A Bake For All Seasons #2: Jammy Dodgers

3rd October 2021.

I always love Biscuit Week on the Great British Bake Off. It was great to see that this year’s contestants were asked to bake Jammy Dodgers for the Technical Bake. I love making Jammy Dodgers, although mine always look boring. I so need to get a set of those Nordicware Cookie Stamps as featured in the show to get that beautiful pattern on top of the biscuits.

If you are on Twitter, you might have heard of #TwitterBakeAlong which has been running for the last 5 years or so. Jackie (aka The Baking Nanna) and Rob run weekly challenges over on Twitter. During Bake Off Season it becomes #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong and bakers can enter one of the challenges like the contestants bake and submit a photo of their bake on Twitter. As I’m busy a lot with work commitments, I don’t always get to join in but I was able to for this week with my version of Jammy Dodgers.

I used the recipe in The Great British Bake Off: A Bake For All Seasons and I must admit it was different to my standard “roll out” biscuit recipe in that there was added cornflour in the recipe. I also felt that I could have done with double the quantity of dough as to get the quantity of biscuits out of the dough, I had to roll the dough so thinly. I used my KitchenAid mixer to bring the dough together so that I didn’t overwork it.

No way was I going to make my own jam to go inside the biscuits as the original contestants had to. I hadn’t got time for making jam as well. To be different from the traditional, I found some Lemon Curd in the cupboard which needed using up as well as some Cherry Curd which I’d found in a local supermarket. The dark pink colour was so pretty that I thought I’d use it as well. Instead of a heart shape cut out in the middle I looked in my cookie cutter boxes and found a splat type cutter which I’d used on a psychedelic 1970s style cake from a few years ago. I thought it would make a change from the hearts and stars and other shapes you might find in the middle of a Jammy Dodger or those Linzer style cookies.

I took the cookies with me to work and left them in the staff room. I was a bit ashamed of the actual biscuits to be honest. Because they rolled out so thinly, they caught round the edges and baked a lot quicker than expected. But everyone enjoyed them and that was the main thing.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

A Bake For All Seasons #1: Blackberry and Apple Crumble Cake.

3rd October 2021

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not that much of an Autumn/ Winter persion. Mainly because I don’t like it being dark early and getting up in the dark. Not to mention the lack of sun. But having said that, there are positives to this time of year- it’s Bake Off Season!

The 2021 Season is well underway as I write and I’m enjoying it as much as ever. Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers on here.

I preordered the new Great British Bake Off recipe book to accompany this series from Amazon and it arrived on the day of release. I’ve done a review on the book as a separate post: you can read it here!

I looked to see which recipes tied in with Autumn and what fitted in with ingredients we had at home. I also wanted something suitable for a Sunday lunch dessert and not an overly complicated occasion cake which we wouldn’t be able to eat.

We chose the Blackberry and Pear Crumble Cake on page 200 in the Autumn section of the book as our first recipe. But I subsituted apples in place of pears in the recipe as we had apples to use up. I also have struffled to find blackberries recently. I’ve noticed not so many growing on the hedgerows recently, or have I missed something? The only way I could find any blackberries to use in this recipe was to buy a mixed berried frozen fruit bag from the supermarket and to separate them out to use in this recipe. To peel and core the apples, I use an apple segmenter which I have had since my children were little so that I could cut apples up for them when they had a snack.

So, on with the cake. I used a 20cm (8″) springform cake tin for the recipe which was greased and lined. When that was done, I put the chopped apples into a small saucepan with a tablespoonful of sugar and 25g butter. These were slowly cooked so that they would caramelise.

In another bowl I added 50g more butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 75g plain flour and mixed this together with some toasted hazelnuts. The hazelnuts I found a bit fiddly to do as even as they toasted, it took ages to get the skins off. This made the crumble topping.

I then got out my KitchenAid and beat together some more butter and some more caster sugar until it was pale and creamy. I then added in eggs, one at a time and beat them well one at a time. In went the rest of the flour followed by some baking powder and finally some sour cream.

Now it was time to assemble the cake in layers. Starting with two thirds of the sponge mixture in the base of the tin. Followed by a third of the crumble topping and then the rest of the sponge. Then another third of the crumble topping. To finish off I arranged all the caramelised apples and blackberries on top, followed by the final sprinkling of crumble topping.

The cake takes quite a while to bake: the recipe stated 1 1/2 hours but I found mine was ready after 1 1/4 hours. It smelled absolutely delicious and there was nothing else you needed to do to serve it, except put a generous slice on a plate with some warm custard. The recipe suggested creme fraiche but we wanted custard.

I will definitely make this again. It might work with almonds instead of chopped hazelnuts and I will try it with pears as well. It really did hit the spot on a chilly Autumn afternoon. I must admit I had some leftovers the next day when I got in from school as I had a sweet craving!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

A Bake For All Seasons #3: Banana and Peanut Butter Loaf.

Sunday October 10th 2021

My version of the Bake For All Seasons Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf- nothing like the original!!

