September 5, 2018 9:06 am Leave your thoughts
Did you ever think, during this summer’s heatwave: ‘I wonder if the Bake-Off contestants are trying to bake in this heat?’. Well, it turns out they were. On ‘one of the hottest days the Bake-Off tent has ever known’, the now-11 contestants were asked to produce tray-bakes, a spinach-infused Gateau Vert and a beautifully scuplted showstopper. Under their chocolate collars, they sweated tears of pure ganache.
‘No-one in their right mind’ would deal with ingredients like these on a day like this, Prue remarked severely. Fortunately for the viewers, sanity bowed out some time ago. The contestants gamely caramelised nuts, spun sugar, swigged pond water, learnt Danish, whipped cream and piped elaborate chocolate shapes onto acetate, while Sandi Toksvig remained cool in an autumnal spotty jumper that probably couldn’t be termed Scandi-chic.
‘Too hot for a goth. I’ll probably melt’ said Noel. Manon blasted her cake with some kind of ice-spray. Dan rushed to and from the freezer. Rahul calculated the precise crystallisation properties of chocolate. Around them, towers collapsed, layers crumbled, dreams crashed to the floor. The ghost of Marie Antoinette stalked the tent – while those of Claude Monet and Gustave Eiffel turned in their graves.
‘I would like to see something I’ve never seen before’ announced Prue – and she didn’t just mean Noel’s choice of shirt. Perhaps Dan’s ‘riff on a Black Forest gateau’ fulfilled her ambition? It certainly earned him a Hollywood handshake.
The real ‘first’, however, came in the Showstopper challenge, when both Rahul and Ruby achieved the coveted handshake: the first time Paul has ever ‘reached out’ like that in that final challenge. Perhaps the heat was getting to him.
This week’s hot ingredients
Keen to try it all out for yourself? NGF has got the top five ingredients you’ll need to recreate this week’s sizzling bakes.
Cardamom: with a gentle aromatic warmth of its own, the bakers went wild for cardamom this week. The seeds of a plant of the ginger family, Rahul had worked out that he needed an exact 25 of them for his bake. At Naturally Good Food we sell organic cardamom, for the best, most subtle flavour.
Natural colour cherries: a deliciously dark Black Forest Gateau would be ruined by garish, insipid supermarket glace cherries. You need our natural colour glace cherries instead, with their deep, rich taste.
Palm sugar: blink and you missed it, but Kim-Joy used delicately fragranced palm sugar to top her exquisitely balanced signature bake. It’s hard to find a sugar with a better flavour – and we stock it by the bagful.
Marzipan: ‘No-one has time to make marzipan’, announced Ruby, ‘You just go and buy it’. Very true. For this reason, Naturally Good Food sells the most incredible, soft, subtly almondy, pale, organic Lubecker marzipan.
Couverture chocolate: you can temper all kinds of chocolate, but most people will seek out couverture chocolate to do so. We’ve got a full range of couverture chocolate – dark, very dark, milk and white, and a dairy-free couverture option too. They give a wonderful glossy finish, a great ‘snap’ and a deliciously smooth melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Who’s in the hot seat?
Rahul was Star Baker this week; Luke had to leave. Who’s hot on their heels?
This year, there seems to be a more even playing field: none of the dangerous flair of last year’s Steven, or the cool, poised determination of Kate. It’s the quiet ones I’d keep my eye on: Kim-Joy for sure – and Anthony, perhaps. And I have to confess to a soft spot for Karen – the unruffled, crisp-eating grandmother. ‘Thank you very much for your feedback’ she informed the judges after the first challenge. Now there’s someone who can take the heat….
NGF Chocolate Almond Cake bake
Rich, moist, divine: those are the things Paul was looking for in a cake this week. We think this recipe fits that bill. Enriched by eggs, with a velvety moistness from the ground almonds, the orange brings out the wonderful flavour of the chocolate.
- 200g dark organic cooking chocolate
- 80g unsalted butter, melted
- 175g organic ground almonds
- Grated zest of one orange
- 6 eggs, separated
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180C, 350F. Grease and line an 18-cm tin and sprinkle with some ground almonds to coat.
- Melt the chocolate with 2 tbsp hot water over a low heat (or in a microwave).
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the almonds, breadcrumbs, melted butter and orange zest, followed by the chocolate.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the almond chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Top with toasted flaked almonds and warm chocolate drizzle, for that extra, show-stopping touch.baking ingredients, cake week, cardamom, cardamon, chocolate, cooking chocolate, couverture chocolate, dairy-free couverture chocolate, GBBO, GBBO2, Great British Bake Off, ground almonds, Lubeca marzipan, Lubecker marzipan, marzipan, natural colour glace cherries, organic baking ingredients, palm sugar
This post was written by Yzanne