We’re two weeks into series six of the Great British Bake Off and have already seen some excellent – and not so excellent – bakes.
If you’ve been inspired to get more adventurous with your baking from watching the show, why not start with a few recipes that have been featured in week one and week two?
Episode 1: Recipes from Cake week
Episode one was all about cake – a great place to start if your mixing bowl has been gathering dust in the back of the cupboard.
The technical challenge: Mary’s Frosted Walnut Layer Cake
For the sponge:
- 225g self-raising flour,
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g walnuts, finely chopped
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
For the caramelised walnuts:
- 2 tbs water
- 100g caster sugar
- 10 walnut halves
For the buttercream:
- 125g butter, softened
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 250g icing sugar
For the boiled icing:
- 2 large egg whites
- 350g caster sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/Gas 3. Grease 3 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the base of each tin with baking parchment. Mix the flour, baking powder and walnuts together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time.
- Fold in the flour mixture using a large metal spoon. Divide the mixture equally between the 3 tins and level the surfaces.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- For the caramelised walnuts, tip the sugar into a pan and heat over a low heat until the sugar is beginning to melt. Increase the heat and cook the caramel to a dark golden colour. Remove from the heat, add the walnut halves and swirl to coat in the caramel. Transfer the walnut halves onto a silicon sheet and leave to set.
- For the buttercream, put the butter, vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of the milk and half the icing sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining icing sugar and pour in the rest of the milk if needed, to make the buttercream the right consistency.
- Spread half of the buttercream over one of the sponges and place the second sponge on top. Spread the remaining buttercream over the second sponge and top with the third sponge.
- For the boiled icing, measure the egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar into a bowl set over a pan of hot water and whisk for 8-10 minutes until thick.
- Cover the top and sides of the cake, swirling the icing to form softened peaks. Work quickly as the icing sets rapidly. Leave to set in a cool place, but not in the fridge. Decorate with the caramelised walnuts.
Recipe from The Great British Bake Off
Other recipes from week 1
Inspired to keep going? We’ve put together a few links to the other famous recipes from Cake Week.
- Try Nadiya’s quadruple chocolate Black Forest gateau
- Keep it simple with Marie’s zingy citrus Madeira cake
- Take flavour inspiration from the Middle East with Tamal’s pistachio and rose Madeira cake
Episode 2: Recipes from Biscuits week
Biscuits look innocent enough, but we all know from watching just how tricky they can be. If you’re not in the mood for something so heavy as a cake, skip straight to the recipes from week two and whip up a batch of biscuits your friends and family will love.
The technical challenge: Paul’s Arlettes
For the dough:
- 60g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 60g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 40g unsalted butter, melted
- 50ml cold water
For the butter layer:
- 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 25g strong white bread flour
- 25g plain flour
For the filling:
- 50g granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- icing sugar for dusting
What to do
- Put the flours, salt, butter and water into a bowl and gently mix to an even dough with your fingers. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. Shape the dough into a square, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour (or freeze for 20 – 30 minutes).
- For the butter layer, cream the butter and flour together. Sandwich the mixture between 2 sheets of cling film and roll out to a rectangle the same width as the square of dough, but twice as long. Chill in the fridge for 25 minutes.
- Place the chilled butter sheet, short end facing towards you on a lightly floured surface and place the square of dough in the centre of the butter sheet. Make sure it is positioned neatly and covers almost to the edges. Lift the exposed butter sheet at the top and fold it down over the dough, then fold the exposed butter sheet at the bottom up over the top, so the dough is completely enclosed in the butter sheet.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, short end towards you. Roll out to a rectangle, keeping the edges as even as possible. Fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet neatly in the centre. Then fold the dough in half along the centre line. This is called a book turn. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 25 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and make another book turn. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 25 minutes.
- For the filling, mix the granulated sugar and the cinnamon together in a bowl. On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to a rectangle as before and sprinkle over the sugar.
- Make another book turn to incorporate the sugar, then roll out the pastry 1cm thick, to a rectangle 12cm x 20cm. Roll up the pastry from the short end like a swiss roll. Wrap in cling film and chill for 25 minutes.
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Trim the ends of the roll and cut into 8 x 1cm slices. Dust the work surface heavily with icing sugar and roll each piece of dough out very thinly, turning to coat in the sugar and to prevent sticking.
- Place the biscuits on 2 baking sheets lines with silicon sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the biscuits and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe from the Great British Bake Off
Other recipes from week 2
Need more for your biscuit tin? Here’s a few other links to the best recipes from Biscuit Week.
- Try Ian’s zingy orange, rosemary and almond biscotti – perfect with a cup of coffee!
- Or, go the savoury route with Sandy’s sun-dried tomato cheese & Parmesan sandwich biscuits
- For incredibly aromatic flavour, whip up a batch of Nadiya’s coconut, fennel and pistachio biscotti
Are you tempted to try any of the bakes from Episode 1 & 2? Let us know in the comments below!
Also take a look at our weekly Great British Bake Off Poll and vote for who you think should win