I wanted to bake a cake for Sunday afternoon. I had been away for some of the weekend and we weren’t having a full blown Sunday roast but Mr S was going to cook his special steak with new potatoes and salad. I’ve been suffering a bit with my mental health recently. October has been a tricky month and I can’t wait for it to end. I know that baking helps lots of us who are struggling and I’m no exception. I didn’t really need any cake in the house but I needed to have that comforting ritual of baking and creating something.

A slice for Mr S to have with his afternoon cuppa.

I looked in the new Bake Off Book: A Bake For All Seasons to see if there was a simple Autumnal cake I could bake that afternoon that wasn’t too fancy or had weird ingredients I didn’t have in my cupboard. The only real contender was the Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf in the Autumn section of the book on page 158. I didn’t have any tahini paste in, though. The only ever time I bought it was a couple of years ago to make some hummous and the rest ended up getting chucked out as my own hummous tasted revolting! I thought what could give a similar effect that was in my cupboard and I thought maybe peanut butter would work. The top of the cake as seen in the recipe photo also shows the loaf sprinkled with caramel sesame seeds and a whole banana peeled and halved as a decoration. This did not appeal to me one bit so I left it off!

To line my loaf tin, I always use the pre-made loaf tin liners available from big supermarkets or shops like Lakeland! They save so much faff! When I had lined that, I melted some butter. When this was cooling, I whisked brown sugar and eggs together. Then this was added to the cooled butter, the peanut butter and some natural yoghurt. Finally I added some mashed bananas.

In another bowl I weighed out and mixed together some dry ingredients: self raising flour, baking powder and cinnamon then folded it carefully into the other ingredients. Finally the mixture was spooned into the the tin and then baked in the oven for around 50 minutes. This was slightly earlier than the recipe suggested but my oven seems to bake a lot quicker.

Leftovers to be cut up and put in a box for later.
I love using the ready made loaf tin liners from Lakeland.

I must admit I didn’t end up trying the banana loaf as I’ve been a bit off my food and under the weather this week. Not Covid, I hasten to add! Mr S had a piece and said it was nice although I pinched 3 of his breakfast bananas to use in the cake. By the time I felt a bit better, what was left of tthe cake had gone off and had to be binned.

I don’t think I’ll attempt to make this version of a banana loaf again unless I do have any left over tahini paste knocking around. I might buy some as Nigella has a tahini cake in one of her recipes from Cook, Eat, Repeat and it seems to be popular. I think I’ll stick to my favourite Annabel Karmel one I’ve been making since my kids were little as that always goes down well with everyone.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

The Great British Bake Off- A Bake For All Seasons Book Review.

October 2021.

It’s always exciting when a brand new Great British Bake Off book is released. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be one this year, what with the pandemic but like last year it was a great surprise when it popped up on Amazon to say there was going to be a new book. This year’s book was released in time for the latest series and there is a slightly different format to it. Instead of being split into categories of bakes, such as cakes, biscuits, etc. the book has been split into sections concentrating on the four seasons.

The latest Great British Bake Off Book: A Bake For All Seasons.

It is great to work around seasonal baking and the delicious produce that is around at different times of the year. I personally try to shop seasonally if I can as I can’t stand watery, tasteless out of season strawberries. I like the certain flavours which evoke different times of the year and when you can use what is growing around you. How I wish I could grow my own veg but I don’t have the space in my back garden. I have managed some strawberries and tomatoes this year and I was so proud of them.

In every Bake Off book it is great to be introduced to that series of contestants and this year’s bunch seem so lovely and genuine. I always enjoy trying out their own recipes which get featured in the book if I can.

Starting with the Spring section, we are looking at bringing in Lenten and Easter festivities as well as pretty cakes which make use of Spring flowers such as primroses as well as seasonal fruit like rhubarb.

What I’d like to bake in Spring:

  • Semlor (Danish Lenten Buns) They look delicious and contain almond paste and cardamom, which are flavours I love.
  • Asparagus, Ham and Cheese Danish Pastries: Mr S loves his Danish pastries and I’m sure he’ll love these with some salad in asparagus season.
  • Ruby Grapefruit Bundt: as a bundt pan addict, I always look to see if there are any bundt recipes in the book first and as I’ve never used grapefruit to bake with before, this one is definitely top of the list.
  • Cherry Blossom Shortbreads: these look so pretty and would make a lovely Easter or Mother’s Day gift.
  • Crystelle’s Chai and Jaggery Cake: I haven’t a clue what jaggery is but I love chai spiced cakes. The icing is coconut flavoured as well which is another of my favourite flavours.
  • Pizza Bianca di Primavera: I love pizza although I haven’t made any homemade ones since the last lockdown. This one has sliced new potato on top of it! I’ve never had potato on top of a pizza before but the flavours sound incredible.
  • Mini Hummingbird Cakes: I just have to try these as I love Hummingbird cake and it will be a good excuse to use my mini 12 hole Victoria sponge tray!
  • Super Seeded Soda Bread: Soda Bread recipes were an absolute necessity last year. Especially on the three times when I had to self isolate and we ran out of bread and I didn’t have yeast with two or three days to go until the online food delivery came. I’d bake bread more often if I wasn’t so busy with work!
  • Chig’s Mango and Coconut Upside Down Cake: I love mangoes and coconuts and this is just a delicious alternative to a pineapple upside down cake.
  • Jairzeno’s Chocolate Mint Cake: Mint Chocolate is my absolute favourite flavour of all. I love the extra glaze layer that is included on Jairzeno’s cake and gives it a beautiful finish.
  • Wild Garlic Flatbreads: Last year I baked flatbreads a lot, especially when we had curries. They were so simple to bake and I think I’ll be looking out for some wild garlic to make these!
  • Hamantaschen (Haman’s Pockets) I’ve never heard of these delicious sounding Jewish biscuits before, which are circles of biscuit filled with jam (traditionally were dates or poppy seeds) and the biscuit folded over to represent Haman’s three pointed hat.

