Tag Archives: GBBO

Week 7: 23rd February – Raspberry Buttermilk Sponge

I got back to baking basics this weekend with a sure fire crowd pleaser from my baking repertoire. We were visiting my grandparents’ house on Sunday for my Nanny’s birthday so I set my alarm to get up extra early and bake them a fresh raspberry sponge. I’ve made this cake a few times before and it always turns out deliciously moist and fluffy so I thought it would be a good way to get back on the horse after a couple of bake-free weeks.

I got the recipe originally from the GBBO Everyday book but have since adapted it for raspberries and it’s sometimes difficult to find good quality British blackberries in the supermarket and raspberries have a similar effect.

nanny cake

150g fresh blackberries/raspberries
125g softened butter
175g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eggs (free range of course!)
100ml buttermilk
200g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

Preheat to 180 degrees.

If you’re always ill prepared like me, you’ll almost always have a big rock of butter straight from the fridge which is less than ideal when a recipe asks from softened… but if you cut off chunks to your desired weight and place them in a little bowl, microwave for 10 seconds (absolutely not a second more!) and then give a stir, then pop in for another 10 seconds and stir again. This should give perfect ‘softened butter’ consistency without melting it down to an oil slick.

Scrape this into a big mixing bowl (preferably with a silicone spatula if you have one – if you don’t have one you should buy one! Mine is from Cath Kidston, pic below) and using an electric hand mixer, combine with the caster sugar for a couple of minutes until fluffy. If you don’t have an electric mixer do not fear, just beat using brute strength!


Beat your eggs in a mugs or a bowl and add half to the mixture along with your vanilla extract. Again use your mixer to combine before adding the other half. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl down before each addition.

Now put away your electric mixer – you’ll be folding from here on in. Add a rough third of buttermilk and fold – the mixture my appear curdled and split but this isn’t a problem, just roll with it. Not add a third of the flour and fold in too. Continue until all the buttermilk and flour is combined with the rest of the mixture. Now you’ll notice it no longer looks curdle and split but lovely and creamy and delicious and ready to bake!

Line a 20cm tin (spring-form or loose bottomed at the very least) spoon in your mixture and spread evenly with the back of your dampened spatula. Stud with fresh raspberries or blackberries or both by pressing them down to that they just peep out of the surface. Now sprinkle on the golden caster sugar evenly.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes and check with a skewer. If it comes out wet and coated in sticky mixture, return to the oven and continue to check at 5 minute intervals until the skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven, slide a palette knife around the edge of your sponge and release from your tin onto a wire cooling rack. DONE!


Goats Cheese and Red Pepper Savoury Muffins

I was just flicking through some pictures on my phone and suddenly remembered these tasty treats that I must make again soon! I came across this recipe in the GBBO Everyday book last year, and I couldn’t resist having a go. I’d just started my new job at Citi and thought a good way to win favour with my new colleagues by baking them something interesting but I know that not everyone has a sweet tooth to I made raspberry shortbread and these. They went down a storm and made me lots of new friends!

cooked muffins

They make a great breakfast or you could eat one for lunch with some soup, but the best things about them in that people just aren’t used to eating a savoury muffin so everyone will be taken by surprise by how tasty they are. One guy from India who I work with had never eaten basil before and fell instantly in love with it.

Here’s the recipe I used:
100g goats’ cheese
1 medium red pepper cut into chunks
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Salt and pepper
Big handful of fresh basil chopped
225ml buttermilk
1 medium egg
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases. Crumble goats’ cheese into pieces, tear or chop your basil (not too small) and cut your pepper into chunks. I like the chunks nice and big. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl then add the red pepper, basil and cheese and mix together.

Beat the egg, buttermilk and olive oil together in a mug or a bowl with a generous pinch of salt and a splash of cayenne pepper. Pour into your dry ingredients and mix everything to combine until you have a nice rough and chunky mixture but with no dry clusters of flour. Spoon equally into muffin cases. You’ll end up with a really lumpy mixture and don’t be put off by its chunky appearance in your muffin cases as you want these to have a really rustic look and feel.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the centre of your preheated oven. Leave them to cool for a few minutes and then you can eat warm if you can’t wait!

