The Great British Bake Off: Bake Along Technical Challenge Week 1

August is my favourite time of year. When you get the sunshine and heat; it’s great. As a school teacher, I get a nice long relaxing break. You have long nights, cocktails, beach trips and best of all, The Great British Bake Off. 

For anyone who may not know about this, The GBBO is the best TV show. Period. It’s all about amateur bakers competing to be the Star Baker. No prize, no reward other than that title. A simple competition over whose dough is the best. It makes for great TV.

This year, I thought I’d get involved at home. I am in no way the best amateur baker in the country; not even close. But I do have a definite love for baking, and figured I’d give it my best shot.

The aim of this series is to try and attempt the technical challenges in each weeks episode (where possible). Obviously, some things will be completely out of my league (3 tier cakes, anyone?) so in that instance I’ll make something else from the shoe. Sounds easy, right?

That’s what I thought when I sat down with my cup of tea to watch last weeks episode. For the first technical challenge of the series, they were making Jaffa Cakes.

Now, I do love a Jaffa Cake. I’ve never made them before, but I’ve eaten a fair few so that surely gives me a little advantage?

It started off so well. I made the packet jelly up and put it in the fridge to set, made the sponge cakes easily enough. I had everything under control. Then the issues started. Trying to get jelly circles out of jelly is harder than it sounds, because it’s jelly. The wibbly-wobbly kind that comes from the rhyme, that didn’t want to be moulded into a circle.

As you can see from the above image, it didn’t want to rest on the cakes without sliding around. I actually ended up cutting some of the tops of the cakes off slightly just to create a little pouch for it to rest on (I’d fully recommend you do this, by the way. It makes life that much easier).

And trying to cover it in chocolate without the chocolate melting the jelly or sliding down the sides was a nightmare. Because the chocolate was warm and the jelly cold, as soon as the chocolate touched the jelly it started to harden, which made spreading it over the top rather difficult.

And this is probably one of the more simple technical challenges of the show.

I was actually quite impressed with the finished product. They look a little sloppy (and for a perfectionist like myself this is disappointing), but my husband assures me they taste as good as the ones I buy in the shop.

And generally speaking, they don’t taste too bad either! My only criticism is you can’t taste the Orange jelly very much. I think you need to include some orange juice in the jelly to enhance the flavour a little more.

You can find the recipe below; have a go and see what you think! Send me pictures of your finished product!

Mary Berry’s Jaffa Cakes

For the jelly

  • 135g packet orange jelly
  • finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 150ml boiling water

For the sponge

  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g self raising flour, sifted

For the topping

  • 180g plain chocolate, 46% cocoa solids

1 – For the jelly, break the jelly into pieces and place in a small bowl. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the jelly is completely dissolved. Add the orange zest, then pour into a shallow 30cm x 20cm tray. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour until set.
2 – Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan160C/Gas 4 and grease a 12 hole, shallow bun tin with butter. Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 – 5 minutes until pale and fluffy, then gently fold in the flour.
3 – Fill each well in the bun tin three quarters full with the cake batter. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until well risen and the top of the sponges spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for a few minutes then finish cooling on a wire rack.
4 – To assemble, break the chocolate into pieces then melt in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool & thicken slightly.
5 – Turn the jelly out onto a sheet of non stick baking parchment. Cut 12 discs from the orange jelly using a 5cm round cutter. Sit one jelly disc on top of each sponge.
6 – Spoon the melted chocolate over the jelly discs and leave to set slightly. Using a fork create a criss cross pattern on top of the chocolate, then leave to set completely.

Have fun!!


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