I won’t be making these in Spring:

  • Rhubarb and Custard Tart: I’m not a rhubarb lover, to be honest.
  • Passionfruit Souffles: I find souffles far too fiddly!
  • Spiced Lamb and Filo Pie: I don’t like lamb, especially when it’s cooking as it smells!
  • Prinzeregentetorte: Looks a stunning cake but all those layers make it far too fiddly for me.

I’ll be baking these in Summer:

I’ve already baked the Jammy Dodgers as part of #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong when it was Biscuit week on GBBO.
  • Jammy Dodgers: though mine won’t look as nice as the ones in the book because I need a set of those Nordicware Stampers. UPDATE: I baked these, separate post is coming soon!
  • Cherry and Almond Friands: these would be perfect sat outside in the summer with a cup of tea when fresh cherries are in season.
  • Chocolate and Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake Brownies: These would be ideal for a summer dessert at a BBQ or family gathering.
  • Free-form Tomato Tart: I’ve made something similar from another recipe book and I can see myself making this for a summer dinner sat outside with salad and a glass of rose washed down with it.
  • Strawberry and Clotted Cream Cake: this cake is like Victoria Sponge but on another level with added fresh strawberries and clotted cream. Sounds like heaven to me!
  • Rochica’s Strawberry Topped Cookies and Cream Cake: This looks like a summery version of the Cookies and Cream cake I baked for my son’s birthday last year. I wonder if he would like another one next year?
  • Amanda’s Lemon and Elderflower Palette Cake: I love the flower design on the top of this stunning cake. I definitely might try the cake itself as I love lemon and elderflower flavours.

I won’t be baking these in Summer:

  • Chouxnuts: they look delicious but I don’t have a deep fat fryer or like deep fat frying.
  • Apricot Frangipane Traybake: I wish I liked apricots. Maybe it’s because they’re so fiddly to eat.
  • Cheese, Ham and Piccalilli Pasties: Eww, no I think piccalilli is disgusting. Mr S bought a jar of it a couple of months ago and it made me feel sick just looking at it!

I’ll be baking these in Autumn:

  • Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf: this sounds delicious. UPDATE: I’ve baked this now!
  • Toffee Apple Cake: what a beautiful celebration cake for the Autumn with or without the caramel on top.
  • Pear and Walnut Cake: as seen on the front cover, this is a beautiful show stopper bake for an Autumnal celebration.
  • Giuseppe’s Celebration Cake: another stunning showstopper.
  • Jurgen’s Pear and Chocolate Charlotte: what a pretty looking dessert. I need an excuse to make this.
  • Pecan Pie: I love Pecan Pie and it reminds me of my last trip to Canada to visit my family where we had it for dessert!
  • Plum and Ginger Cake: I’m not that keen on eating plums raw but in cakes I love them. This would be an ideal Sunday lunch pudding with custard or cream.
  • Ciabatta Breadsticks: I’m not that skilled at baking bread but I bet my daughter would love to make these with me!
  • Pear Crumble Cake: This would be another perfect Sunday lunch dessert. UPDATE: I’ve made this but with apples instead!
My version of the Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf Cake. (Autumn )
My version of the Pear Crumble Cake which actually had apples in it as I didn’t have pears at home!

I won’t be baking these in Autumn:

  • Prue’s Vegan Sausage Rolls: I love sausage rolls and vegan ones too for that matter, but this recipe looks very complicated to me. I will be sticking to my lazy way of making sausage rolls!
  • Fig, Honey and Almond Cake: I wish I liked figs!
  • Apple, Pecan and Miso Caramel Tart: what is the fixation with putting miso in baking at the moment? Sorry, but it’s not for me.

I’ll be baking these in Winter:

  • Parsnip, Maple and Pecan Cake: I’ve never baked with parsnips before!
  • Paul’s Caramel Biscuit Bars: these home made Twixes look gorgeous.
  • Seville Orange Lamingtons: I’ve never made Lamingtons before so I’d love to try these.
  • Panettone: I’ve never baked a panettone before and it would be great to have one as an alternative to mince pies at Christmas.
  • St Clement’s Squares: I love baking these so I know they will go down well.
  • Mincemeat and Marzipan Couronne: perfect at breakfast time over Christmas.
  • Maggie’s Orange and Lemon Cake: I can see this being baked for a winter birthday celebration.

I won’t be baking these in Winter:

I can’t see anything in the Winter section that I will definitely not have a go at. Watch this space!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx