I have noticed with previous series that people sometimes bake along with the programme, and although I thought actually trying to bake and watch at the same time sounded like a multitasking step too far for me, I liked the idea of using the series to inspire me to bake a little more, and also to venture into making recipes I haven't tried before.
Realistically, I felt that choosing to cook up a showstopper every week might be a bit ambitious, and having seen this week's requirement to make 36 mini cakes I'm glad I made that call! Instead, I thought that doing the technical challenge, albeit with the luxury of having the full recipe at my disposal, would give me the chance to learn some skills as well as enjoying some baking.
So on that basis, this weeks recipe was a cherry cake, which is something I would never have thought to try. Luckily the BBC release the recipes when the programme is screened, and so it was that on Friday night The Husband I were doing a tour of supermarkets trying to locate a bundt tin, whilst I rued the fact that I hadn't bought one on all those occasions when I had seen them.
Thanks to a bit of internet searching as we perused the baking aisle, I found this one at Ikea which doubles up a normal springform cake tin, and the store near us had them in stock. The Husband earned some serious brownie points agreeing to venture into the Swedish labyrinth on a Friday night after work, knowing full well we would likely lose at least an hour on the hunt for some bakeware, even more gracious considering he isn't a fan of cherries!
So I had a lovely Sunday morning baking with Millie and the radio for company. It was great to get up early and have the cake baking while The Husband and I had breakfast together. A really cheerful way to start the day, and I can feel myself making a habit of it in future.
The cake itself was pretty straightforward, the fiddliest bit being chopping the cherries. I used undyed cherries for the mix, but put French glacé on the top as I thought they would look a bit brighter against the icing.
When it came to decorating I went for what Mary would call "bold icing" rather than neatly piping the drizzle, but I was pleased with how it turned out overall. I didn't turn the cake upside down from the tin because the shape was better if I kept it upright, but that oh-so-crucial distribution seemed to be fairly well balanced so my cherry prep must have been satisfactory!
It was possibly a touch dry, and I think it should probably have risen a little more, but it went down very well with my grandad and my step-dad after Sunday dinner. I enjoyed it too, and was very pleased with my first attempt at a hallowed GBBO recipe! The rest is packed up ready for The Husband to take into work, and I'm already looking forward to next weeks challenge of Florentines.
(Recipe reproduced from BBC Food)
200g glacé cherries
225g self-raising flour
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
1 lemon - finely grated zest
50g ground almonds
3 large eggs
175g icing sugar
1 lemon - juice
15g flaked almonds - toasted
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm bundt tin.
- Cut the cherries into quarters. Keep back 5 for the decoration. Put the rest in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain well and gently pat dry thoroughly using kitchen paper. Toss the cherries in two tablespoons of flower until well coated.
- Combine the rest of the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat well for two minutes until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the cherries and spoon the mixture into the tin.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until lightly golden, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. While cake is baking toast almonds lightly in a non-stick pan.
- Leave cake to cool in tin for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack until completely cool.
- Combine icing sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the top of the cake using a spoon.
- Decorate cake with almonds and cherries.