Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016



So. this week I could not decide which of the three bakes to do, so I did all 3! One, the palmier biscuits, is one I bake every year at Christmas time, we tend to have them for elevenses with a nice glass of fizz as we don’t have ‘dinner’ until around 3ish, but I had never made a sweet one before, so rebel that I am (I think I just hate being told what to do) I made a savoury one and a sweet one too, but true to my like of ‘unusual’ flavours I put my own twist on the sweet ones and made them blackcurrant and liquorice! Bake number 2, the technical, a cake I had never made, was a Savarin, a yeast raised cake with fruit,  cream and alcohol – what’s not to love there.  Then phew the tiny cakes that are a huge effort the fondant fancy – again I had never made these before and now I have made them, I doubt I will ever make them again, such a lot of effort for mediocre results!

Bake number one  –  2 flavours of palmier biscuit 



for the pastry: 150g chilled strong white bread flour
150g chilled plain flour
2 large eggs
100ml cold water
250g chilled butter
for the 1st filling: 200g hard full flavoured cheese (grated)
6-8 rashers of good quality smoked beef or ham (parma style)
1 egg (beaten) or a splash of milk
for the second filling:  1 tspn liquorice powder
small dot of purple food
½ tspn blackcurrant flavour
1 tbspn brown sugar (I used natural coconut sugar)
1 tbspn granulated sugar
1 tbspn demerara sugar


1. Put the flours, salt, eggs and water into a large bowl and gently bring together to form a  dough, with your fingers. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for around 5 minutes until smooth and a little dry. Shape  into a ball and put it into a plastic bag (lightly floured or greased with an oil spray) place the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

2. Flatten the block of butter into a rectangle, approx.  30 x 19cm, by battering it down with a rolling pin (you might find this easier to do  if you put the butter between 2 sheets of cling film). Return to the fridge for an hour to harden.

3. Roll out your dough to a rectangle, (about 45 x 20cm), put the butter on the dough so it covers the bottom two-thirds. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and covers almost to the edges.  img_1302

4. Lift the exposed dough at the top and fold it down so it covers half of the butter, then fold the butter laden bottom half of the dough up over the top (single fold).  Gently flatten the edges together to seal. Put it back in a plastic bag and chill for 1 hour.

5. Put the dough on a floured board with a short end towards you. Roll out to a rectangle as before, keeping the edges as even as possible. Fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet neatly in the centre. Then fold the dough in half along the centre line (a book fold). Chill in the bag for a further 1 hour.

6. Repeat the single turn twice more, chilling for an hour in-between again. Then leave the pastry in the fridge overnight. Your flakey pastry is now ready to use.  please note that if you are adding an extra ingredient (for example the liquorice powder)  as I did then you will need to add it in one of these final 2 single folds. Simply sprinkle the powder to lightly cover the pastry after rolling out but before folding over.

7. Roll out the plain pastry to a neat rectangle around the thickness of a £1/€1 coin.  Fold the pastry over and flatten back out again, to give a well marked centre line. Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the dough right up to the edges.  Then cover with your meat, trying not to leave any big gaps. Then, simply roll up the two long ends into the middle, gently pulling back slightly on each turn to keep it nice and tight.  Put in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

8. Roll out the liquorice dough to the same thickness.  In a small pot mix the colour, the flavouring and a teaspoon of water and using a small brush, cover the pastry lightly all over with the paste.  Sprinkle on the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and simply roll the long end up nice and tightly to form a pin wheel. Chill for 20 minutes.img_1310

9.  Preheat the oven to 190/180°C fan.  Remove the pastry logs from the fridge, glaze lightly with beaten egg or milk and cut into approx 1cm thick slices, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for approx 15-20 minutes until golden and fluffy.

TIP –  use a straight edged, very sharp knife to cut the slices with and avoid pressing down on the pastry itself.  If making 2 different flavours I recommend using 2 sets of utensils (rolling pin, knife etc) to avoid contamination of one with the other.  Liquorice powder can  be obtained from most health food shops or baking suppliers.

