We had a summer themed charity Bake Off at work. I procrastinated (as is usual for me these days) with the Cakebook Challenge and put off my baking. I need to get back into baking through the book. I’ve lost so much time! But I digress. So at work we had, what I’d call a charity bake sale. The theme was summer. So I thought what would be better than a watermelon cake eh?
I thought it would be really cool to decorate a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and make it look like a watermelon. I thought that putting in chocolate chips would make the chips look like the pips. The idea is that when you sliced the cake, it’d look like a real watermelon because the inside would be red and the chocolate chips would look like pips and the whole thing would resemble half a watermelon. Or so I thought. I may have gone a bit overboard with the red food colouring and it turned out to be a really dark red. I had a little batter leftover so I thought I’d make a few ice cream cone cupcakes.
I got second prize for best tasting cake. But the afterthought cakes aka the ice cream cone cakes won best decorated! Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the ice cream cone cakes. I must make them again. Soon. After I surface from the Cakebook Challenge!
Can I just say though that sometimes I wish it was easier to transport cakes to work. There has to be an easier way…but that entails spending a shedload of cash on a car. Sigh.
Out of the blue over a month ago, I got asked if I wanted to be on the pilot of the after show of what is quite possibly my favourite TV show to date: the Great British Bake Off (silent scream – yes it still affects me that way!). For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), which is now in its fifth season, is a reality TV show competition for bakers. There are 12 bakers and each week they have a theme and they bake a signature bake, a technical bake and a show stopper and each week someone is awarded star baker and someone bakes their last bake. At the end of 12 weeks (and 36 bakes) you have the winner of the Great British Bake Off. I credit GBBO for the resurgence in my drive to bake better.
GBBO was such a hit that the bigwigs at the BBC thought it was necessary to move it from BBC2 to BBC1. They also thought it would be good to raise the profile further by creating a post-show show, ala The Apprentice: You’re Fired. I thought it was an excellent idea. The more Bake Off the merrier, I say!
I had thought that that phone call was the end of it. I couldn’t do the shoot of the pilot and I thought I’d lost my chance to appear on the GBBO aftershow. But I got a call two weeks ago asking if I wanted to be part of the next episode of Extra Slice. Of course I did and of course I said yes (of course!!!)! The brief was to bring cookies and bring cookies I did! I brought Chinese almond cookies.
I so wanted to tell the world and his wife about the impending TV appearance but I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue. Apart from everything being hush-hush and secret, I wasn’t even sure I’d get to see myself on camera. Also, it had a lot to do with the confidentiality agreement that I signed before we went down to shoot the episode. It was the closest I was going to get to the Bake Off (for the meantime!) and I was determined NOT to mess it up.
The day started off with a lot of rain and me and my curly hair! Ha! But nothing, even torrential rain (which it wasn’t really. Everything was just a little gray that Sunday), could dampen my excitement. I was going to be able to watch the next episode of my favourite TV show ever (ahead of most people) and I was going to get to see one of my favourite ladies of comedy for the very first time, in person! Jo Brand hosts An Extra Slice! Yay!
It wasn’t as if I didn’t know what TV production was like. I’d been to a few sets in my time (mostly school field trips) but I was unabashedly starstruck. Mostly because it was GBBO. It was good getting to chat to people who loved the show as much as I did and who loved baking as much as I did! Being in the ITV Studios was part of the excitement. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t take as many photos as I could! D’oh and the accompanying face slap!
While it wasn’t the GBBO baking tent, it was close enough. There’s something to be said about GBBO magic. There was a massive bonus though: Lisa Faulkner and Monica Galetti were two-thirds of the celebrity trio that joined Jo Brand. I love Lisa Faulkner from when she cooked her way into winning MasterChef and while Monica Galetti scares me, she’s quite an amazing chef and I am a fan! Charlie Baker rounded of the three and let me just say that he has lost a massive amount of weight from when he danced into winning Let’s Dance for Comic Relief!
It took about 3 hours to shoot the 30-minute TV show and I got home at nearly midnight. Was I bothered? Nope. Absolutely not. The three hours were filled with a lot of aughter and amazing entertainment. The guys at Love Production do an amazing job and the finished product is amazing (especially since I saw myself on telly — all of the two nano seconds! Ha!)! The experience of waiting around for everything to start wasn’t so bad either because getting a chance to chat to people, see what their bakes were, get inspired by other people’s creativity is something you can’t buy! Even talking about the experience now makes me smile.
I hope they call me again. I want to get a chance to bake a heck of a showstopper! But if I don’t get a call back, I’ll still look back on the whole experience with a huge smile. It was amazing. VERY.
I can’t upload the video because my account needs to be upgraded before I’m able to do that (I probably should have uploaded it onto YouTube. But you can view a bit o it on my Instagram account, if you want to! Just click here.
I love it when a plan comes together! I managed to tick off 2 recipes from the book.
I made blueberry “fruit goo” (page 34). It was necessary because the fruit goo was going to be the topping and filling for the cupcake recipe I was going to attempt. The recipe was so very generous and there is still half a jar of the fruit goo in my fridge.
The cupcake recipe I attempted today was the blueberry cheesecake cupcake (page 62). I haven’t been able to taste it because I’ve had too much of the fruit goo and the cream cheese icing, but Alan says it tastes and smells like a cheesecake and I trust his food opinion! So it passes the Alan taste test. It was quite fun to do this though because you built up the cupcake in stages: first you had to put together the biscuit base (like any self-respecting cheesecake, this one, too, has a buttery biscuit base), then put in the cupcake batter, bake the cupcake, then fill the middle with the blueberry fruit goo (for more fruity goodness, I think), and top it with a cream cheese frosting and swirl through even more fruit goo! I had fun doing this. I really did.
So, as far as today is concerned, I only have 47 recipes to go and 22 weeks to finish cooking through the book.