Well, it’s semi final week on the Great British Bake Off. What do you think of this series? It feels more sedate to me. That’s not meant in a negative way. I mean it well. It seems to have found its way back to where it came from. I like all the contestants, there feel to be less pantomime dames. It’s a happier, less controversial place this year. I wonder if this is in anticipation of being away next year before they start again on Channel 4 in 2018? Almost like having a little good will in the bag. Anyway, who cares. I’ve been working with Aldi and I have an amazing chocolate cake complete with chocolate collar that we made to celebrate all the wonderful Team GB medal wins. But you could adapt it for any ocassion – there are instructions on how to write any message into the collar. Yes, I love you all that much. There’s even a video:
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available through Amazon).
One year ago: Sweet potato and mushroom chilli, Toffee apples, Peach, tea and white chocolate traybake, Milk, tea and honey cupcakes, Chocolate lime pinata cake, Chorizo, kale and roast potato traybake, Quinoa veggie burgers, Thai turkey lettuce cups, Cucumber salad and Blackberry and pear crumble.
Two years ago: Lemon cheesecake, Ginger and Caramac version, Peanut butter pie with an Oreo crust, Double chocolate pecan pie and salted caramel traybake, a Traditional Christmas pud and Parkin for Bonfire night
- For the medals:
- • 225g salted butter, softened
- • 170g caster sugar
- • 1 tsp vanilla extract
- • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- • 1 large egg
- • Ribbon/string
- • 85g icing sugar
- • 10mls cold water
- For the cake:
- • 200g dark chocolate, broken into squares
- • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
- • 160g soft butter
- • 120g caster sugar
- • 200g almonds, ground in a food processor until fine
- For the ganache icing:
- • 100mls double cream
- • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- For the collar:
- • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- • 50g white chocolate, finely chopped
First make the medals. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick greaseproof paper. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy using an electric mixer or wooden spoon. Adding a little at a time, gently beat in the flour until well combined. Mix in the egg to bind the mixture. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1½ hours. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 3/4cm thick using a floured rolling pin. Using a 4 - 5cm-wide circular cookie cutter, cut xx circles from the dough. Place the circles on the lined baking sheets about 2cm apart. Then find something that is just smaller than the cutter that you used – either a smaller cutter or a glass– and lightly press down on the centre of each button to make an indent. Do not press hard enough to cut through the dough. Use a skewer or the end of a straw to make a little hole at the top of each biscuit (through which you will thread ribbon or string through after baking) and then chill on the baking sheets for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 6. Bake the biscuits for 10–12 minutes in the middle of the oven until just starting to brown at the edges. Remove the buttons from the trays and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once they are completely cool, thread the biscuits with ribbon or string and then mix together the icing sugar with a drop of water until it is very thick but pipeable. Spoon into a piping bag with a fine nozzle and pipe xx number ‘1’s, xx number ‘2’s and xx number ‘3’s. Leave to set. Make the cake next. Preheat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas mark 2. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round, loose springform cake tin. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second blasts or use the bain marie method, stir and set aside to cool. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside. Then in a separate bowl beat the yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until light and fluffy – about 7 minutes by hand or 4 in an electric mixer. Add the dark chocolate and give it another good beating until well combined. Take a third of the egg whites and use a spatula to stir into the chocolate cake mixture. You are aiming to loosen the mixture so simply stir well rather than fold. Then when that third has disappeared take the rest of the egg whites and fold into the mixture using large slicing motions with a metal spoon. When all traces of egg white are gone pour/spoon into the tins and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the top has risen and started to crack a little. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before very carefully removing from the tin to full cool. Do not worry if the cake sinks a little upon cooling. (NB: this cake is fragile to remove from the tins with care or it will break). Make the ganache icing by scalding the double cream in a large saucepan, then removing from the heat and stirring in the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth then leave to cool and thicken. Once the cakes are completely cool use the chocolate ganache to sandwich the cakes together. Then use it to ice the outside of the cake. Make the chocolate collar by taking a large piece of non-stick baking parchment and marking out the circumference of the cake and also the height of the collar (about 2cm higher than the cake) in pencil, then writing on it (again in pencil) ‘Well done Team GB!’. Turn the baking parchment over so that the pencil side is on the counter. Do make sure you write the letters at least 3cm in diameter otherwise the chocolate will spread and the letters will be illegible. Temper your dark chocolate by melting 2/3rds of it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water until it is almost all melted, then begin to stir. Once completely melted, remove from the heat, add the rest of the chocolate and stir until it thickens and cools to just lower than body temperature. (Check with your finger – it should feel slightly cooler than you). Set aside. Melt the white chocolate and allow it to cool a little and thicken before placing in a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Use it to trace over the pencil writing. Once it has lightly ‘set’ carefully spoon over the tempered dark chocolate, ensuring the base of the collar is at the base of the paper (otherwise once it sets later the paper can be tricky to remove if it has set under the cake). Let the chocolate cool a little, though not completely or it will not bend around the cake. Carefully wrap the collar around the cake, leave to cool and harden completely, then remove the baking parchment. Arrange the medals on the top and serve!
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