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

Amazing Cakes #26: Spanish Lemon Meringue Cake.

Helena Garcia’s Spanish Lemon Meringue Cake. Recipe from The Great British Bake Off Book of Amazing Cakes.

It has been a very difficult few weeks in our family following our recent bereavement. Blogging had been going by the wayside for a while anyway as work in school and baking for SmartCookieSam’s online business has been occupying a lot of my time. It is a shame as I love trying out new recipes.

We had a family BBQ one Sunday and although when it is hot I don’t really bother with a pudding or cake. It’s just too much effort. But a recipe in the Great British Bake Off Book Of Amazing Cakes caught my eye. In the 2019 series, the lovely Helena Garcia baked a gorgeous sounding Spanish Lemon Meringue Cake which was a childhood family favourite which her grandmother used to make. It has a digestive biscuit base like a cheesecake, a filling made of condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Then topped with meringue and a final sprinkling of crushed digestive biscuits. I thought it would be perfect to serve with berries and was an ideal summer dessert.

I was a little bit rushed by the time I wanted to start the cake. We had been over to the coast for a walk on the beach with the dog and we got back later than planned. This was down to Mr S losing his glasses on the beach so we had to go back and retrace our steps while he looked for them. They must’ve got swept out to sea. So by the time we got home, it was well into the afternoon with not much time left before the BBQ was going to be started.

I got out the cake tin I needed; a 20cm springform one and got it greased and lined. When that was done, I crushed the digestive biscuits up. I couldn’t be bothered to get my food processor out so I crushed the biscuits by hand by putting them in a clear plastic freezer bag and banging them to crumbs with the end of a rolling pin. When that was done, I melted some butter and mixed it together with the crushed digestives, save for two spare tablespoonfuls which were reserved for the top of the cake to decorate it. The rest formed the base of the cake which got pressed into the tin.

Now to work on the filling. The filling was a simple mix of lemon juice, egg yolks and condensed milk mixed together and then poured on the top of the base. Then onto the topping: I used the egg whites used after separating the yolks out to make the filling as well as some caster sugar to make the meringue. I whipped the egg whites up until the meringues formed stiff peaks and then folded in the caster sugar bit by bit. The meringue was then spooned onto the top of the cake. For a final touch the remaining digestive crumbs were spooned in the tin before baking.

The oven had been preheated since I had started getting the ingredients together and I put the cake in the oven for roughly about 25 minutes. After about this time it came out of the oven and was left to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. I found that my cake cracked slightly and that it looked a bit unappetising but that didn’t put us off it.

I’m pleased to say the cake went down extremely well and a couple of family members even had seconds. One even picked at the crumbs off it! There were some leftovers for the next day (I sneaked a piece when I got in from work!)

I think that the Lemon Meringue Cake would work well with other flavours, such as lime and ginger or coconut. I might test this out in the coming weeks, so watch this space!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam! xx