We're loving 2018 Great British Bake Off, and We love a challenge!
Week One: BISCUIT WEEK
Traditionally the first week is Cake Week, but this year it went biscuity. The signature bake challenge was to bake a batch of a 'regional biscuits', so Louise baked Bristol Biscuits.
These raisin and cinnamon biscuits need cassia oil, which was ordered from Health4All if you need your own supply. Make sure you get the edible version and not the massage oil!!
Cassia oil has a lot of health benefits, apparently, including being an aid to circulation, an anti-depressant, and something which supposedly helps with diarrhoea and sickness. Essentially, it's a Chinese cinnamon oil, distilled from the steaming of the leaves and bark.
The biscuits were easy to make (recipe available here), but it was quite a wet mix, not great for shaped cookies. The biscuit fingers came out best. They are soft, not a crunchy biscuit, quite like a light shortbread. Bristol Biscuits are also called 'Easter Biscuits' so Louise made them extra Easter-like by drizzling some green icing on top.
As for the taste, they're just like a cinnamon biscuit, but without the colouration the powdered spice can bring. Louise says "I'm glad I've finally be able to bake them - living in Bristol, if felt like I really had to sometime!"
Week Two: CAKE WEEK
Our favourite week! This week saw traybakes feature as a signature challenge. Louise has baked a cherry tray bake, and made it a little fancier. They're named 'Patricia's', after her Grandma, who loved cherry cake.
Don't they look delicate?
Week Three: BREAD WEEK
Always a good week in the tent, this series saw a signature bake of Chelsea Buns. Criticism from the judges on the show were things like 'over baked', 'under proved' and 'not enough filling'... Louise says she sympathises with all of these!
Her first ever attempt at Chelsea Buns wasn't bad at all, but she rolled the dough too thick so they took longer to bake, the dough didn't rise when proving, and Louise ran out of currants - but saved it with some cherries, yay!
What do you think?
Week Five: SPICE WEEK
Spice week's signature bake was a ginger cake.
"This one was a lot of fun," says Louise, "and I love a spiced cake! My hand slipped on the cinnamon, but the cake wasn't any worse for it." She admits the photo's not great - tiredness and being sick of cleaning up sloppy buttercream to blame! - but you get the idea. The cake was moist and sticky, definitely one we're adding to our repertoire at 280 Bakes.
Bake the cake Louise did by following this recipe - with or without the extra cinnamon! Louise doubled the recipe to make a three sponge tower, and made the caramel buttercream a toffee flavour instead - warning, it was a bit sloppy. Top tip is to make the buttercream as thick as possible but still spreadable to get defined butercream filling and tidier outside decoration (butercream and crumbed ginger biscuits).
Week Six: PASTRY WEEK
Now, this was always going to be interesting. Louise has never (!!) made pastry before, and certainly not filo pastry. The veggie samosa recipe from BBC Good Food looked good, so she went with that one... Delicious, but definitely not fine filo pastry!
Batch two, Louise used shop-bought filo for apple pie samosas. Trading the raisins for super seed mix (chia, etc.), they were a great pudding last night. You can see the difference in pastry!
"I'll be much more likely to make my own shortcrust pastry in the future now, having seen how easy that type can be," says Louise, "but I'm definitely still going to buy ready-made filo!"
Week Seven: VEGAN WEEK
We've been hoping for a vegan GBBO week since we've been in business - yay! Louise said her heart sank a little when the signature bake was pastry for the second week in a row, but she rose to the challenge of baking a vegan shortcrust pie.
This is a recipe from Coconut and Berries, a "Cheesy" Leak and Broccoli Pie. "I left out the arrowroot," says Louise "as I couldn't get any in time, and added some garlic onion granules for extra flavour. It was so yum, I love the creamed cashews!".
Week Eight: DANISH WEEK
Rye Bread - that was the signature bake this week. Louise says her bread never proves properly so this was always going to be a bit of a dodgy bake! The bread tasted good, but the open sandwich could have been more posh, compared to the ones on the show... Love a bit of jam! Here's Louise having brunch in her sunny garden.
Week Nine: PATTISERIE WEEK
"I don't have a Madeline tin so this one is on hold for the time being!" ~ Louise
Week Ten: THE FINAL!!!
Mmmm… Doughnuts! Stay tuned to see how Louise got on with making doughnuts from scratch!
Did you try any of the signature bakes from this year's Bake Off? We'd love to hear about how you got on!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!