We’re at the halfway point now of the GBBO (and wow, where has that time gone?!) and this week it was Biscuits and Traybakes that tested the skills and finesse of the bakers. I won’t spoil it here, but I got it spot on this week who would be Star Baker and who would be heading home (small victories ey). For a review of this week’s episode check out Bakers Anonymous.
For the Signature Challenge, Paul and Mary asked the bakers to make their favourite traybake, whether it be brownies, blondies, rocky road or Millionaire’s shortbread.
Here lie my issue with tonight’s episode. Brownies, in my book at least, are not a traybake; rather, they are a class of their own (with blondies a sub-genre of said class). Brownies themselves could be a Signature Challenge.* Traybake to me says sponge (a la the Tottenham cake) in some guise, or layering (e.g. of pastry/jam/crumble/etc. Millionaire’s shortbread falls in here) and I have to say I was sad to see the lack of (i.e. zero) sponge-based traybakes, especially when the ‘historical segment’ focused on one.
So what would I have baked for this week’s Signature Challenge? Spiced ginger and treacle traybake, a recipe I adapted from the Berry herself. The only small issue I would have had is that this traybake actually improves after freezing, which clearly wouldn’t be possible in the GBBO tent. Though Glenn did manage to freeze his marshmallows, so maybe they have super amazing freezers in that tent.
225g soft butter
175g light muscovado sugar
200g black treacle
300g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
3 finely chopped bulbs of stem ginger
150g icing sugar
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup from the jar
3 finely chopped bulbs of stem ginger or
2 tbsp lime zest and 1tbsp amber sugar crystals (lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a rectangular tin (I always use my swiss roll tin for traybakes).
- Put all the traybake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat until well blended, ensuring you periodically scrape down the sides.
- Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level with a spatula.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake has shrunk from the sides and springs back when pressed lightly with your fingertips.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and removing the baking parchment. As I mentioned before this cake actually improves with freezing, at this point (i.e. un-iced) wrap the cake in clingfilm and pop in the freezer.
- Make the icing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, adding a little water or milk to get the right consistency. Pour over the cooled traybake, spreading gently with a small palette knife.
- Decorate with either chopped stem ginger or the crushed amber sugar crystals and lime zest.
This has quickly become a favourite cake of mine and can easily be adapted into various forms.
Spiced ginger and treacle Bundt
Just make sure the icing sugar is a little thicker and again, freeze un-iced.
Spiced ginger and treacle layer cake
Make as above but add the zest of two limes into the cake mix. Bake in a 20cm deep round tin at a slightly lower temperature (160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3) for about 1hr15 (do the skewer test). Once cool, using a serrated knife slice into 3 equal tiers and spread lime curd/lime marmalade on each layer then reassemble. Ice in a way similar to above.
Again, if you want to make this in advance freeze the sponge un-iced. However, I did find that it actually tasted better, once assembled after a day or two. So if it is for a special event, assemble the cake (including the lime filling) a day or two in advance, store in an airtight tin and just ice on the day.
* I have to once again give a heads up to Sophie’s (The Cake Hunter) amazing brownies, check them out here.