GBBO – Episode 8

I watched episode 8 with my mum last week but have been so busy with a small boy’s birthday that I am only just writing up my thoughts now.

My mum is supporting Tamal, and I think I am too. It’s interesting that none of the bakers have been consistently brilliant, and of the remaining bakers only Flora hasn’t won a technical or achieved star baker. I wonder what that means for who will win?

Cream horns. Not something I plan to bake soon (I’m seeing a theme…). I loved that Mary said she wanted them filled all the way to the bottom, just like she wanted the vol-au-vents well filled. But it did seem a bit like the first round was more about flavours than baking.

I’m also sure that in previous series of GBBO, bakers haven’t been so sure about puff pastry and yet this year they can all produce it with their eyes closed! GBBO has clearly taught the nation more about baking.

Ok, seriously, making an eclair tower?! At least there was some room for error as they were given a two-hour lunch break in which they would see whether or not their creations would stay standing. I appreciate that they were a little mean in doing this but as they said, the real ones are expected to stay standing for a few hours.

And moving onto my baking experiences in the last week. I made a simple traybake which baked in a disposable tray and attempted to decorate it by icing digger for our son’s third birthday last week. Decoration is definitely not my strong point. Admittedly I could have tried harder by printing off a picture to use as a template!

Digger cake - from a safe distance
Digger cake – from a safe distance

He saw the cake in the morning, blew out the candles and then I cut it in half and sent half to pre-school for him to share with his friends. This was such a simple way of providing cake for pre-school! I couldn’t be bothered with icing lots of little cupcakes and this way we had some cake for home, too.

We had a family gathering on Saturday to celebrate his birthday again and for this I made his ‘proper’ birthday cake, a Thomas cake, which was surprisingly easy if a little time consuming although that might be due to my present state.

Thomas cake
Thomas cake

I’d seen a few photos online of this idea and made up how I would do it. I made two 4-egg Victoria sponge cakes. One became the base and was sliced horizontally and filled with jam to sandwich it back together. The other was sliced vertically, one half put to one side, and the other half sliced horizontally and filled with jam to be sandwiched together. I also spread jam on half of the cake so that I could stick the top part on. Then it was a case of smothering the cake in buttercream icing as I find it far easier to put it on a cake than fondant icing.

I was pretty chuffed with the outcome given I’m not very good at decorating cakes. I carefully cut a chocolate digestive biscuit to make the tunnel and used tiny pieces of fudge I found reduced in Sainsbury’s as rocks or boulders. Thomas and Harold were on lollipop sticks so that they didn’t get too much icing on them and my mum suggested putting cocktail sticks around them so that they didn’t fall off when we moved it! Simple but effective.



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