Wednesday, 9 September 2015

GBBO 2015: Week 6 Pastry - Raspberry and Almond Frangipane Tart

After the hideous free-from week last week which just went awfully for me, I was happy to see that sweet bakes were back. Pastry week was the one I was looking forward to the most as I have never made pastry and always intended to.
Making pastry was actually easier than I expected. I used this recipe to make 400g worth of pastry.


200g plain flour 
100g butter
1 egg
pinch of salt

First combine the flour, salt and the butter in a mixing bowl using your hands until it resembles bread crumbs. Then add half of the egg in so that the mixture comes together. 

Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

After half an hour, take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out with a rolling pin. My tart tin is not the normal metal type with fluted sides, but a clay one with straight sides which is rather a difficult shape to work with as you can tell from the bodged sides of the pastry in the photos.

I put fork marks on the pastry as I think this is something that you do to pastry. I then placed greaseproof paper in it and some pasta shells on top to weigh it down and this went into a 200 degress celcius oven for fifteen minutes to blind bake. Then I took it out of the oven to remove the greaseproof paper and the pasta and put it back into the oven for another five minutes. 

Once the pastry was out of the oven I started to make the actual cake part of the tart. The frangipane tart I chose to make is a raspberry and almond one. I love frangipane so wasn't too fussed as to what flavour I made but my mom requested a raspberry one. I used this recipe.

100g butter
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
10g plain flour
125g raspberries
1tsp almond extract

This recipe asked for 375g of pastry base but I went with 400g and I'm glad I did as I think any less and it wouldn't have covered the pan.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius - this kept changing as I was baking as my family were cooking dinner at the same time. 
First whisk together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs in one at a time.

Then add in the ground almonds, almond extract and flour.

Lastly, fold in the raspberries into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and put it into the oven for half an hour.

This was so delicious, it tastes like a bakewell tart as I think they are made from frangipane too. My pastry wasn't the best as it was perhaps too thin or had been in the oven too long, but I can improve on this next time I make pastry.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

GBBO 2015: Week 5 Free From - Sugar Free Carrot Cake

This was tough. I have never made anything that is 'free-from' nor ever wanted to really. This carrot cake bake was actually my second attempt at this week's task. First I tried to bake a sugar free sponge cake, but this turned out awful. As in, the cakes came out of the oven closely resembling frisbees as well as tasting god awful. So they went in the bin and I searched for a new recipe to try. This second attempt was more successful than the first, but not by much.
For the sugar free sponge cake I used this recipe, and it produced this;

So this went into the bin where it belonged and I found a new recipe to try. I tried to find a recipe which used ingredients that I already had in the kitchen, as baking a new recipe every week is pretty pricey.
I found this recipe for a sugar free carrot cake on a bbc website, hoping that being from a bbc website it would mean my cake would work.


225g plain flour
4 eggs
175g grated carrot
4tbsp honey
200ml sunflower oil
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt

First preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius so it can heat up while making the cake batter. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, sunflower oil and honey.

Once this is mixed, add in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla essence. Also, grate the carrots and add this into the bowl too. I was confused here as I didn't know if it meant 175g of carrot, then grate or 175g of grated carrot - and yes these actually were two different things I found. I chose to go with 175g of grated carrot.

With all the ingredients in the bowl, stir them all together.

Then, pour this mixture into a cake tin. 

This then needs to go into the oven for an hour the recipe said. My cake was in the oven for longer - perhaps the oven temp is different for a fan oven I don't know - but the inside was still uncooked even as the top of the cake was becoming very dark in colour. 

The recipe I found came with a recipe for the frosting, but as it's main component was icing sugar and I wasn't sure if this was allowed, I altered the recipe slightly. Instead of the icing sugar I just added a ton more cream cheese than stated and added more butter, but I kept to only using 1tsp of vanilla essence. So the frosting you see here is mainly cream cheese. I was trying to drown the cake in frosting so it would taste better.

I won't lie to you, this tasted awful. I don't think it was even the fact that it had no sugar, it was the fact that I had clearly gone wrong somewhere in the recipe. You can tell from the dark colour  and lack of rise of the cake that something is wrong with it. Needless to say, I won't be putting vegetables in my cakes again any time soon. This whole baking week was not a success. Let's hope next week will be better.

