Bake Off Bake Along | Week 1 - Cakes

It's here, it's here, we're finally back watching the Bake Off. As soon as that music started last week it literally made my heart so happy. And without knowing it, I was so engrossed in the first episode that I couldn't tweet during the show - which happened last year too!

So you probably already know, but this year I'm baking along with the show, but with Amanda and we're going to be picking our favourites of your bakes each week and at the end of the series - where there will be a prize! You can find Amanda's post here if you want to see what she's got up to this week. The link up is at the bottom if you'd like to see other's posts too!

Anyway lets get on with it shall we?

Cake week - arguably the easiest and the hardest, easy to do but easy to mess up as well.

Despite popular choice on the Twitter and Instagram #bakealongbakeoff I decided to go with the technical challenge, giving the madeira cake a swerve. I like big tall cakes, and I liked the idea of testing out my skills with caramel, and that boiled icing. I found the recipe here, and by the looks of it, it's the same one used on the show.

The cake itself is a standard sponge with gorgeous chunks of walnut in. The recipe calls for three layers made in three 8inch cake pans... I only have two so had to do a quick turn around when the first two sponges came out of the oven but that's nothing I've not had to deal with before.

Whilst the sponges were cooling, I set about making the caramel, which I've never done with just sugar and water before but I'm convinced it's impossible to burn this. The recipe explicitly says 'on a low heat', which I used and it took about 15 mins from start to finish to get the golden colour. The recipe also says to use a silicon mat to leave your walnuts to cool, which again I don't have so I used a bit of greaseproof paper which worked perfectly, and none of the walnuts stuck to!

Then once the final sponge was out of the oven, I set about making the buttercream for the layers - a very simple buttercream, so there's not much to say there - and the boiled white icing for the outside of the cake.

The pictures below make the cake look very anaemic, which I can totally admit to. I decided to let the icing set overnight before taking photos and that happened, however before the icing was really glossy and looked amazing. I don't think I did the icing completely correctly though, as I don't have a hand or electric whisk (I know, who even am I?) so had to kind of improvise a bit using the whisk attachment in the bowl above the pan of hot water. Ideally I'd like to try getting this right so I'm going to head out this week and buy a cheap handwhisk. Problem solved.

Overall I don't think I did too badly, all the elements are certainly there, the cake just looks every so slightly sad - especially as the sugar has run from the walnuts. The bake itself is totally brilliant though - light, fluffy with a lovely walnutty taste throughout.

How do you think I did for the first week of the bake along? You can link up with us using the link below or post your photos on the #bakeoffbakealong hashtag. Looking forward to seeing your bakes!