It’s taken me a little while to get going on Steph’s baking challenge due to having my kitchen packed up ready to move but now I’m settled in I’m giving it a go. Clem usually works on Saturdays so it gives me plenty of time to get my bake on without the distraction of Lord Flash-heart trying to eat bits before I’m finished (Clem would like it to be noted that he is in full support of the baking challenge and will happily taste test anyone’s baking, should they need him).
I’ve done an average amount of baking before but not of particularly high quality. When I was at primary school I had a friend who was keen and we would make something every time she came over to play. The most memorable being the hot cross buns where we forgot to put the currents in until they were already rising in the airing cupboard so ended up with a layer on top (they tasted fine). We also tried scotch eggs, butterscotch and various cakes as well as flapjacks and rice crispy cakes. We used Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes until it was falling apart and enjoyed ourselves immensely but I wouldn’t say I’ve moved past year 9 food tech level of success (grade C).
After that I went off it a bit before reaching college when some of us went through a phase of making each other massive OTT chocolate cakes covered in haribo to take to the pub and share with everyone. My favourite was when Sarah and I attempted to make a friend a goth cake but ended up with dreary grey icing not only on the cake but all over Sarah’s parent’s kitchen. That was the end of those endeavours.
More recently I’ve made Bacon and Chocolate muffins (first batch amazing, second batch dubious) and very successful cheesy dinosaurs. I tried a lemon and poppy seed cake but after rising and looking like a winner it then well and truly sank and then flopped out the pan like a brick. Too much lemon juice I think.
I’m using Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake on Steph's recommendation and it looks pretty easy to get on with. I like the focus on breads and pastries as I already have plenty of books about making cakes and cupcakes and I’d like to try something a bit different. If it turns out I don’t get on with his style of recipes, I’ll revert back to this baby:
To start with, I chose something I’d made before from various recipes and I knew would taste good even if it went a bit wrong – Banana loaf. The instructions were easy to follow, and there weren’t any complicated ingredients. Using the electric whizzer made the mixture very smooth and it showed in the finished loaf. He suggests putting walnuts in, which I was going to substitute with chocolate chips (or maybe have both) but I forgot to get either when I went shopping so it ended up being quite plain. Still very nice, but a bit of difference in texture would make it that much better.
Can you tell the difference? I used a silicone loaf tin so as the mixture was quite heavy, it bulged. It's also a bit more burned that Mr Hollywood's but both my tester and I agree that the edge bits are rather nice.
Verdict: Successful bake but room for improvement – 6/10