Paris, Budapest, Berlin, Venice, I’d love to see more of America and Spain. Mainly I think the places I’d like to travel to are quite romantic and couple oriented- so I might have to wait a while!

4. Do you tend to plan your blog posts far in advance or are you quite spontaneous?

I think, unfortunately, the nature of my blog (so far) means I have to plan ahead. I have to make sure I record my then and there response to Bake Off and I’ve also got to be careful to be precise on my recipe posts! When I do move to talking about uni and books, I can see the posts becoming more spontaneous.

5. Which famous person would you most like to meet and why?

I’d really like to meet Chris Pratt. He seems really funny and cool in real life so I’d love to see if he’s the same away from all the spotlights!

(Plus he’s nice to look at)

6. Which of your own posts is your favourite so far?

Wow, that’s like picking a favourite child! I guess my favourite post is my very first one on Bake Off (and my first post ever). It showcases what I love plus it showed me and the readers who I am and how I write- which I liked and hope people do, too!

7. What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is losing people. Even though it’s inevitable and I can deal with being alone, it scares me that one day I won’t have the connection I used to.

(Plus my small scale fears are clowns, balloons (only when they pop) and (I’ve grown out of this) people dressed in costumes).

8. What is your idea of a perfect weekend?

No early get up (which I always seem to ignore, even on weekends). Probably brunch with family or friends, then either going out to do something or staying in to watch TV/a movie. Or…baking!

9. Would you ever go on a reality TV show?

Although it’d be a great way to plug my blog/ inspiration for a book, I couldn’t think of anything worse!

10. If you were reincarnated as an animal, which one would you like to be?

Good question! I guess I’d be a dog because, considering I have one, I know they eat, sleep and play all day and don’t have to worry about anything!

11. Which one beauty item could you not live without?

It sounds stupid but something like Carmex. I get awful chapped lips at the best of times so it’s always good to have one handy!

Plus it smells great.

Here’s my 11 questions and 11 bloggers I want to nominate:

1. Who’s your blogging inspiration?

2. What did you want to be when you were younger?

3. What’s one food item you can’t live without?

4. Do you prefer sweet or savoury?

5. Best book you ever read?

6. Worst book you ever read?

7. Have you ever had a baking/cooking disaster?

8. What famous faces would you invite to a dinner party?

9. What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

10. What’s your favourite Gordon Ramsay meme?

11. Where do you want to go with your blog?

My nominations are: Aimys Antics|Awkward for Days| With Lujain| Imogen Chloe| Ruth in Revolt|Put the World to Writes| Makeup by Beth| Everyday Empowering | Lorna Cole| Emily K Burr and Bearded Igor

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the next episode of The Great British Bake Off . So, stay tuned!

Have any of you been baking this weekend/ do any of you have any suggestions for what I should make next?

The Great British Bake Off Week 3

The Great British Bake Off kicked off two weeks ago and, let me tell you, it’s been exciting! There’s been a dodgy looking biscuit baby, a French contestant dropping an ‘F’ bomb (on British TV? Before the watershed? Shocking, I know) and three Hollywood handshakes (so far).

(You can read my thoughts on Week One HERE     and my thoughts on Week Two HERE)

The bakers faced Bread Week this week, the week where Paul Hollywood (whose specialty is bread, don’t you know) was extra intense and, well, judgy!

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE THREE, AHEAD!

(Are you bready {get it} for this?)

The bakers

This week it was all about the boys for me, as I was impressed with Rahul (not just because he ‘bakes to make new friends’, which is adorable and relatable!), Terry (partly, who’d have thought it?) and Dan- who earned another Hollywood handshake (are Paul’s hands not getting a bit overworked at the moment?).

One thing I wasn’t too impressed with was Karen’s choice of headwear. I mean, I’m all for ‘you do you’ and those positive mantras but it just felt like her OTT beret was, I don’t know, compensating for what proved (I will stop with the unintentional baking puns eventually) to be a less than noteworthy performance?

The challenges

The first challenge for Bread Week, the Signature, saw the bakers make Chelsea buns. Now I’ve made these in school before (a longggggg time ago!), so they didn’t seem as frightening to me as many of the challenges in the tent usually do.

Saying that, there was a lot of kneading and proofing…not to mention the flavours had to be on point. Plus, worst of all, Paul and his icy blue eyes (I reckon they’re contacts, really) were watching the bakers very intently- so intently Ruby even called him a ‘bear’ at one point (imagine the camera panning out to the vast British ‘outside of the tent’ to find Paul scratching himself on a tree).

