As most of you will already know, last week The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens once more, and as with every season of the show, the good British people dusted off their cake tins and returned to our kitchens to join in the fun. My all time favourite food show, there is something really charming about the Bake Off. And judging by the excitement on my Twitter feed last week, I wasn't the only one awaiting its return.
This year the lovely folks at Silver Mushroom invited me to join their #BakeWithBakeOff challenge and cook along with a challenge from the show each week, so of course I had to get involved with episode 1's cake week theme. I'm not going to do every challenge this year (because we all know how well that turned out last time) but I will be posting some recipes when I get the chance, as well as a bit of post-show analysis on Twitter each week using #bwbo.
I'm determined to be a little more relaxed about the process this year though and try to remember that I'm not actually in the tent, but if I have any more hilarious/tragic baking fails like this one, I'm sure I'll share that with you too.
To be honest, I was a bit unimpressed by the challenges for week one. I felt like the cakes they chose (madeira, walnut cake and black forest gateau) were slightly odd choices and let the judges be overly critical on themes that let's be honest, were pretty open to interpretation. I'm sorry, but there is not a set way to ice a walnut cake. There just isn't. Not to mention when I looked up madeira cake recipes to start me off for this post, there wasn't a glaze in sight! Nevertheless, I did quite enjoy week one and it was a pretty eventful episode. I definitely have a few favourite contestants already, but that'll probably change quite a lot in the first few weeks once I've seen a little more of people.
I've started simple with this week's recipe, choosing just a little twist on the madeira cake of some warming spices (described as Christmassy by my colleagues, if that's the kind of thing you want in the middle of August...). I've never made madeira before, it's a very sturdy cake, so it'd be a great one for more adventurous decorations but for now I've topped mine with a thick orange flavoured icing, and just a sprinkling of cinnamon because, well, no-one really likes candied peel do they?
What did everyone else think of this years Bake Off contestants so far? Comment or tweet and let me know!
Spiced Orange Madeira Cake Recipe
250g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp milk
200g icing sugar
Whisk the butter and icing sugar until fluffy and well combined, then add the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour, cinnamon and ginger, slowly, then add the milk and the zest of the orange (keep the rest of the orange for later).
Grease and line a 7inch round tin (or equivalent sized loaf) then pour in your cake batter and bake at 180c for around 40 minutes, until the top has lightly browned.
Place the cake on a wire rack until completely cool.
To mix the icing, add the juice from half your orange to the icing sugar and stir to form a paste, then slowly add lukewarm water until you reach your desired consistency. Pour over the cake and dust with cinnamon. Leave the icing for at least an hour to set before serving.