The Great British Bake Off – week 7

It’s week 7, with 7 bakers left. And it’s sweet doughs this week. Signature challenge is buns, most bakers seem to fancy the Chelsea bun, or a variety thereof. Now, I’d never been a fan of Chelsea buns, there’s something about the raisins that I just don’t like. Until I went to Fitzbillies in Cambridge earlier this year and had the best Chelsea buns, they were delicious!

This episode is going to be pun-tastic, right? Sue’s already had some terrible ones… But seeing all these buns being made, I want some buns. I’m personally quite partial to a nice cinnamon bun. I wonder if our friends we’ll be going to see this weekend would care for some homemade buns…

Cathryn’s buns look lovely, but did Danny put a glacé cherry on top of her gorgeous Bakewell-type buns? Or is it a normal cherry? If it’s a glacé one, then no no no no no, awful…

So, doughnuts originate in Holland. I did not know that and Mel’s pronunciation of the Dutch word was so bad, I don’t think I could tell what it was. After looking on Wikipedia, I learned that they meant ‘oliekoek‘ or ‘oliebol‘, the latter is a tasty and traditional sweet snack you eat on New Year’s Eve with masses of powdered sugar! I have made many an oliebol in my time, with varied success. It’s so difficult to get them right as you run the risk of them being really greasy or too doughy and undercooked.

Some of these doughnuts are absolutely huge! And I think Sarah-Jane is in trouble…

On to the showstopper. Loaves! Oooooh, I love making enriched dough loaves. Every year, without fail, I make stollen. And that’s probably what I would’ve made if it was me in the kitchen. I have an amazing recipe for a non-marzipan stollen. I love the soft marzipan, but MrFoxybakes hates it. I found a recipe which uses apricots and nuts and then the dough gets mixed with white chocolate, apricots, raisins, currants and nuts. It’s amazing. And Sarah-Janes loaf sounds amazing too; cherry, chocolate and marzipan. Yum! And Brendan, yet again, is King of 70s retro baking.

And two people will be leaving. I wonder who… I think Brendan will win the whole thing, as he’s been baking so well and so consistently. I think Ryan and Sarah-Jane will go. But then again, maybe John.

Yay, for Danny as star baker, makes a change. And I was right, Sarah-Jane and Ryan. Damn, I had Sarah-Jane down as a finalist in the first few weeks, but she’s not been baking great these past weeks.



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…

First photo of the cake

Wedding cake

Wedding cake

Thanks to my friend E, here’s a first glimpse of the wedding cake. It’s not perfect, but it was delicious. People went back for seconds, thirds and sometimes even fourths. More photos to follow later when I have my brain back again after a wonderful, yet tiring, weekend.


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!



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…