Happy days! The Great British Bake Off is back for another season.
Do you know about this show? Twelve amateur bakers from Britain get together each weekend in a big tent to complete baking tasks set by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Two the first day (the signature and the technical challenge), one more on the second (the showstopper challenge). Each bake is judged and critiqued and at the end of the second day, one baker is eliminated until there are three left for the final.
There is no yelling. The competitors do not backstab or form cliques, they are supportive and they help each other. The hosts (Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins) are goofy fun. It is GRIPPING entertainment.
There is some baking history interspersed between the competition and backstory on the contestants. Apparently, the show is responsible for a rise (ha ha) in sales of baking ingredients and utensils.
I stumbled over the existence of this show when I bought a cookbook called The Great British Book of Baking that contained a good looking recipe for Victoria Sandwich Cake. The front cover included the line “To accompany the first BBC series of The Great British Bake Off”. “What’s that?”, I wondered. The research lead me to this show and I’ve been addicted ever since.
To celebrate the return of this amazing show for another season, here’s a cake that would typically be made in the Bake Off tent. In fact, a drizzle cake was the first challenge this year and was the winning showstopper challenge from last year’s finale. Let’s hope that Mary and Paul approve.
On your marks, get set, BAKE!
Lemons are necessary.
British recipe, so many of the ingredients need to be weighed.
Add the butter to the sugar.
A double-yolked egg snuck into the carton.
Loads of lemon zest.
Mix those together.
Self-raising flour: 1 cup flour + 1-1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt.
Pour in the dry ingredients.
Add the milk.
Ready for baking.
While the cake is cooling, make the drizzle.
Do not add the lemon seeds to the sugar.
(I heated this on the stove for about 5 minutes to be sure that the sugar dissolved.)
Aerate the cake.
Pour all the drizzle over.
All the drizzle is in/on the cake.
Lemon Drizzle Cake.
So tasty and moist… this cake will take me into the second round for sure.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Makes 1 medium cake
This is one of the simplest cakes to make, but also one of the most irresistible, for it is very lemony. All the ingredients for the cake mixture are mixed together at the same time – this is sometimes called an all-in-one cake method – and the lemon juice and sugar topping is spooned on to the cake straight after baking. It’s important for a smooth mixture that the butter is very soft, but not runny, and that the eggs and milk are at room temperature. Look out for unwaxed lemons for the very best flavour.
For the Cake Mixture:
200g unsalted butter, very soft, but not runny
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten
finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
100ml milk, at room temperature
For the Topping:
100g caster sugar
juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon
a 20cm springclip tim or deep round cake tin, greased with butter and lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the soft butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric food mixer. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then pour in the milk. Beat with a wooden spoon, or an electric whisk or food mixer on medium speed, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and completely smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake in the heated oven until the cake is a good golden brown and firm and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Mix the sugar with the lemon juice and zest to make a runny glaze. As soon as the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and stand the tin on a wire cooling rack. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cocktail stick, then quickly spoon the lemon topping over so that it trickles down into the holes. Leave to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin and discarding the lining paper. Serve cut into thick slices.