Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bake off is back!!

I'm thrilled that The Great British Bake Off has returned to our TV screens – just in time to fill that gaping hole left by the BBC’s superb coverage of the Olympics.

It’s early stages, but who is your favourite competitor so far? I know who my least favourite is – I'm sorry but tomatoes shouldn’t go on top of a cake. Fact.

Due to an unexpected excitement towards the Olympics, I haven’t blogged since June. I've just been too distracted and watching all those athletes with their incredibly toned bodies made me think about cutting down on my cake.

I say think about, I didn’t actually do it   and now that Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the King and Queen of baking, have returned, I will be back in the baking bubble in no time.

If you haven’t seen this show, you must. It got the entire country going baking mad last year with shops seeing huge sales increases in baking products.

The fantastic thing about it is that we get to know the bakers' personalities – they're just ordinary people who bake for fun in their own homes.

It becomes an obsession and last year I found myself thinking about what cakes I would make if I were on the show all the time – I dare you not to want to get straight in the kitchen when it finishes.

If you do, try these easy cake recipes to get you going. The star cakes were done recently for a wedding – they are lemon sponge and the recipe is here  just add the juice of one lemon to the sponge mixture and the juice of half a lemon to the buttercream.  

The banana and walnut muffins are really easy and make great breakfast snacks.

The Great British Bake Off is on Tuesdays, 8pm, BBC2.

Banana and walnut muffins

175g/6oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g/6oz sugar (half light muscovado, half golden caster)
75g/2½oz chopped walnuts
2 medium-sized eggs
175g/6oz self-raising flour
3 medium-sized over ripe bananas, or 2 large
A drop of vanilla extract
Some demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and weigh out your ingredients. Then put muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin baking tin.
Beat the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer or a wooden spoon until light and coffee-coloured.
Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, then mix in the walnuts and self-raising flour.
Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork. Gently fold the vanilla extract and the bananas into the cake mixture using a spatula or metal spoon, turning gently and taking care not to over-mix.
Scoop the cake batter into the prepared cases leaving a little bit of room at the top for the cake to rise slightly.
Dust with a little demerara sugar then put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
Leave the muffins to cool for about ten minutes then take out of the tray and cool completely.

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