Monday, 31 August 2015

GBBO 2015: Week 4 Desserts - New York Baked Cheesecake

In addition to my banana cheesecake I wanted to make a baked cheesecake as well to properly test my cheesecake skills. A popular recipe that I found was for a New York style baked cheesecake, and it also looked relatively simple as I didn't want to try something too adventurous and have it fail - I'm a perfectionist. I used this recipe for my bake.

The first part of the bake is to make the base.


140g plain flour
50g butter
50g golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1tsp baking powder

To make the base, combine the flour, butter, sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl. 

I tried mixing them with a spoon but found it was easier to do it with my hands due to the butter. Once these are combined, add in the egg yolk. 

Then tip the mixture into the cake tin and push it down so that it covers the entire base. I ended up with quite an uneven base as the mixture was difficult to work with. Which is evidenced by the sheer amount of fingerprints you can see in the photo.

This then went in the fan oven at 130 degrees celcius for about 25 minutes. 

While the cheesecake base is cooling, the mixture for the cake part can be made.


900 cream cheese
190 golden caster sugar
4 eggs
1tbsp vanilla bean paste

This part is rather straightforward; simply put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and mix. 

Then, mix in the eggs one at a time. 

With the mixture combined, it is ready to be poured over the base and baked. This recipe asked for the bottom of the cake tin to be wrapped in tin foil and then placed in a deep baking tray so that water can surround the tin - like a very large and very heavy bain marie. I think this is so the inside doesn't overheat or something like that. 

The recipe said to bake in the oven for 40 minutes, however it did not state a change of temperature from when I baked the base, so I left it the same. However this was not hot enough and it took so long to cook. I turned up the oven to about 160 degrees and that started to work. So I really don't know how long it was left in the oven as it took longer than was probably correct. The recipe said that when cooked the top should still have a wobble to it, which was quite hard to judge. 

The cheesecake was cooked by the time I took it out the oven luckily as the wait was actually horrible as I was staring at it in the oven for well over an hour. It didn't have a very strong taste to it, just a mild vanilla taste. I don't think that I would make this particular cheesecake again as I prefer things to have a bit more flavour and this just took so long to bake I don't want to see it again to be honest.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

GBBO 2015: Week 4 Desserts - Banana Cheesecake

Cheesecake has always seemed like an easy thing to make, as it is the dessert of choice for people on shows like Come Dine with Me and Dinner Date. So I wanted to push myself more with this rather than keeping it simple. I decided to make a Banana Cheesecake this week, using this recipe.

The first part to making the cheesecake was to make the biscuit base.


250g Digestive biscuits
150g Butter
30g light Muscovado sugar

First thing is to take the digestive biscuits and smash them into crumbs. When smashing up biscuits, cover them with a tea towel as I am still finding bits of biscuit all over the kitchen days later.

Melt the butter and sugar in a pan and then stir in the biscuit crumbs.

Put the biscuit mixture into the pan and use the back of a spoon to pat it into the base of the tin.

Then, leave the biscuit base to set in the fridge for half an hour.

The next task is to make the actual cake part of the cheesecake.


300g cream cheese
120g golden caster sugar
220g banana
250ml double cream
4 gelatine leaves
70ml orange juice
3 egg yolks

The first thing to do is mashing up the bananas and placing them in a pan with the orange juice and letting it cook on a low heat.

Then when the banana starts to cook, turn the heat off and let the mixture cool.
In a small bowl I put the gelatine leaves in cold water to soak for five minutes - this is just what the packet that I bought instructed, other gelatine packets may differ. Then I stirred the gelatine into the banana mixture, one sheet at a time.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and egg yolks.

In a second bowl, whip the cream. Then fold the cream into the first mixture.

Then pour this combined mixture into the pan with the banana mixture in.

Pour the finished mixture on top of the biscuit base.

I then left the cheesecake to set in the fridge overnight as I don't know exactly how long it takes to set. 
To finish it off, I cut up a banana into slices and put them on the top - my attempt at making it look pretty. 

This cheesecake was so delicious, I could definitely taste the banana in it and the biscuit base was so yummy. Everyone who tried it liked it so I will definitely be making this again.