My notes: a sprinkling of cayenne pepper is optional (I added to the recipe to give a little aftershock). I’d also advise to be generous with your salt as this will bring out the flavour of the goats cheese. Don’t scrimp on the basil either – this adds a lovely streak of colour beside the red peppers and of course a beautiful flavour.

prebaked muffins

Et voila, why not try these and wow your colleagues at the next charity bake sale.

Paul Hollywood, Delia Smith, Peyton & Byrne, GBBO: My Favourite Baking Books!

What I like to do is pick a book and stick with it. if you buy a load of different baking books you’ll find that you end up using none of them. Believe me, I’ve made this mistake in the past and now have dozens gathering dust in my hall where I’ve baked maybe only 1 or 2 recipes from them and moved on to another book. Amazon give you a good glimpse inside most books so you can get an idea of what’s on offer but the best thing to do is just go into an old fashioned bookstore and have a look through. If you work in an office that has regular visits from The Book People, then you’re in luck as they always have vast arrays of cookery books that are usually at least half price.

Peyton and Byrne’s ‘British Baking’ is a beautiful book full of lovely traditional cake and biscuit recipes that range from really quick and simple to REALLY difficult. RECOMMEND AS COFFEE TABLE BOOK. DO try and make the fig rolls. DON’T try the black forest gateau unless you’re really brave (mine looked dope, tasted wack).

Black forest gateux

Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’ is great for those with a savoury tooth – more of a bread and pies type book than cakes and biscuits but great for potential male bakers! RECOMMEND FOR BLOKES. DO try the Flamiche. DON’T try the homemade sour dough unless you can put up with your house smelling of yeast for a few weeks.

‘Delia’s Cakes’ is the latest addition to my cookery book shelf. It’s full of recipes that are really simple to follow, but not always that simple to pull off. Great for those who sometimes find instructions a bit tricky as Delia’s writing is really black and white. RECOMMEND TO NEW BAKERS. DO try the lime and coconut cake for something a bit different. DON’T try the chocolate and almond cake unless you have time and arm muscles to do A LOT of grating.

Coconut and Lime Cake

‘Great British Bake Off: Everyday’ is a lovely book, especially if you’re a fan of the show and you’ll recognise most of the bakes from it. Contains a good range of sweet a savoury but also some really tricky stuff that you probably won’t ever end up doing! RECOMMEND TO ADVENTUROUS AND FANS OF THE SHOW. DO try the raspberry crumble shortbread. DON’T try the allotment cake; it’s just silly.

Whichever camp you fall into, I would definitely recommend choosing a strategy…

If you think you fit into the category of ‘occasional baker’ I suggest that you tear up a piece of A4 paper into about 20-30 strips, flick through and mark all of the recipes that you’d like to eventually have a go at in your chosen book. You can colour the tips with a highlighter to distinguish sweet or savoury. This way you avoid the ‘recipe book porn’ session that is bound to ensue if you pick a book cleanly from your shelf with no idea what you’re going to make. I have several books that are marked in this way, so when I want to make something I can pick it up and flick straight to a page with something yummy looking on it.

If you see yourself as a potential ‘dedicated baker’ or if you’re just incredibly regimented and obsessively organised like me you can use my latest strategy. Buy yourself a cheap notebook (I’ve got a pukka pad) and label the first 12 pages with the months of the year. Next you’ll need a postit pad and your chosen recipe book. Flick through the book at random and stick a postit note on each page with a date range (I’ve used weeks so it’s used 52 recipes from my book). As you stick a postit into the book, note the page number and date range in your note pad. Obviously feel free to skip over recipes that you don’t like the look of or miss weeks where you think you might not have enough time for baking. You can also slot special recipes into your note pad too from other books for occasions like birthdays, Easter, Christmas etc. I’ve even scheduled world-cup-cakes in for June! You need to be pretty well disciplined to stick to this method but don’t feel guilty if you fall slack now and again. You also have to be able to resist eating cake and biscuits all the time which is a tougher ask but if you have a hungry bunch of work colleagues who deserve the odd treat you can offload your makes pretty easily. There will be recipes in the book left over so use the bookmark and highlight technique on these and if you ever feel like making something extra, these are your go-to recipes.

Stick a postit on the page of the bake you’ve just made with notes for next time. You can comment on how successful it was and possible variations for your next try. My postit notes include – YUK! Do not try again, Could do with a bit less time in the oven, Make more icing next time, and Perfect! Don’t change a thing! Such a simple tip but it’s a great way to remember what works and what doesn’t.