It’s that time of year again when the oh-so-Great British Bake Off is back on our screens. Just the thought of it brings a smile to my face.
There’s just something so typically British and stiff-upper-lip about it that is perfect. It’s fun, there’s cake, there’s mean comments from Paul, Mary’s not-so-secret alcoholism (well, it’s mentioned at least once an episode how much she ‘likes a tipple’), innuendos everywhere you look, pressure against the clock, and sometimes the bakes go wrong which makes me feel better about my own baking abilities. And to top it all, there’s Mel and Sue who are the glue that holds the show, and sometimes the contestants, together in their witty way. I just love it.
So with the first week being cake week, I wanted to once again try and join in the baking fun. And for the second year running, it didn’t go well from the start.
On the show they made various forms of drizzle cake and thought I’d give it a go and bake some cakes I could take into my new work to impress my colleagues with. What with everyone being on some sort of health kick or other and new fangled ‘intolerances’ being here there and everywhere, I thought I’d make something inclusive for all and go for a lemon drizzle, wheat, gluten and all that jazz free. I found a recipe online, it had plentiful good reviews, so I thought – yeah why not.
To be fair, the cakes look good. Like really good (sadly I didn’t take any photos as it was night when I made them). It was just the taste. I followed the recipe to the letter, which as you may or may not know – I find it hard to do, and so thought that I was definitely onto a winner. Okay, so I changed one thing, I made them cupcakes rather than one big sponge, but what difference could that make? Then I tasted them.They were just flavourless wet sponges. I couldn’t even taste the lemon in them. In the bin they went. Along with my hopes and dreams of suddenly being a star baker.
Week two, biscuit week. I wanted to have another go for biscuit week but there’s no denying it, I was worried. After all, it’s such a waste of money baking disasters all the time. Then casually strolling through twitter, I came across a blog post from the fabulous Lindsay Hill of Book Boodle of some bourbon biscuits she’d made. Inspiration found, I went out and bought the ingredients I needed, all the while wondering if I was just throwing away more money.
I got home and got started straight away so I didn’t keep putting it off until I just didn’t bother out of fear. These were so simple to make and in Lindsay’s post she mentions about the time on the recipe being too long, so I reduced this right down and kept checking on them so they didn’t burn. I took them out after 15 minutes I think it was in the end and left them to cool. So far so good. They at least weren’t burnt. Dan being Dan, he didn’t want to wait for them to cool and have icing on for him to eat – he wanted one straight form the oven. So I joined him and I was so pleased that they really tasted like the biscuit part of a bourbon biscuit! I didn’t ice them until the next day in the end, because, you know, life, and I did change this up a little (I stuck to the recipe for the biscuit, what more do you want from me?) So here is my icing:
25g Cream cheese
1 drop vanilla flavouring/extract
The quickest splash of Amaretto I could get out of the bottle
18g cocoa powder
130g icing sugar
I was obviously a bit too generous with my icing on the biscuits as I had to make two batches, but what I didn’t use of the second lot, I put in the freezer to use another time (just leave for an hour or so to defrost and you’re away).
These biscuits are great. If you want a fail-proof biscuit recipe, go for these. I completely didn’t care about the wheat/gluten blah blah intolerance people for these, and to be honest, I don’t think I really will from now on. It never works out and I’m just wasting money that way. Full flour all the way for me now!
Bread week, this week. Bring it on.
Until next time. x