Bake Off & Swimming Trunks

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Summer is coming to an end. I know this, not because the nights are getting a little shorter nor because the tractors are driving along our lane laden with hay barrels, but because TV is about to get much better. Strictly, X-Factor, the return of Cold Feet and most importantly Bake Off. Oh how I love Bake Off. Mary Berry’s unashamed love of a drink and cheeky reference to a soggy bottom, Paul Hollywoods eyes fluttering at the pretty young baker and the cakes, the cakes, those tempting cakes. I will be getting my bake on every Wednesday for the next few months and you will find me on the sofa with a slice of something sweet and lovely to satiate my cravings. Bake off makes autumn that little bit more palatable.

I have fully embraced Bake Off over the last few years and made a weekly cake, experimented with pastry and developed a love for home made bread. There have been the odd mishap, most notably when I created a sough dough starter and left it in the airing cupboard. Mr Clarke didn’t notice that the brown, yeasty mixture had escaped from the Tupperware box and leaked into his swimming trunks until he was in the changing rooms with no option but to wear them; much to the disapproval of the swimmer behind him.

There is something old fashioned and homely about sitting around the kitchen table and sharing a piece of cake with a cup of tea. Whoever the guest I try and bake a cake and I take great pleasure enjoying it with them. Everyone has their own way of getting the perfect sponge but here are my tips on getting your sponge just right…

The lightness of a sponge cake is determined by a number of factors. Firstly, the eggs should be organic and as absolutely fresh as possible. Fresh eggs encourage a cake to rise well, creating a light texture. Secondly, you need to incorporate as much air into the eggs as possible; the egg yolks and sugar should be beaten together initially until they are pale in colour and substantially increased in volume; the mixture should be thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when the beaters are lifted. Egg whites are similarly whisked to take in as much air as possible. Thirdly, all sponge cakes should be baked as soon as they are mixed. Finally, to check if your cake is ready, look for shrinkage around the sides and press the centre lightly with your finger tips – once cooked it should bounce back.

Take a look at our Pinterest page for Bake off and kitchen inspiration.

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