Autumn is here and that can only mean one thing, The Great British Bake Off is back delighting our TVs every Tuesday evening. There’s nothing quite as captivating as watching twelve strangers go through the highs and lows of baking in that iconic tent. You only need to be one episode in for your mind to remember that self-raising flour at the back of the cupboard, which you have ashamedly ignored since the Spring and just like that GBBO fever hits you.
So if you’re ready to rise to the challenge of being your very own star baker, look no further, we have just the recipes for you:
Cake Week: Pear & Ginger Upside-Down Cake
In the very first week of GBBO, we saw the bakers tasked with the retro favourite, pineapple upside-down cake. But, you know us, as supporters using seasonal produce we’ve put a little autumnal twist on this classic by using pear and ginger. With a spicy, warming flavour – this bake will have you reaching for another slice.
- 1 large or 2 smaller pears
- 130g caster sugar – separated into 30g and 100g
- 3 tbsps cold water
- 60ml very hot water
For the cake mixture:
- 4 medium eggs
- 185g unsalted butter, well softened
- 185g caster sugar
- 185g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsps ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp peeled and finely chopped ginger
- Hazelnuts to serve (optional)
- First make the caramel for the pears. Put 30g caster sugar into a small pan with 3 tablespoons cold water. Over a low heat dissolve the sugar, then over a medium heat cook until dark golden (5 minutes). Avoid stirring.
- Carefully add the just hot water (the caramel will spit so be careful). Add the rest of the sugar, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes until syrupy and golden. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile line the base and sides of 20cm square tin with paper and preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas.
- Peel the pear(s), cut into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each pear quarter into 3–4 long slices.
- For the cake mixture, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one, alternating with little flour, then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Arrange the pears in the base of the tin, pour the caramel over.
- Gently spoon the cake batter over the pears and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake has well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
- Using oven gloves to protect your hands, carefully invert the warm cake onto a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath to catch any excess caramel (use a pastry brush to dot the excess caramel on the top of the cake). If it looks a bit pale, you pop back into the oven on a paper-lined tray to darken for 5-10 minutes.
- If you like, scatter the finished cake with roughly chopped hazelnuts for some extra crunch.
Biscuit Week: Florentines
The second week saw us dive into biscuit week, with florentines on the signature challenge cards. A real all-rounder and a perfect bake to nail for the upcoming festive season. Don’t forget to grab a cup of tea to celebrate baking these beauties.
30 Minutes (plus cooling time)
- 25g unsalted butter
- 25g demerara or brown sugar
- 25g golden syrup
- 25g plain flour
- 50g dried cranberries, chopped
- 25g flaked almonds
- 25g whole skin-on almonds, finely chopped
- 10g pistachios, finely chopped
- 80g finely chopped dark chocolate – or use half white and half dark chocolate for alternating florentines.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone sheets.
- Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a small pan over a low heat.
- Off the heat add the flour, chopped cranberries and nuts. Mix well.
- Spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to the prepared baking trays, leaving room for them to spread during cooking. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. If needed, flatten/reshape the florentines slightly once they’re straight from the oven with a cutlery knife, then leave to cool and firm up a little before lifting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the chocolate decoration: set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, without letting the bowl touch the water. Add two-thirds of the chocolate into the bowl, stirring only when nearly totally melted. Finely chop or grate the remaining chocolate. Off the heat, add the rest of the chocolate and stir gently until glossy and cooled.
- Spread a little melted chocolate over the base of each florentine and leave to cool slightly before marking a zigzag in the chocolate with a fork. Leave to dry completely then store in an airtight container.
Bread Week: Irish Soda Bread
Most recently, Paul Hollywood’s favourite week: bread week. The signature challenge saw the remaining contestants try their hand at soda bread. With its unique cooking method, it’s all of the taste and none of the kneading. The perfect non-fuss bread for everyone from novices to experts to try their hand at.
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 350ml buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 230°C. Pour the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add most of the buttermilk into the well and stir with a fork to combine. Once the dough has started to come together, you can start to use your hands, adding a little more buttermilk if the mixture looks a little dry. The dough should be soft but not too wet.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured baking tray, flip over and mould into a round loaf around 2 inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross on top of the loaf all the way to the edges.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 200°C and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when the base is tapped.
- Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm in slices with plenty of butter.
So there we have it, three GBBO inspired bakes to try in your very own tent (although we recommend using a kitchen, it’s a bit chilly out!)
If you do try any of these recipes, share with us over on Instagram using the hashtag #FarmdropFoodies