Great British Bake Off pt 1
For the third year in a row, I'm going to be baking along with the Great British Bake Off technical challenges! This is something I started in 2020 as a way to have something to look forward to each week, and it's become my favorite tradition every fall. This year, I'll be doing monthly roundups instead of a dedicated post for each bake. If you want to follow along in real time you can see me baking each week on Instagram!
Here are the first 4 weeks of bakes-
Cake Week - Red Velvet Cake
This was a recipe that I've never made, but have of course heard of. I'm not a huge cake fan so I usually don't make them myself or order them if I'm at a restaurant, but I knew this was a chocolate based cake with red dye and cream cheese frosting.
I ran into my first issue when I was making the dough. Every time that I have to make something with food dye, it never seems to get as colorful as it should be! I used up the rest of my food dye and it was still pretty neutral, so unfortunately I didn't get that well-known red hue. I also did not have the correct size cake pans (mine were a bit bigger), so each cake was a little thinner than it was supposed to be.
Assembling went relatively well - I was able to slice each cake in half lengthwise to end up with 6 tiers. The cream cheese frosting was definitely my favorite part and was absolutely delicious and lucious!
Overall, I give this bake a 3/5. The cakes were a bit heavy for my taste (Dan liked how dense they were) and the color wasn't quite right. The flavor of everything together was great though! Not sure if I would make this again.
Biscuit Week - Garibaldi Biscuits
The next bake was one that I've never heard of! Also known as a "squashed fly biscuit", the Garibaldi consists of two thin biscuits with a layer of dried fruit in between. In this version, we finish with dipping it in chocolate and decorating with feathered white chocolate (which is different than white chocolate feathers...if you watched the show you know!).
I'm surprised by how much I liked this! The mixture of textures and flavors was really good, and it was so satisfying. My biscuits were a little soft and probably not the correct size (I couldn't find a ruler and my estimating abilities is horrible), but I'm still really happy with them. Plus, they look so pretty even if they aren't super consistent. Overall I'll give this a 4/5.
Bread Week : Pain Aux Raisins
I always say that Bread Week is when it seems like the competition really starts and things get more serious, but this year was a bit of a weird one! There were no traditional bread recipes- first the bakers made pizza, then the pain aux raisins for the technical, and finished with a bread cake. It seemed to be more about the toppings than the actual bread texture. We didn't even have the drama of bread not rising which is always when things go downhill!
It was fun to make these rolls though- the dough was a full puff pastry, which means that I made a dough, then put a layer of smashed up butter on top, and did a bunch of folds to make it flaky and layered when it's cooked. I also made a custard, which I thought was an unusual taste and texture for this. But- all in all this was a pretty straightforward process that was relatively simple but time consuming. The drama happened when I put these in the oven- this was the day that we were hit with the hurricane and right as I put them in, our power went out! Luckily it was only out for about an hour so I was able to salvage them and they ended up being pretty delicious. I would give it another 4/5 for overall effort and the look of them was good! Dan thought they were a little underbaked and also didn't like the raisins.
Finally, the most recent week was Mexico Week. For the technical, the bakers made steak tacos. I decided to skip this since I don't eat meat and also didn't really feel like making tacos for the challenge. I was also doing a lot of other baking this week so I didn't really need any more baked goods in general around the house! I was debating doing one of the other challenges (pan dulces or tres leches cake) but could use a little break from the sweets...