Ohhhh it’s so good to be back here. It’s been a whole year since the first time I ever kicked off the bake off bake along on Cate in the Kitchen, knowing that this series is going to gently carry us through into autumn and leave us firmly in front of Christmas makes me happier than I can put into words. Ala and Amanda are once again hosting us all so I want to first say a huge thank you to them, it was so much fun to take part in 2015 and I predict much of the same for this year.
I’ll be approaching this blog series in pretty much exactly the same way as I did last year. A quick summary of my thoughts on that weeks show, followed by how I attempted one of the featured bakes. Even when a recipe is my own, I won’t be writing it up here (unless it’s unmissably outstanding) because I want to focus away from recipe development and hone in on the story of each bake. However, I will always direct you to recipes I used elsewhere on the web, and send you to the right pages of books, I’m not a total dick. Let’s go.
- The first thing to note: we have not found ourselves a Tamal replacement, have we. I’m sure I’ll grow to love each baker as I get to know them better, but I’ve not been struck by the love at first sight that I (and the rest of the internet) were subject to last year.
- I haven’t remembered her name just yet, but I’m obsessed with the Granny who does a weird at-the-counter version of aerobics while she bakes, she is 100% me in 50 years.
- Who on earth attempts a spherical cake that’s supposed to look like an orange in the first round on the first day? Brave girl.
- I almost cried every time somebody had to restart their genoise sponge.
- I’m like 83% sure that I will never ever attempt a mirror glaze.
As you can already tell, I went with jaffa cakes to kick off #bakeoffbakealong. Why? Three reasons. The first was that if I went with a drizzle cake, this post would feel too similar, I fear, to my madeira from last year. The second was because jaffa cakes are mad cheap to make, like mad cheap. The third: I have a friend I’m quite fond of who really really likes jaffa cakes. He didn’t get any in the end because he did something annoying so I ate them all, but the thought was there initially.
Let me just set the scene. It’s Saturday, it’s definitely somewhere over the twenty degree mark outside and inside is way hotter because I’ve already made a million naan breads and some chicken wings today. It’s hot, but I’m perfectly happy in my floaty dress (which is my favourite and I’ve worn it far too much all summer, you can see a teensie bit of it in the shot above) listening to Bomba Estereo a little too loudly. I read through the recipe for jaffa cakes properly for the first time since scanning it to work out what I needed to buy and breathe out a sigh of relief. This is really easy.
The first step is to make really, really strong jelly and then let it set in the fridge. A small hiccup for me at this point was my lack of anything functional in my home. All the baking trays are wonky and the fridge is tilted, so I ended up with a not at all uniform slab of jaffa jelly. Thankfully, I didn’t need anywhere near as much as the recipe called for, so when the time came I was able to pick and choose my cutting area to ensure consistent jelly disk thickness across all the jaffa cakes.
The cakey bit of jaffa cakes is so easy. Whisk a little bit of sugar with an egg quite vigorously until pale and fluffy, then very very gently fold in flour, and tip into heavily greased shallow cake pan. I got through this step with relative ease, but was met with a snag when it came to the tipping into the pan part.. Somehow (and I still have no idea how) I just didn’t have enough mixture for 12. I managed 10. If you can think of why this is, please let me know in the comments because I’m still confused!
They bake for just under 10 minutes and come out looking something like the above. I was super nervous about getting them out of those little holes, but letting them cool for about 10 minutes and gently easing them out with a knife meant a clean break for each one.
I couldn’t resist using heart shaped cutters for the jelly discs even though nobody would know when they ate them..
I did not wait long enough for the chocolate to cool before putting it on top. At this point, I had grown impatient. This is my problem with baking guys, I have zero patience for all the waiting around between steps. This is what explains my messier-than-most presentation on the finished result.
They taste.. well, er.. they taste like jaffa cakes. Jaffa cakes without the bizarre dry syntheticness you can expect for something that needs to sit on a shelf for months on end. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these again, and I’m hatching plans to make one giant one at some point too..
What do you reckon? What did you think of bake off this week? Talk to me.