I was quite disappointed with my blackcurrant and liquorice whirls as they looked amazing before going in the oven but unravelled a lot whilst baking, but my they tasted amazing and I will most certainly be making them again.  I made some nice thin ones too, which I have popped in the freezer in readiness for in about 3 weeks I am making a firework cake and these will look great as ‘catherine’ wheels.  The cheese I used for my elephants’ ears is a rather special one, it contains our own co-operatives organic milk and is not available to buy in the UK, but made entirely for the USA market, so we were pleased to be sent some as a thank you from our milk board.   I used  mature cheddar with caramelised onions.img_1306

And I’m just going to leave this her, whoop, whoop I got awarded star baker ⭐️ this week for my parmiers.


Bake number 2  –  the technical challenge



I used Paul Hollywoods’ recipe for the actual cake and obviously put my own twist on it with the inclusion of apple and blackberry (well, why would you pay for imported fruit when you have loads of lovely, free and organic autumnal fruit right outside the back door?!?!?).  Still, did give me an excuse for a shopping trip though, as I did not own a large enough savarin/bundt tin; I do now!

for the savarin: 350g/12oz plain flour
50g/1¾oz caster sugar
10g/¼oz instant yeast
3 tbsp milk
6 eggs
180g/6oz butter, at room temperature
1 large orange and/or lemon, finely grated zest only
for the syrup: 200g/7oz caster sugar
1 large lemon, juice only
100ml/3½fl oz flavoured liqueur or rum
for the chocolate disc: 50g/1¾ oz good quality plain chocolate
30g/¾oz white chocolate
for the decoration: 4 medium sized cooking apples
large handful of blackberries
1 pot (300 ml/ 10fl oz) double or whipping cream

1.  In a food processor, set with a standard beater, combine the flour, sugar and yeast. Place the milk and eggs together in a large jug, lightly beat and then pour into the flour mixture and beat  on medium for about 3 minutes to make a thick, sticky batter.img_1303
2.  Chop the soft butter into small pieces and gradually add to the batter, on  low speed, beating until the mixture is smooth, elastic and shiny. Finally fold in the orange and/or lemon zest. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a clean shower cap) and leave to rise for around 1 hour.
3.   In the meantime, make the syrup. Place the sugar, lemon juice, and 1o0ml water into a pan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum or liqueur and leave to cool.
4. Now make the chocolate disc, temper the plain chocolate by melting approx three-quarters of the chocolate over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Stir until the chocolate reaches a melting temperature of 50C. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining chocolate and stir until it’s cooled to 31C.
5.  Spoon into a piping bag 5cm/2in (ish) oval disc onto a sheet of baking paper and leave to set. Melt the white chocolate and put into another piping bag and pipe the word ‘Savarin’ onto the plain chocolate disc.
6.  Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter. When the batter has risen, spoon it into the tin and try to smooth down evenly. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it reaches three-quarters of the way up the tin.img_1311
7.  Make the compote.  Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces put into a saucepan with the sugar and boil down to a pulp.  Turn off the heat and stir though the blackberries, retaining some nice plump ones for decoration.  Leave to cool.                                                      8.  Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. remove the cling film and bake for 20–30 minutes  until the savarin is risen and golden-brown. Remove from oven and place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 5–10 minutes.
9.  When just cooled enough to handle, carefully remove the savarin from the tin and pour half of the syrup into the tin. Gently place the savarin back into the tin on top of the syrup; pour ½ of the remaining syrup slowly onto the top of the savarin and leave to fully cool.  Put the remaining syrup onto a bowl or plate with sides and tip the cake out onto this so that this final syrup soaks into the bottom of the savarin for around 10 mins.  Carefully transfer to a serving plate.
10.  Whip the cream, until  peaks form when the whisk is removed (you can add a little icing sugar and/or vanilla if you wish). Spoon one-third of the cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Set both creams aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
11.  Fill the cavity of the savarin with ½ of the cream in the bowl, then ½ of the compote, then repeat with the remaining cream and fruit puree.  Decorate around the upper edges with cream stars, and do a small row of cream stars at the base of the cake (for the chocolate oval).  Decorate with some nice apple slices and the blackberries.  You could also use up any remaining chocolate over the top (just gently remelt in the microwave if you have microwaveable bags).

