All rise for national baking week
12:00pm Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
WHETHER your cake is a calamity or your souffle's supreme, Britain's love affair with baking just keeps on growing.
National Baking Week's bake sale challenge is the perfect excuse to get stuck in, says Andy Welch.
There's a whole lot of baking going on.
You've probably noticed, whether it's work colleagues bringing in home-made treats every Friday, or Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry explaining to Great British Bake Off contestants about developing gluten or commenting on "good crumbs" as well as "soggy bottoms".
The British have always loved a piece of cake - we even invented elevenses and afternoon tea so we could enjoy a couple more slices - while bread is one of our most-eaten foods, with around 12 million loaves being sold in the UK every day.
More than five million viewers regularly tune in to watch The Great British Bake Off since it arrived in a puff of icing sugar in 2010.
We're copying what we're watching, too. Waitrose recently reported that Bake Off had been 'whipping up demand' for baking products such as butter, sugar and flour, following an episode which saw contestants tasked with baking biscuits.
Pastry was also being snapped up by shoppers, when any baker worth their salt should really be making their own.
The supermarket went as far as saying the rise in popularity of baking had helped contribute to a 12% increase in profits.
With National Baking Week on the horizon (October 14 to 20), it's the perfect time to join the cake party, if you haven't already.
The idea is to organise a bake sale in your workplace, college or school to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH). It's sponsored by baking stalwarts Billington's, Just Milk, Stork, Kenwood, Jus Rol and Nielsen Massey, and organisers are hoping to stir up lots of interest, with thousands of budding bakers rising to the occasion.
If the surge in baking popularity seen in recent years is anything to go by, that shouldn't be too difficult.
"Home baking had a resurgence with the recession, a time when we all wanted to be a bit more frugal," says Rich Amon who, along with Eddie Lebeau, make up the Tattooed Bakers.
The duo are taking part in an elaborate pop-up shop in London to mark National Baking Week, helping to create a 100% edible 'Baketopia' - an idea cooked up by Miss Cakehead, famed for her creative, outlandish works of baked art.
Lebeau adds that baking can be less daunting for aspiring home cooks due to the scientific nature of the recipes, leaving out the ambiguity of 'normal' cooking instruction.
"If you're not confident, it's good knowing there's an accurate way to follow a recipe, and knowing someone has done the hard work for you and written down all the measurements," she says.
Does she have any tips for this year's bake sales? "Bright-coloured icing. Works every time and will draw you loads of customers, so either eye-catching icing or buttercream. Whatever you do, make it look pretty."
Here are three recipes, devised by Bake Off's 2012 winner John Whaite for National Baking Week, to get you started.
:: Salted caramel Swiss roll (Serves 6-8)
For the sponge:
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
75g plain flour
15g cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
½tsp baking powder
For the filling:
125g light muscovado sugar
75ml double cream
75g butter at room temperature
½tsp salt Preheat the oven to 200C.
Grease and line the Swiss roll tin.
Place the sugar, eggs and vanilla into a mixing bowl and whisk using a hand mixer until it has tripled in volume, and clings for a few seconds then drips in a steady stream when the whisk is lifted out.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the mix and then gently fold in with a spatula until well incorporated.
Carefully pour this into the prepared tin and level off with a spatula, before baking in the preheated oven for eight to 10 minutes, or until evenly risen and the sponge springs back when gently touched.
Remove from the oven. Dust a piece of baking paper with cocoa powder, onto which invert the freshly baked sponge and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the muscovado sugar and cream into a saucepan and heat over a medium/high heat until the sugar dissolves. This forms your caramel sauce.
Allow to bubble for a minute or two, before pouring onto a large plate to cool.
When cool (and it's important that it is completely cool), beat the butter in a bowl then slowly whisk in the caramel sauce until thick and well incorporated, and then add the salt.
Smooth the filling over the cooled sponge, leaving just a centimetre or two at one of the shorter ends. Then roll up the sponge along the length, into a tight spiral, forming a Swiss roll.
Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes (Serves 12)
For the cake:
60g smooth peanut butter
125g caster sugar
75g seedless raspberry jam
150g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
For the topping:
45g smooth peanut butter
200g icing sugar
6tsp seedless raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a deep 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases. To make the cake batter, simply place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together either with an electric whisk or wooden spoon.
When well combined, divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting, simply place the butter and peanut butter into a mixing bowl and beat until very smooth. Add the icing sugar and stir gently then, when incorporated, whisk well to add some air.
To finish the cupcakes, place the frosting into a piping bag and snip off the end to create a hole of about 1cm in diameter. Pipe two concentric circles (one inside the other) around the edge of the cupcakes, leaving a little hole in the middle. Into that hole, gently spoon half a teaspoon of the jam - to make it easier to spoon, beat the jam with a spoon in a cup or little mug before using.
Brioche galette (Serves 8-10)#
250g white bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
30g caster sugar
150g egg (about 3)
For the creme patissiere:
1tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
3 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
For the fruit topping:
1 large apple, Braeburn or Cox are best
10-15 large blackberries
1 egg, beaten to glaze
6tbsp apricot jam
Icing sugar to dust
First, make the brioche dough. Place the flour and salt into a bowl and blend together. If you have an electric or stand mixer, use the dough hook. Then add the yeast and caster sugar and blend that through too.
Beat the eggs with 20ml of the milk, and add to the bowl. Knead for at least 15 minutes until the dough is extremely stretchy.
Slowly add the butter, piece by piece, still mixing. It should take around five minutes to incorporate the butter. When done, carry on mixing until the dough is smooth, silky and very stretchy.
Place the dough onto a baking tray, and wrap tightly with cling film. Place into the fridge overnight, or for at least 12 hours.
To make the creme patissiere, place the rest of the milk and vanilla into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Allow to come to the boil.
As the milk heats, quickly whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then whisk in the cornflour.
Pour half of the boiling milk onto the egg mixture and whisk immediately and rapidly. Then pour this back into the pan with the remaining half of the milk and place back onto the heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to the boil and becomes very thick.
When thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon - removing the pan from the heat to test - scrape the creme patissiere onto a large plate and immediately cover with cling film. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate until needed.
When the brioche dough has rested overnight, flour the worktop and then roll out into a large disk of about 10 inches in diameter.
Remove the creme patissiere from the fridge and with a wooden spoon vigorously knock it back, beating it to a smooth custard.
Spread or pipe the beaten creme patissiere onto the brioche disk, leaving a good inch around the edge.
Peel, core and quarter the apple, then slice it very finely, using a mandolin if you have one. Place this onto the creme patissiere in a spiral pattern then halve the blackberries and dot them around.
Gently crimp the edges of the brioche by pulling a little outwards, then sticking it to the edge on the left, continuing the process all the way round.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Meanwhile, allow the brioche pizza to rest until the edges have puffed up and almost doubled in size.
Egg-wash the edges and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the exposed brioche is a deep golden colour.
Heat the apricot jam with three tablespoons of water, pass through a sieve then use to glaze the hot, freshly baked brioche. Cool, then finish with a generous dusting of icing sugar.
Three of the best Baking ingredients :: Tate And Lyle Fair Trade Golden Caster, £1.99 for 700g, Tesco Better for baking than bleached, refined sugar and will give all your cakes or meringues a rich, slight molasses note. An easy way to pack more flavour, and it's Fair Trade too.
:: Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, £5.99 for 118ml, Ocado Don't baulk at the price - a little goes a long way and it's much cheaper than fresh vanilla pods. This paste is an excellent way to give a professional sheen to your sweet sauces and bakes.
:: Allinson Dried Active Baking Yeast, 65p for 125g, Sainsbury's Get the perfect rise every time. Needs weighing, unlike the varieties that come in 7g sachets, but if you're going to be baking a lot, this small tin makes much more sense.
:: National Baking Week runs from October 14 to 20. For more information visit www.nationalbakingweek.co.uk
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