Now in its fifth year – and enjoying an upgrade from BBC2 to BBC1 – the Great British Bake Off is one of the nation’s best loved TV programmes.
Every year, it brings us a loveable bunch of contestants, two joyful presenters and two (usually) amiable judges. And whatever you think of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry’s comments, there’s no denying that there are some truly talented bakers on GBBO (as it’s come to be affectionately called).
Want to recreate some of the best Bake Off bakes in your own kitchen? Here’s our guide to some of the show’s best ever recipes.
Top cakes and sweet treats
For a chocolatey delight, try this chocolate fudge cake from series one. Two tasty chocolate cakes are sandwiched with chocolate buttercream icing and topped with a silky chocolate ganache. It looks impressive, but it’s a deceptively simple tea-time treat.
For something a bit more challenging, Mary Berry’s charlotte royale is a blissful take on an old-fashioned favourite. Mary, of course, makes her own jam to spread over the sponge rolls but you can use shop-bought jam – or any preserves you’ve made in advance – if you’re short of time. This recipe is particularly fun to make with children, who love the unusual design.
Ruby Tandoh – one of the runners up from 2013 – also stood out with her excellent chocolate, almond and praline opera cake. This one is best for experienced bakers, and it’s perfect for a grand celebration. Opera cake is French in origin, and it can be quite rich so it’s best accompanied by some strong coffee or – if you’ve got a particularly sweet tooth – a glass of dessert wine to reinvigorate your palate after every bite.
And for something even more spectacular, try James Morton’s gingerbread house from 2012. James’ effort was a little lop-sided and unfinished – but without the Bake Off time constraints, home bakers might be able to complete the job with the flair James was aiming for.
GBBO savoury delights
If desserts aren’t your thing, there are plenty of great savoury recipes in the Bake Off stable too. John Whaite – the winner from 2012 – made these tantalising Asian spice crackers. Laced with fragrant cumin, coriander and fennel, they’re great for dips and snacks.
Another star from 2013, Kimberley Wilson, made a memorable chicken, bacon and butternut squash pie. This is the kind of delicious dish that’s great for a midweek treat in autumn, when you’re looking for something hearty and warming to brighten up the dark evenings.
Want to up your game a bit? Try Ryan Chong’s sea bass en croute with puy lentils. It’s a relatively simple dish, but a delicious one all the same, and it’ll really impress any dinner party guests you might have round.
Or if a meaty dish is your way of really celebrating, Cathryn Dresser’s Full English Wellington is a great alternative to the classic beef wellington. This one uses pork sausagemeat, Parma ham, mushrooms, tomatoes and quail eggs to create a delicious dinner-time take on the classic English breakfast.
Will you be tuning in to this weeks Final?
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