I know, I know. The very word showstoppers is making you think of GBBO and we’re all still gutted about the demise of the show as we know it (and the departure of Mary Bez and – best presenters on TV – Mel and Sue). But, I did hear today that French and Saunders might be taking up the challenge for the Channel 4 version, and although it won’t be the same, there’s at least hope that it might still be good if they’re involved.
Anyway, for now we can enjoy Wednesdays for what they are – Bake Off day! And now that my spirit animal Val has left, I have to say I’m rooting for either Candice (I know not everyone likes her but for me she’s feisty, challenges herself and wears the best lipstick so I love her) or Andrew (he’s a trooper!).
For September our baking club had a thoroughly Bake Off related challenge – showstoppers. And as we all realised pretty quickly, creating something that feels worthy of a final round and would make Mary and Paul proud, is definitely not an easy task. My own bake is late to the party thanks to that pesky matter of packing happening around here and boxes getting in the way of a good food flat lay. But I can tell you already that you don’t need any inspiration from me, as the group members pulled out all the stops for this theme and you’re going to be blown away by what you see. Get these girls in the tent pronto!
I’m still a little dumbfounded we’re in October already, but I’ve got a totally seasonal theme for this new month which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. If you’d like to join our club of baking enthusiasts and get your bake on with us this month (all abilities welcome) then just add your email to the sign in box at the top of this post, visit the Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram.
Let’s check out September’s recipes shall we?
A Showstopping Rainbow Sprinkle Birthday Cake – The Sharkett Sisters
Wow, wow, wow. Yes WOW is all you’re coming up with right now isn’t it? When this picture got casually dropped into the Facebook group one day, I almost fell off my chair in awe. And also tried to figure out how I could befriend these girls quick enough to get an invite to their birthday party. Antonia and Imogen are sisters who blog (and bake) together and tried their hand at two new skills this month – the confetti sprinkle cake, and marbled chocolate bark for decoration. I reckon their family must have been chuffed to bits when they got to dig into this. Happy birthday Imogen!
Jammy Dodger Cupcakes – Lily and Bloom
As well as being showstopper month in the baking club, it was also National Cupcake week in September, and so the lovely Sharon from Lily and Bloom rose to both challenges with these fun and inventive jammy dodger cupcakes. Who doesn’t love a jammy dodger right? These vanilla cupcakes have a little surprise in the centre in the form of a gooey dollop of homemade raspberry jam and then are topped with vanilla butter cream and everyone’s favourite biscuits.
Fruit Lattice Pie by Chloe – made using this recipe
Chloe lives in Canada so wasn’t all that aware of what on earth GBBO was and what constituted as a showstopper. The theme forced her to seek out the programme on Youtube and start streaming episodes, and she now tells us she’s as hooked as we all are – sorry Chloe, your social life may been gone now while you catch up on all of the series! Anyway she set herself the challenge of making a humble fruit pie showstopper worthy with some intricate pastry work and came up with this amazing lattice top creation. Now that Autumn has arrived here in the UK, all I’m thinking about is warming fruit pies and crumbles so this came at the perfect time. I’m so impressed with Chloe’s pastry skills aren’t you? This might even get the Paul Hollywood handshake in the tent.
Chocolate Truffle Torte by Virginia – follow this recipe
I’m kind of obsessed with the decoration of this cake – doesn’t it look like an artwork? Especially on top of that stripy plate, the OCD in me wants to cut slices which match up with those lines. Anyway Virginia tried her hand at this chocolate truffle cake this month, and her work mates crowned it her best bake yet! That’s high praise enough but seeing as it’s gluten free, rich, decadent and extra chocolatey, I’m going to take a punt and guess your mouth is watering already.
Hummingbird Cake with Handmade Gum Paste Roses by Jess – find a tutorial here.
Yes, those roses are made from icing. And yes, they were painstakingly made my hand by one of our bakers. And yes she’d never attempted hand making and dusting sugar flowers ever before. And YES she absolutely nailed it! Jess’s words when she dropped this photo into the group page were ‘probably not a showstopper but…’. Say what? If this isn’t a showstopper I don’t know what is!! It could pass for a wedding cake, but it was actually for a lucky lady who turned 90. It’s a two layer hummingbird sponge with cream cheese icing (semi naked – like we had on Bake Off last week) and decorated with these incredible flowers. GO JESS!
Springtime Gingerbread Scene – Only Crumbs Remain
I don’t know about you, but the gingerbread showstopper challenge on GBBO is the one that always has me on the edge of my seat. There’s always one that won’t stay up, that falls over at the last minute, and watching the bakers preciously attempt to sandwich their pieces together has me with my face in my hands. So kudos to Angela from Only Crumbs Remain for attempting it! She made this Spring themed scene which features a gingerbread house and a friendly garden of hares, birds and blossom trees. I can only imagine how long this must have taken to cook, assemble and decorate. It’s almost a shame to eat it!
Gluten free Profiteroles by Linda – find a similar recipe here
Gluten free pastry is hard enough, but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to attempt choux pastry gluten free. But then we had these land in the group page, complete with cream inside and chocolate sauce drizzled over. Looks delicious right? So if you have a gluten intolerance, the good news is that profiteroles are no longer off the menu. I’d love to dig into that plate right about now.
Brandy Soaked Fruit Cakes with Quirky Decoration by Diana – find a fruit cake recipe here
On first look at this photo, you might be thinking ‘But that’s just three blocks of cheese – what’s showstopper about that?’ but look again, as these clever cakes (made for a cheese lover) have just been lovingly decorated to look like three favourite cheese rounds. Diana cooked up not one, not two, but three delicious fruit cakes for her Dad’s birthday, all soaked in brandy and then covered in different coloured icing. Isn’t this just a brilliant idea?
Oreo Cookies and Cream Drip Cake – Scarlet Scorchdroppers
I had to end with this absolute masterpiece by Jennie from Scarlet Scorchdroppers. If you follow Jennie’s blog you’ll know she’s a bit of a layer cake expert and creates some seriously incredible designs, so I had a feeling she’d knock it out the park for this challenge. She certainly didn’t disappoint! This four layer cake consists of two vanilla sponges and two chocolate sponges filled with vanilla buttercream that has been filled with crushed Oreo cookies. It was then decorated with Oreo cookie crumbs, a chocolate ganache carefully poured on to create that drip effect and a circle of cookies on top. Didn’t I tell you you’d be blown away this month?
What a showdown! Please do sign up and join the club if you’re interested in baking and want to chat to some new people, we’d love to have you! And don’t forget to tag your bakes on Instagram with #BBbakingclub to have them featured.
With October under way already, a new theme is needed so without further ado…
I know we have a few bakers overseas who aren’t in the throws of autumn at all, but here in the UK the arrival of October means the arrival of those gorgeous coloured leaves crunching underneath your feet, the arrival of Pumpkin spiced lattes in Starbucks and the arrival of winter coats and boots. I love autumn, and a big part of that is the cosy, homely, warming and stodgy treats that I suddenly have the urge to make. From crumbles and fruit pies to anything pumpkin and cinnamon flavoured, and big dishes that you can serve at the dinner table and let everyone dig into.
So this month I want to see your ultimate autumn classics – those recipes you just can’t resist making the minute the weather turns colder, the smells that forever remind you of fall and the creations that warm your cockles after a day fighting the cold.