The first challenge produced varying results: Chelsea buns heaving with hearts, bright buns and even some without sugar!

For their second challenge, the Technical, the bakers were asked to make a batch of non-yeast Garlic naans (which, even in their worst states, still made me feel peckish!). As with the Technicals, this produced varied results with some a disaster and others (like Terry’s, very surprising indeed!) a triumph. They looked delicious and, with a curry, they’re delightful but- based on that challenge alone- they’re not on my ‘to-bake’ list (and won’t be anytime soon).

The baker’s final challenge, the Showstopper, was a tiered Korovai. After a good Google (plus Sandi’s handy-dandy explanation bit they have to put in just for us), I figured out that it’s an Eastern European sweet bread, traditionally baked for weddings and other celebrations. This challenge produced a lot of different bread based treats, such as Kim-Joy’s ameowising cat wedding cake (her bakes are just adorable, I want her to sell them on Etsy!), Dan’s intricate flowery cake and Ruby’s almondy offering.

The result

When it came to the reveal this week, Rahul was crowned Star Baker for the second week (though I don’t think he’d recovered from the shock of being crowned last week) and though Briony and Karen looked in a precarious position, it was Antony (who called himself the ‘Bollywood baker’, thanks to growing up in India and learning to bake there with his Dad) who left the tent.

The remaining bakers (maybe minus Terry, but I’m going to give him a chance) are all really good this year, so I don’t really know who I’m betting on. The way it’s going, I feel like anyone could surprise us and win this year.

Next week, it’s Pudding Week- which sort of serves as a reminder that cold autumn nights are setting in…

This week, I treated my friends and family to chocolate brownies, so you can expect the recipe up on Sunday.

What did you think of the episode?

Rocky road and flapjacks

Hey guys!

I’m back with another recipe post.

This time, I decided on celebrating the second episode of the current series of The Great British Bake Off (you can read my thoughts on the episode HERE) by making not one but two sweet treats.

To mark the second episode of GBBO, I thought I’d make rocky road (a delicious and simple treat my family and friends always request) and flapjacks (something I’d tried plenty of times before, but never made!).

Both bakes are perfect for quiet nights in, eating with a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate or they’d make the perfect gift (that is if you can keep your hands off them, at least!).

Rocky roads take 20 minutes plus freezing time (they should be chilled for at least 2 hours). The flapjacks take 50 minutes.

Here’s how a few simple ingredients (and some of your sweet time) turn into this:

Ingredients:

200g digestive biscuits (can use other biscuits, e.g. rich tea/shortbread/chocolate digestive biscuits)

135g butter/ margarine

200g chocolate (I used 100g dark, 100g milk. Can use other types if you prefer)

2-3 tbsps golden syrup

100g mini marshmallows (these can be substituted for nuts, fruit or whatever you fancy!)

Icing sugar (to dust)

Method:

1. Line a square tin with baking parchment

2. Place the biscuits in a freezer bag or in a bowl and bash using a rolling pin until they’re broken into a mixture (everything between dust and 50p sized lumps).

3. Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a pan (I usually melt these ingredients in a bowl over a pan of boiling water) until there are no lumps visible. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4. Take the biscuits and marshmallows (plus any additional ingredients you choose to include) and stir into the chocolate mixture until everything is completely covered.

5. Carefully tip the mixture into the lined tin and leave to chill for at least 2 hours.

6. When ready, cut into fingers or squares, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

If that wasn’t enough for you, here’s how a few humble ingredients turn into this:

Ingredients:

100g butter/margarine

100g Demerara sugar

75ml Golden Syrup

A dash of vanilla extract (can use another extract, e.g almond, if you prefer)

250g rolled oats

100g chocolate (can use whatever chocolate you like, I used milk)

(I actually made a few without the chocolate, but I didn’t manage to get a nice enough picture of them unfortunately!)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a square tin with baking parchment.

2. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and heat until melted together.

3. Remove from heat, mix in the oats and your chosen extract

4. Press into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden.

5. Leave to cool until firm (should take about 5 minutes) and then cut into bars. Leave to cool completely.

6. Melt the chocolate and half dip the flapjacks in the chocolate mix. Leave to cool until set, then serve.

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. So, stay tuned!

Have any of you been baking this weekend?

The Great British Bake Off Week 2

The Great British Bake Off returned to our tellies last week (you can find out what I thought about the first episode HERE) and if you couldn’t tell already I was pretty excited!

