After a summer of celebrating competitive spirit & Britishness, the BBC2 show The Great British Bake Off seems more relevant than ever. While not a huge baker, I’ve started  to enjoy it as pure comfort viewing; glorious cakes baked in the English countryside with a healthy splodge of drama & competition. But not too much mind, we are British and it is only cake. I think it keeps reality TV emotion at a respectable level.
However it was with feigned nonchalance that I signed up when my workplace announced it’s own bake off recently. And even more disingenuous indifference was displayed when the names drawn & I was first up. The rules: it must be a baked, sweet cake, no flans or tarts allowed. Each week the selected 2 pick up an anonymous cake tin, labelled either A or B.  The next Monday we deliver our goods & 11 staff members taste the cake & vote for their favourite. The winning baker  goes through to the next round until a champion is crowned in a Christmas finale.
What to bake first? I considered scones, I’m not bad at them & personally I don’t think you can beat a good scone with raspberry jam & cream. I knew this wouldn’t appeal to everyone though, put a scone next to a big iced sponge & most people will vote for what looks more impressive. The safest bet I reckoned was chocolate, so I went for this recipe -
http://www.itv.com/food/recipes/almond-and-chocolate-cake
It’s a fairly simple & grown up chocolate cake with no icing involved, so perhaps not to everyone’s tastes. This Monday was judgement day & sadly I cared as much as I thought I would. My adversery had made a lovely, moist carrot cake and I was sure I was done for. This chocolate cake could seem a bit dry in comparison, even with a dollop of the whipped cream I’d provided.
In the end though I think I stunned people into a 70% dark chocolate stupor and was narrowly victorious with a result of 6-5. It was close though, too close.
So next time I’m going safer, more light, maybe a Victoria sponge or a Lemon Drizzle. If anything I want to to stay in for a few weeks to improve my baking skills. There’s nothing like a bit of competition to make one try harder.