The Great British Bake Off

Charlie Pea|August 22, 2015

The Great British Bake Off is Back!

To celebrate the return of everyone’s favourite baking programme I have chosen the best of Mary Berrys baking. Cakes and bakes that are so good no one will be able to resist:

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

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This really is my top favourite. It is always moist and crunchy. The cake needs to be still warm when the topping is added so that it absorbs the lemon syrup easily, leaving the sugar on top. Do allow the cake to cool a little though – if it is too hot the syrup will tend to run straight through.

Preparation time: about 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 35-40 minutes

Cuts into about 30 squares

  1. Cut a rectangle of non-stick baking parchment  to fit the base and sides of a traybake tin or roasting tin, 30 x 23 x 4 cm (12 x 9 x 1 ½ inches). Grease the tin and then line with the paper, pushing it neatly into the corners of the tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3.
  2. Measure all the ingredients for the traybake into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended, an electric mixer is best for this but of course you can also beat by hand with a wooden spoon. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula to remove all of the mixture. Level the top gently with the back of the spatula.
  3. Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the traybake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre and is beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
  4. Allow the traybake to cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift the traybake out of the tin still in the lining paper. Carefully remove the paper and put the traybake onto a wire rack placed over a tray (to catch drips of the topping).
  5. To make the crunchy topping, mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl to give a runny consistency. Spoon this mixture evenly over the traybake whilst it is still just warm. Cut into about squares when cold.

Chocolate Obsession

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A gateau for a special occasion: four layers of cake with truffle filling and silky chocolate icing.

Serves 10–12

  1. To make the cake, put the broken pieces of chocolate and butter into a pan. Add 300ml water and heat gently over a low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat with a fork. Add the caster sugar and beat again until smooth. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture and  whisk by hand until smooth. Sift the flour and baking powder into the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth.
  2. Divide evenly between the cake tins. Bake for 1–1¼ hours or until springy to the touch and shrinking away from the edges of the tin. After 10 minutes turn on to a wire rack to cool and remove the paper.
  3. To make the filling, sit a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the chocolate and cream to the bowl and gently melt, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the butter to the hot chocolate and cream and stir until smooth. Sift in half the icing sugar, and mix, then add the remaining icing sugar and mix until smooth. Set aside to cool until thick. To make the ganache icing, gently heat the cream in a pan. Add the broken chocolate to the hot cream and stir until melted.
  4. Slice each cake in half horizontally and sit one piece on a plate. Divide the truffle filling into three and spread a third of the filling on top of one cake, repeat so you have four layers of cake and three layers of filling. The side of the cake needs to be exactly level, if not trim with a serrated knife. Pour the ganache icing over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides, using a palette knife to spread it evenly over the top and the sides of the cake to give a smooth shiny glaze. Set aside until firm then cut into wedges to serve.

PREPARE AHEAD – The cake can be made and assembled the day ahead and kept in the fridge – best to ice with the ganache icing on the day of serving.

FREEZE – Cakes freeze well filled but not iced.

AGA – Bake on grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven, with the cold sheet on the second set of runners for about 35 minutes. Transfer the hot cold sheet to the simmering oven and sit the cake on top and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until cooked right through.

Mary Berry’s classic fruit cake

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This is the perfect cake for Christmas, birthdays and all special occasions – it’s a winner.

  1. Put the currants, sultanas, raisins, rinsed, dried and quartered cherries, snipped apricots and chopped mixed peel in a large bowl. Stir in the brandy, cover the bowl and leave in a cool place overnight.
  2. Lightly grease a 23cm/9 in deep round cake tin. Cut a strip of non-stick baking parchment to fit twice around the sides of the tin, fold the bottom edge of the strip up by about 2.5cm/1 in creasing it firmly, then open out the fold and cut slanting lines into this narrow strip at intervals. Put a circle of non-stick baking parchment into the base of the tin, lightly grease the outer edge and then fit the prepared strip of parchment with the snipped edge in the base of the tin to line the sides of the tin. Place a second circle of non-stick baking parchment in to cover the cut part of the paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1.
  4. Put the flour, grated nutmeg, mixed spice, butter, sugar, eggs, chopped almonds, black treacle and the citrus zest into a large bowl and beat well to mix thoroughly. Fold in the soaked fruits.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon. Decorate the top with the whole blanched almonds and glacé cherries, pushing them lightly into the top of the cake mixture. Cover the top of the cake loosely with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 4¼-4 ¾ hours, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
  6. When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and ‘feed’ with a little splash of brandy. Once the cake is completely cold, leave the lining paper on the cake, wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil. Store in a cool, dry place for up to three months, feeding at intervals with more brandy.