Quick Bakes Inspired by The Great British Bake Off

Quick Bakes Inspired by The Great British Bake Off

Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge – from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible

The definition of simplicity, there’s no chance of a soggy bottom with this one: all sponge ingredients are put in the bowl at the same time and beaten (anything that saves on washing up is a winner in our book!). It’s also very cheap to make: all you need is butter, sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder, eggs – and some good quality jam for the filling.

Nigella Lawson’s Madeira Cake – from How to be a Domestic Goddess

The first episode in the new series of GBBO saw contestants strive to create the perfect Madeira cake with the “best crack” (cue many-an-innuendo from Mel and Sue). While some tried to make theirs stand out through the use of gin and tonic, cardamom, thyme, etc., we reckon you can’t beat the traditional version, and Nigella’s recipe is quick, delicious and easy. After creaming the butter and sugar and adding the lemon zest, crack the eggs in one at a time with flour, squeeze in the lemon juice, put in a loaf tin, sprinkle over caster sugar and bake for an hour – simple.

Ina Garten’s Doughnuts – from Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof

Over 12 months later, we’re still thinking of the doughnut challenge from the quarter finals last year. Who could forget Luis’ “cocktail doughnuts” (including a decadent Bailey’s filling)? While it would prove hard to create some of their showstoppers in such a short timeframe (or if we were given the whole day, for that matter), Ina Garten’s recipe for quick cinnamon doughnuts is the next best thing. They only need baking for 17 minutes (yes, baking – no deep-fat fryer required!) and taste so much better than store-bought ones.

Jamie Oliver’s Walnut & Banana Loaf – from Jamie’s Great Britain

The traditional Walnut cake was featured as the first ever ‘Technical Challenge’ this year, and got us contemplating as to whether we had the time or energy to produce such a masterpiece, complete with a full covering of meringue icing. Instead, we found this easy version in one of Jamie Oliver’s books, which is baked in a loaf tin and served with a rather naughty chocolate orange butter spread. It’s also a great way of using up any overripe bananas that would have been banished to the bin.

Mima Sinclair’s Black Forest Gateau – from Mug Cakes: 40 Speedy Cakes to Make in a Microwave

We have a feeling Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood may recoil in horror at the idea of using a microwave to cook a cake; but surely it’s better than buying a shop-bought one when time is of the essence? While we’re not saying it would rival the showstoppers we saw on GBBO last week, this one only takes two minutes to “bake” and has all the necessary components of an indulgent Black Forest gateau: warm, gooey chocolate cake, whipped cream, sticky jam, chocolate curls – and let’s not forget the obligatory cherry on top.

Paul Hollywood’s Buttery Shortbread Biscuits – from How to Bake

With Biscuit Week on the agenda for this week, who better to turn to when looking for recipes than Paul Hollywood himself? These biscuits take just over an hour from start to finish, and the result is a light, buttery, crunchy, sugar-crystalled delight. Paul says you can either keep them plain or jazz them up with a handful of chocolate chips or a sprinkling of finely-chopped lavender or rosemary.

Jo Wheatley’s White Chocolate Tiffin – from A Passion for Baking

Jo Wheatley was crowned winner of the 2011 series of GBBO, and this simple recipe can be found in her first book, A Passion for Baking. They’re perfect to make in the evening and leave to set in the fridge overnight, and they can be prepared in a jiffy. The mixture of cherries, coconut, white chocolate and crushed biscuits (plus her secret ingredient of Horlicks!) makes for a mouthful of indulgent sweetness. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and take them into work – guaranteed brownie (or should that be tiffin?) points.

Miranda Gore Browne’s Plum Bread – from Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can

The clue is in the title of this recipe book – finalist from the first ever series of GBBO, Miranda Gore Browne, presents over 100 easy, fast and delicious recipes. In the introduction she says she is “always baking something, however busy I am.” And the reason she can is because she has nailed the art of speedy baking. Her plum bread is one of our favourites – perfect served warm with butter and washed down with a cup of tea. The prunes are simmered in apple juice, before adding the egg, self-raising flour, brown sugar and mixed spice, and finished off with a sprinkling of demerara sugar. Scrumptious.

With work and family commitments, it can be hard to find time to bake. However, there’s something extremely satisfying about producing a homemade cake, still warm from the oven. Have you got any quick bake recipes inspired by GBBO that you’d care to share with us?