This cake was amazing, definitely  will be making it again, tasty, light and at the same time rich and gooey with the cream and fruit dressing.  

Bake number 3  –  Fondant Fancies



I love fondant fancies, but had never made them before, as I knew that they were a fiddly faff, and not easy to get looking good.  Yup, too much like hard work for me, for a tasty bake, but, in my opinion not worth all the time and effort.  I followed Mary Berry’s own recipe virtually to the letter (that’s good going for me) .


For the sponge 200g/7oz self-raising flour
30g/1oz ground almond
225g/8oz softened butter
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
small tube of freeze-dried raspberry pieces
for the buttercream250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
200g/7oz icing sugar
flavouring (raspberry and pear) and colouring (green and blue)
icing and decoration 500g/1lb 10z white fondant icing (or coloured icing if you have it)
150ml/5fl oz water
food colouring (any colour)
flavouring (any flavouring)
small sprinkles and/or almonds and/or glitter

1.  Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and fully line a 20cm/8in square tin with two strips of parchment paper. (one for the plain sponge the other for the raspberry one)
2.  In a food processor, beat together all the sponge ingredients until smooth. Tip half the cake mixture into one side of the tin; stir the raspberry pieces into the remaining mix and pour that into the other side and tap the tin lightly to level out.
3.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool the cake  in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.  Leave the cake overnight (in a tin) to cool fully and firm slightly (or alternatively place in the freezer for a few minutes until chilled but not frozen). This will ensure that the sponge is as firm as it can be ready for the decoration.
4.  Make the buttercream. Beat together the softened butter and icing sugar in a bowl until lighter in colour, fluffy and smooth.  Separate into 2 bowls and add food colouring and flavours.
5.  Cut the cake into 16 equal squares (each 5cm/2 in square). You may need to cut off the edges if they have rounded and pulled away from the sides of the tin – all the edges should be straight and neat. Cover the top and four sides of each square with it’s matching buttercream.  Best to use a small, angled  palette knife to get the finish as smooth as possible.  Put in the fridge for around 30 mins for the buttercream to firm up.
6.  Cut the fondant icing into small cubes. Place in a sturdy free-standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Churn the icing until it starts to break down, adding a splash of water if it’s too hard. Very gradually add the water – the icing will become smooth and more liquid .  Add flavouring and food colouring to taste.

7.  Take the cakes out of the fridge and place one onto a fork. Dip each square into the icing one at a time and carefully set onto a cooling rack, with parchment or a tray underneath to catch the drips. Try not to get finger prints on them – for this reason it is best to insert the fork at an angle so that you can slide the cake off onto the cooling rack easily (again your palette knife should come in handy here).
8.  Leave the fondant to set, at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Decorate to make them look pretty and then eat!

TIPS  –  When spreading on the butter cream and also for the fondant too its a good idea to have a small jug of hot water handy, and a clean dry towel, dip the palette knife in the water, dry off and the residual heat will ‘melt’ the icing making it as neat as possible.  My other top tip is go out and BUY them! Oh, yeah, remember when using strong colours wear food prep gloves!img_1327

So that is the end of this weeks homage to GBBO, a long one I know, me thinks we might be putting a little weight on this week, thank goodness there’s just the last one to go (not really, am dreading having to wait nearly a year for the next one, and await the new format with trepidation!)

If you would like to follow the bakes for this week and the final next week then check out our hostess Jenny’s site Mummy’s Mishaps where you will see all the other bakes related to the Great British Bake Off 2016.   image



10 thoughts on “Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016

  1. wow how do you find the time? that is some going to do all 3 bakes! First off I LOVE the sound of the blackcurrant and liquorice palmiers what a great flavour combo. And I love that you made your own pastry for both types. Your Savarin sounds tasty too. I thought Fondant fancies were def too fiddly for me, so again I applaud you for giving them ago xx

    Liked by 1 person

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