The Bake Off is back!! Catching up with episode one was almost the first thing I did after returning from holiday. This series feels like it should be a good one and I enjoyed the fact that this first episode featured some classic bakes rather than bizarre things I've never heard of before.
I had tried quite hard to avoid any spoilers while I was away, but I did actually come across some Bake Off inspired cakes when we stopped for lunch at a lovely little cafe on our way to Belfast. We shared a slice of Walnut Cake, although there was a delicious looking Black Forest Gateau on offer as well.
Last year I managed to bake along every week of GBBO and I'm hoping to try and do this all over again. I dived straight in with an attempt at this week's technical challenge - Mary Berry's Frosted Walnut Cake. I used the recipe from Mary Berry Ultimate Cake Book which was reasonably similar, but doesn't include buttercream icing or caramelised walnuts.
I had never made the meringue style 'boiled icing' before and if I did it again I would probably try to get it just a tiny bit firmer, but for a first go I wasn't too disappointed!
To make a three layer cake:
225g self raising flour
225g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
225g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
100g finely chopped walnuts
2 large egg whites
350g caster sugar
1/4tsp cream of tartar
Extra walnuts halves to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 160°c, grease and line three 20cm diameter cake tins.
2. Weigh all of the sponge ingredients into a mixing bowl. The all-in-one method is great for reducing washing up! Make sure you have chopped up the walnuts small enough - I went for the pieces being roughly a quarter of each walnut half.
3. Mix everything together well. The step-by-step instructions on the GBBO website do split this up, but the recipe from Mary's book seemed to suggest just doing it all at once. Split the mixture evenly between the three tins and smooth the tops.
4. Bake together in the oven for about 25 minutes. They should be golden brown in colour and springy when touched lightly.
5. Remove from the oven, take out of the tins and cool on a cooling rack.
6. Place a bowl over a pan of water over a medium heat on the hob. Put the ingredients for the frosting into the bowl and use an electric whisk to mix and thicken the frosting. This should take about 10-12 minutes. The frosting should be thick and reasonably stiff, but still runny enough to spread.
7. Use a little of the frosting to stick the layers together and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If you're good at this and your frosting has the right consistency, you could probably swirl it into a bit more of a pattern - but simply smothering it fairly smoothly is just fine!
Have you been baking along to the GBBO?