My sense of excitement was ramped up a notch this week as the baking competition continued, this time with Cake Week (to which my Marble cupcakes I baked last week would’ve been the perfect accompaniment).

As with last week, here’s a breakdown of what happened this week: my thoughts on the bakers, the challenges, the Star Baker and (in the end) the latest Baker to leave the tent.

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE TWO, AHEAD!

The bakers

We were introduced to the latest batch of hopefuls last week and (even though I’m still rusty on a few names) we got to know them more this week.

This week, I was impressed with Ruby (not just because she’s my person in the sweep I mentioned in my first blog post) Dan (something about his recent performance makes me think he might just be one to watch) and Rahul (I think people might be quick to underestimate him but, after last night, I think people might just change their minds!). These bakers all have something in common this week, too, they received the first ‘Hollywood Handshake(s)’ of the series!

(He was giving them out like perfectly sliced individual cakes or, well, handshakes!)

The challenges

This week was Cake Week and the show’s Signature Challenge called for the bakers to create a traybake, essentially a cake baked in a tray only to be cut into 16 slices. This challenge, like most in the Bake Off tent, gave way to a series of different bakes: an Indian Bakewell tart, a Spanish traybake and two tries at a Black Forest inspired bake (only one worthy of the first [of many] Hollywood handshakes).

For the second challenge, the Technical Challenge, the bakers were tasked with making a Gateau Vert. No idea what that is? No, me neither! Basically, if you combine a pistachio flavoured Genoise sponge, a pistachio marzipan and icing made of spinach (yes, spinach)- that, my friends is a Gateau Vert.

Many of the bakers were stumped- with a few starting again, some not getting it right but going for it anyway. Others, like Jon, took it in their stride. It produced varying results, some not green enough, some flat or washed out but also some success.

Not as fiddly as the previous Technical, but I still don’t think I’d give it a go- the thought of a green cake alone makes me feel uneasy!

The final challenge, the Showstopper, saw the bakers create a two tier chocolate collar cake in four hours- during the heatwave…as you do! This involved a chocolate cake encased in an intricate chocolate collar..because regular chocolate cakes are “so last year, darling” (I don’t know who said that, but somebody probably did).

Making these cakes proved as challenging as you’d imagine doing so in the time constraint would be, just with added heat! This heat proved difficult, with masterpieces melting and chocolate not co-operating. In the end, Rahul wowed with his stunning chocolate collar creation and so too did Ruby- both earning the coveted Hollywood handshake!

The result

When it came to the reveal this week, Rahul earned the title of this week’s Star Baker (and I sort of felt like a proud parent). Though Karen and Terry were in a precarious position, it was Luke who left the tent. So, I guess he had to hang up his apron and put on his headphones once again..maybe?

I’m not really sure what this week means for the competition. I had my money on Manon but, now, it actually could be anyone’s game!

Next week, the bakers face Bread Week and I’m (er) totally bready for it!

This week, I made rocky road and flapjacks for watching the second episode with my mates, so you can expect the recipes up on Sunday.

What did you think of the episode?

Marble cupcakes

Hey guys!

It seems apt for me to post this recipe, staring outside at a rather bleak looking Sunday sky, as nothing makes me feel better on the most drab of days than baking.

It also is pretty apt considering, this Tuesday on The Great British Bake Off, it’s Cake Week. So, instead of slaving over the oven for God knows how long trying to attempt a showstopper, why not attempt these marble cakes?

They only require 45 minutes of your time (20 minutes for preparation and 25 for cooking) so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on the latest episode of GBBO (or do whatever other people do!).

Here’s how a few ingredients become this

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

150g (5oz) softened butter

150g (5oz) caster sugar

175g (6oz) self-raising flour

3 medium eggs

50ml warm milk

3 level tbsp cocoa powder, sifted (I had to improvise and use hot chocolate powder as I thought I’d ran out!)

For the frosting:

75g butter, softened

150g icing sugar

For decoration:

1 Malteaser (can sub for whatever chocolate/topping you like, especially if you’ve eaten the packet beforehand!)

Method

1. Preheat your oven (gas 4, 180, 170 fan) and line a muffin tin with cases

2. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the eggs, milk and flour until the mixture is incorporated (I added a dash of vanilla extract to the non-chocolate mixture, feel free to do this or leave it out- depending on your taste)

3. Divide half of the mixture into another bowl, stirring the cocoa powder into one half

4. Using a teaspoon (or two if you’re as clumsy as me!), take small dollops of each mixture and spoon them alternately into the cake cases. Then, take a skewer or the end of a teaspoon and create the marble effect by swirling the mixture together

5. Bake for 25 minutes and leave to cool. Combine the frosting ingredients together and spread as much (or as little) as you’d like on the cooled cakes.

