From soggy bottoms to pastry palaces, Bake Off fever is in full swing and we can’t get enough of it.
As the semi-final approaches, we think it’s high time that we all head into the kitchen and try our very own showstoppers – maybe they’ll be worthy of a Hollywood Handshake!
To help you on your way, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite bakes that will please even the fussiest of eaters. On your marks, get set, BAKE.
- 225g Waitrose & Partners blueberries
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 orange, zest
- Pinch salt
- 60g creamy soft cheese
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 British Blacktail medium free-range egg, beaten
- 215g sheet Cooks’ Ingredients frozen shortcrust pastry, defrosted
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
1. Put the blueberries in a pan with 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp water, the orange zest and a pinch of salt. Simmer briskly until soft and jammy, about 4-5 minutes; tip into a bowl and set aside to cool, then chill. Meanwhile, mix the soft cheese, vanilla and remaining 1⁄2 tbsp maple syrup; set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6; put a large flat baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Unroll the pastry and use a knife to cut it into 4 rectangles, each about 12cm x 15cm. Transfer to a fresh sheet of baking parchment. Brush the edges of each rectangle with egg. Divide the blueberries between them (strain any excess liquid), making sure there’s a 1 1/2 cm border around the edges and piling up to one side. Add a spoonful of the soft cheese mixture on top.
3. Fold the pastry over like a book and seal the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with egg and cut a few slits to let the steam escape. Sprinkle with sugar, then slide the parchment onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, though the slices can also be served at room temperature.
- 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
- 200g Waitrose & Partners light brown soft sugar
- 3 British Blacktail medium free-range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 70g dark chocolate, melted
- 150ml buttermilk
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
For the topping:
- 200g Cooks’ Ingredients salted caramel icing
- 30g dark chocolate, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4; lightly grease a 33cm x 22cm cake tin and line with baking parchment. Using electric beaters, cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Stir in the buttermilk until combined.
2. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients; sift into the mixture and fold in until combined. Tip into the cake tin, level the top and bake for 22-25 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside and leave to cool completely in the tin.
3. For the topping, spread the icing evenly over the top, then drizzle with the melted chocolate. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then slice into squares to serve.
- 80g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- 150g digestive biscuits
- 5 KitKat Original bars, split into 10 fingers
- 150ml whipping cream
- 150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 180g tub Philadelphia soft cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- 100g Greek natural strained yogurt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1. Grease the base and sides of a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking parchment. Whizz the digestives and 4 KitKat fingers to crumbs in a food processor, then mix with the melted butter. Press evenly into the tin, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Chill while you make the filling.
2. Heat the cream in a pan to just before boiling. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and set aside for 2 minutes, then stir to combine. Meanwhile, with a wooden spoon, beat the soft cheese, icing sugar, yogurt and vanilla together until combined. Mix into the chocolate-cream mixture, a large spoonful at a time, until combined.
3. Tip the chocolate mixture over the base and smooth the top, then chill for at least 6 hours but ideally overnight. To serve, lift the cheesecake from the tin and remove the parchment, then place on a serving plate. Decorate with the remaining 6 KitKat fingers before serving.
- 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 150g golden granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp for topping
- 2 British Blacktail free-range medium eggs
- 150ml light olive oil
- 125ml Rude Health almond drink
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 180g fresh cherries, halved and pitted (or 150g frozen cherries, defrosted and halved)
- 30g flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6; line 10 holes of a 12-hole muffin tin with Cooks’ Ingredients muffin cases (leave the 2 centre holes empty). Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. In a jug, whisk together the eggs and oil, then whisk in the almond drink and extract. Gently stir into the dry ingredients until just combined, then stir through the cherries. Divide between the muffin cases and top with the flaked almonds and remaining 1 tbsp sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and risen.
3. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve once cool or store for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Recipes and photography courtesy of Waitrose & Partners. Thousands of recipes can be found at www.waitrose.com/recipes.