Sunday, 2 September 2012

GBBO book review

I love The Great British Bake Off. It's my only 'must-watch' TV programme at the moment - no one dare phone me, text me, or even ask if I'd like a cup of tea while it's on. I applied this year, but wasn't successful - not even through to the auditions - but I still feel a little part of it ;)

I have both of the previous books to accompany series 1 and 2, and so as soon as I saw this season's 'Showstoppers' book it went straight on my bookshelf.

All three books have had different approaches while retaining the joy of the competition, lots of recipes, and new ideas. In this year's book, the challenge theme is announced (such as hidden picture cakes), with the basic recipe given. Then there are three alternative ways to tackle the challenge, ranging in difficulty. I think this is a great way to reach new bakers and the old hands - something for everyone. I was happy to see that I'd already attempted the first variation of the hidden picture cake challenge - a chocolate marbled cake - which means I can go straight on to attempt either the chess board cake, or the marzipan heart. Watch this space to see which I try...

There are lots of hints, tips, and advice, with great intros to each section, and surprise gems of knowledge throughout. I've already learned lots of handy tips to put into practice. I particularly liked the info about icing, and how to approach royal icing and sugar paste, things that I haven't gone near as they've always been a bit daunting.

The book follows the flow of ther TV series, and it's full of photos of the contestants, recipes from the show mingling with new and old favourites, and they hint at successful bakes from the show without ruining the surprise of who wins master baker in that episode. The only negative thing I can say is a personal bugbear about many recipe books, and that is including recipes without photographs. I think especially with a baking book this is vital, and as a novice/beginner baker I am always a little reluctant to try something new without having a clue what it's supposed to look like - how can you judge whether you've done it right?

Aztec cookies
I've already made one recipe from the book - Aztec cookies (page 96). These were absolutely delicious - made with melted dark chocolate (it's meant to be dark chocolate with espresso, but my local shops didn't have any, so I stirred in some ground espresso instead), plus chunks of white chocolate too. Very adult cookies. They're sprayed with gold dust in the book, but as this wasn't a bake to go on show, I missed that out, and they were no less delicious for it.


  1. I saw this book in Tesco for £8.86 and had to restrain myself from buying it. It will definetly be going on my birthday list as it looked utterly brilliant!
    Your biscuits look scrumptious!

  2. Camilla you should definitely buy it - and definitely make these cookies, they are divine!!


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