6. Add your chosen decoration and enjoy.

I really hope you give this recipe a try and (if you do) I’d love to see your take on it, I love seeing how people adapt recipes to suit them.

I’ve already shared pictures of them on my Instagram (take a look if you haven’t seen them already), but here’s how mine turned out.

(I couldn’t get a picture of the inside as I, and everyone I gave them to when we watched GBBO, ate them far too quickly…which is hopefully a good thing!)

That’s me for now but, as always, stay tuned for my post on this week’s The Great British Bake Off!

Have any of you been baking this weekend?

The Great British Bake Off Week 1

Ah it’s that time again! Nothing is more British (and more enjoyable, for me at least!) than watching 12 people panic over pastries and crumble over Paul Hollywood’s icy stare…(I mean, who wouldn’t?!).

 

The Great British Bake Off is back for its ninth series (its second at its new home, Channel 4), which means we’re set for a few weeks of cake (and pastry and bread, of course) delights, frights and plenty of baking based banter.

(Can you tell I’m excited?!)

As a self confessed super fan (at least if watching every season, sometimes at least twice, and owning my very own Great British Bake Off apron- cheers Mum and Dad!- qualifies as super fan!), I thought I’d give you a breakdown of what happens each week plus my thoughts on the contestants, the bakes, the Star Baker and (in the end) the latest to leave the tent.

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE ONE, AHEAD!

The bakers

(I got Ruby in the annual Great British Bake Off sweep with my friends, so I guess if I had to pick someone to root for I guess it’d be her!).

A brand new baker’s dozen entered the tent and let me tell you I’m excited! It’s early days (obviously) but a few people stood out. As she proved, Manon (a Software Project Manager from London) had Star Baker Potential.  I was also impressed by Briony (a full time parent from Bristol), Dan (also a full time parent, from London) and [surprisingly] Terry (a retired Air Steward from West Midlands).

I sort of love Karen already, too, especially after she (having finished her Signature bake early) sat eating a packet of crisps, completely ignorant of the chaos around her!

The challenges

This week was Biscuit Week and the show began with the Signature Challenge, in which the bakers were tasked with making 24 identical ‘regional’ biscuits. This challenge produced all kinds of different results, including orange blossom flavoured biscuits, biscuits featuring (or at least they were meant to feature) lambs and Yorkshire parkin biscuits finished just in time for a celebratory packet of crisps….as you do!

The second challenge, the Technical Challenge, was actually technical as the baker’s had to make Wagon Wheels. This presented difficulties for a few bakers especially (Antony had never heard of them and Manon, despite coming third in the challenge, had trouble getting her head around the name (settling for ‘wheely wagon’ instead!)) and, to be fair, was amazed by how fiddly this bake was- part of me half expected Paul and Prue to ask the bakers to make the red wrapper from scratch, too!

(Safe to say, if I ever find myself eating a Wagon Wheel, I’ll appreciate the work that goes into it).

The final challenge, the Showstopper, was perhaps one of the hardest (especially this early) in the history of The Great British Bake Off: a biscuit selfie (how current?). This involved several layers of biscuit and icing, in the hope of depicting a memorable moment in the baker’s life. For many of the bakers, this ‘moment’ was a mountain climb (maybe they had to specify this in their application?), but a particularly memorable one was Dan’s: a less than flattering depiction of himself and his first-born child (is it a prawn? is it a pink burrito? is it a…well you decide).

The result

When it came to the nail-biting reveal, Manon (unsurprisingly) gained the accolade of Star Baker- showing the other contestants (and the viewers) she’s the one to watch…for now. Despite failing to complete her marathon (in biscuit form, at least), and failing to cement her place at the top in the other two challenges, Ruby survived the first week of the competition. The unlucky first contestant to leave the tent was Imelda, who failed to wow the judges with her offerings.

Aside from Manon, nobody (so far) screams ‘winner’…just yet. Of course, there are plenty more weeks to go.

Next week, the bakers face Cake Week.

As for me, Cake Week came early as I (expecting cake based challenges this week) baked marble cupcakes for watching the first episode with my mates [Recipe will be uploaded on Sunday, so keep a look-out!].

What did you think of the episode?