Tuesday 20 March 2012

The Great British Bake Off by Linda Collister with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood

The Great British Bake Off has inspired thousands of people to don a pinny and have a bash at baking. I am convinced that programmes like the Bake Off and everyone being a little more skint than they used to be has sparked a true baking revival. In the past you were taught to bake by your mother or grandmother, and tips and tricks were passed down through families. This new generation of bakers are self taught, mainly from books and TV. They have the confidence and flair to try new things, rather than the trusted malt loaf passed from mum. 

They are making whoopie pies, macaroons, piping intricate designs in icing and even making bundt cakes in the shape of sandcastles...

Times are a changing. We watch these shows and feel the pain of the contestants, after all they are just normal people like us. They have the same disasters, say prayers that cakes release from tins and look on in horror as the word 'croquembouche' is uttered by Hollywood...  The difference being that these folk are on the telly! 

My mum was rooting for Joanne to win the last series of Great British Bake Off because 'she's just a normal mum - if she can do it, maybe I could!? Listen to me. My mother has never so much as made a fairy cake. This is progress. 

What I'm geting at is that normal people are making other normal people want to bake, and this is wonderful news...

I've had this book since it was released, but I revisited it recently when testing different frosting recipes. I'd like to share that recipe with you, as it can only be described as a tour de force. My work friend Louise sang to herself when she was eating it. My other friend Claire gave me a shifty look when I mentioned cream cheese in the frosting, but adored it. It even put a massive smile on the face of my department Director (who is a massive fan of the home made cake).

This is a delightful book. There is a recipe for every occasion. So far I have made the Sticky Maple-Apple Traybake, used the shortcrust pastry recipe for a belting pie and had a bash at Spicy Chicken Pasties. All have been wonderful and recipes have been reassuringly trustworthy. 

Here is the recipe for the Sticky Maple-Apple Tray Bake which kept my colleagues so entertained...

With permission from BBC Books

I can't wait for the next series in July, and the book that accompanies it. It's definitely on my wish list already!

The Great British Bake Off - How to bake the perfect victoria sponge and other baking secrets.
Publisher: BBC Books, 2011
Hardback, £20.00
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because the cake I made went down a ruddy storm at work. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Ebury Publishing.


  1. Oh I so need to get this book.

  2. We found this works best after a day or two - the apples soften the cake up and make it really tasty! I'm currently planning on taking this with us for a boutique festival - perfect for post-hangover munch!


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