My Great British Baking Show Challenge!

I recently finished watching the entire first season of The Great British Baking Show. I generally dislike cooking/baking reality shows, but this one is everything I could ever want. I love the hosts and the contestants; it’s not overly competitive or sensational; and it’s amongst home bakers, who I can actually relate to.

I feel so inspired to do more baking, and to challenge myself to try different recipes and techniques. When I saw that a number of the recipes from the show are available online, I knew that I had to try them.

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I decided to start with the technical challenge from Episode 1. The contestants all made judge Mary Berry’s Classic Cherry Cake with Lemon Icing. There were a few challenges along the way, including getting the cakes out of the bundt pans, making candied cherries, caster sugar, and self-rising flour, and perfecting the consistency of the icing.

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If you’d like to see how I did, check out the video!

Here’s the recipe, from Mary Berry. I’ll copy it down below, in case the link isn’t permanent. Just remember to generously butter your pan!

Cherry Cake with Drizzle Icing

Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) red glace cherries (see notes below)
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour (see notes below)
  • 175g (6oz) softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar (see notes below)
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 50g (1¾oz) ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • For the decoration:
  • 175g (6oz) icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 15g (½oz) flaked almonds, toasted
  • 5 red glace cherries (quartered)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters. Set aside five of the quartered cherries for the decoration later. Put the rest of the quartered cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper and toss in two tablespoons of the flour.
  3. Measure all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for two minutes to mix thoroughly. Lightly fold in the cherries. Turn into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until well risen, golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
  5. For the icing, mix the icing sugar together with the lemon juice to a thick paste. Drizzle over the cooled cake using the back of a spoon, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and reserved cherries.

Notes:
This recipe makes candied cherries from maraschino cherries. I used it as a guide for candying my jarred cherries. This is a recipe for candying fresh cherries.

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This article explains how to make your own self-rising flour.

If you don’t have caster sugar, you can pulse granulated sugar in the food processor until it’s a little finer. Then measure out the 175 grams.

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