Unlike other TV competitions like Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Sewing Bee, which I have followed from the very first episode, I was a bit late to the GBBO party. Yes, I admit it. I only started watching Bake Off three seasons ago. And that’s quite late in the day really. In 2013 I had no idea who Paul Hollywood was, and only had a passing knowledge of the queen of the kitchen Mary Berry. I hadn’t heard of a technical challenge and my only knowledge of the contestants was that one of them once took something out of the fridge. And that’s just because I heard it reported on the radio. I’m ashamed to say that I was not a Bake Off fan. But in summer 2014 that all changed because I went to Blogstock.There I met lots of lovely bloggers and over the course of a (rather giddy, popcorn-filled, coffee-fuelled) weekend, we got to chatting about what projects we were each working on. My new friends told me about #GBBO. No, not the bake off itself, but the Great Blogger Bake Off. It was a weekly challenge to recreate the recipes from the ‘actual’ Bake Off in our own kitchens, and you KNOW how much I love a blog challenge! Having still not watched a single episode, I actually had to tweet my blogging pals to find out what the theme was that particular week so that I could get started. It was biscuit week, and chocolate chip cookies was the first recipe I baked to take part in the Great Blogger Bake Off.
It was so much fun, I loved being part of the Blogger Bake Off community and it was good to have a focus to my recipe articles for the summer. After that first attempt, I simply had to watch GBBO every Wednesday in order to find out what the theme was, and I diligently cooked along with the contestants every single week. I made an apple strudel for European week, I baked a blackberry tart with home-picked blackberries for pastry week, a giant donut for advanced dough week and apple crumble two-ways for pudding week.I even attempted the most famous technical challenge of all; the schichttorte. I completely surprised myself as this recipe turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever made in my kitchen. It probably helped that I was following the instructions to the letter, whereas I usually mess around with recipes to make them my own. Layer by layer my schichttorte took shape, and an hour of careful cooking later I had something that looked almost exactly like the one on the Great British Bake Off. Even though it turns out that I don’t like the flavour of schichttorte (it’s just like pancakes but without the lemon and sugar!) at least I found out that I CAN make it, woo!
As someone who has been blogging recipes every week for 5 years, it seemed unusual that I hadn’t watched a single episode of the Bake Off until the Great Blogger Bake Off prompted me to check it out. I guess I had no clue what the competition actually was and only when I began watching the show did I become totally addicted. Now I’m glued to the TV every Wednesday evening, and it’s one of the only shows I actually watch ‘live’ when its first aired (well, who has time to watched regular TV these days??).
While I’ve not yet baked along with the themes this year, I’m sure it will inspire my upcoming Pieday Friday blog posts in one way or another. I did however find out about a tool that helps you bake along with GBBO – it shares weekly recipes AND compares the prices of ingredients at all the different supermarkets. It tells you the cheapest place is to buy your gingerbread and lemon drizzle cake ingredients, so I can easily pick up all the bits n bobs I would need to bake along. This week’s Star Saver is Morrisons for gingerbread ingredients, but who will it be after today’s show airs?? I actually DID make a lemon drizzle cake but I ate it before I had a chance to photograph it for my blog, oops! The ‘Save Off’ page is updated every week with another recipe featured on GBBO so check out The Great British Save Off website now!How about you? Have you been a die-hard GBBO fan since the very beginning or is this your first year watching it? Do you like to bake along with the recipes, or do you just buy yourself a box of Viennese whirls from the supermarket to enjoy while watching? (not that I would ever do that.. ahem). Let me know what you think of the show, why you’re a fan and who you think is going to win this year by leaving me a comment below or tweet me to chat about it @Cassiefairy