#GreatBloggersBakeOff2014 Finale: The Showstopper

Monday 20 October 2014 by

Finale: Showstopper

Autumnal Tea Party

#GreatBloggersBakeOff2014

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party

So it’s here at last. With a whopping two weeks to submit our grand Showstopping Finale, I had plenty of time to plan for my finale piece for the Great Bloggers Bake Off. I’m such a huge fan of Autumnal flavours, so couldn’t resist going all-out for a grand tea party. The tea party consists of five different pieces – all gluten free of course. We have mini gingerbread men, tiny pear tarts, toffee apple cakes for those with a super-sweet tooth, an old favourite, carrot and gingerbread squares with lemon icing, and blackberry macarons. Another long post this week, but do skip to those you’re interested in!

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To make it even better, why not serve with a naughty earl grey martini?

Mini Gingerbread Men

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Mini gingerbread men

You will need:

  • Food processor
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking tray
  • Baking parchment

Ingredients:

  • 350g gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g softened butter
  • 175g dark soft brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 egg

 

How to make it:

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Mini gingerbread men

In the food processor, combine the flour, xanthan gum, spices and bicarbonate of soda. Whizz quickly to mix together, then add the butter (add it in lumps for ease) and process until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and whizz again.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Mini gingerbread men

Add the golden syrup and egg and process until it starts to come together in a lovely golden brown dough. Tip out on to a floured surface and form in to a smooth ball. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Mini gingerbread men

Whilst it’s chilling, pre-heat your oven to 160°C fan. Take your dough and roll to a thickness of about a £1 coin and start cutting in to shapes (re-roll and flatten to keep cutting until you’ve used all the dough). On a baking tray lined with parchment, lay out your gingerbread men and bake for around 12 minutes – they should be a deep golden brown, but watch for the edges because they can burn quite quickly!

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Mini gingerbread men

Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you want to decorate them, mix icing sugar with water to get a stiff icing (drop in any food colouring you like) and use a piping bag with the smallest nozzle possible to add your decorations. For buttons, you can use M&Ms (gluten free!) or jelly beans. I left them plain!

Tiny Pear Tarts

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Tiny pear tarts

You will need:

  • Tart tin
  • Round cutter (about 3cm)
  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Frying pan

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 230g gluten free plain flour
  • 60g margarine
  • 60g vegetable shortening (I used lard)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum

For the filling:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 40g cold butter, chopped up
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 medium pears, cored and cut into wedges (you will need to make fairly small wedges to fit in to a small space!)

How to make it:

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Tiny pear tarts

Put the flour, xanthan gum, margarine and lard into a food processor and blitz to make a breadcrumb-like mixture. Tip in to a mixing bowl and use your fingertips to bring together in to a dough ball. Knead for a couple of minutes to stretch it.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Tiny pear tarts

Place your dough ball between two layers of cling film and roll out to about a centimetre thick. Gently peel away the top layer of cling film and use your pastry to cut out the shapes (this will make about 12-15 tarts). Place in your tart tin (stop up any gaps with extra bits of dough). I would certainly recommend blind-baking now – fill your pastries with baking parchment and beads and bake at 160°C for about 6 minutes.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Tiny pear tarts

Meanwhile, make your pear filling. In a frying pan, stir your sugar until it goes a caramel colour, then add your cinnamon, butter and ginger and mix well. Drop in your pear pieces and make sure they are well-covered. Cook through until the pears are softened, but still hold their shape and leave to one side to cool slightly.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Tiny pear tarts

Use a spoon to put the pear filling in each of your pastries, and bake at 180°C fan for around 20 minutes, or until the pastry is firm and golden. Set aside to cool (and be cautious when you take them out of the tin – they might break apart!)

Toffee Apple Cakes

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Toffee apple cakes

You will need:

  • A muffin tray with straight sides, or cake tin and cutter to cut out the shapes
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Piping bag

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 240g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 1 large bramley apple – peeled and cubed

For the filling:

  • 100g dulce le leche
  • 2-3 tbsp icing sugar

How to make it:

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Toffee apple cakes

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla with a pinch of salt, until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs lightly and then slowly add to the butter mixture while beating quickly. If it starts to separate, stop adding the egg and drop in a couple of tablespoons of flour until it combines again.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Toffee apple cakes

Once all the egg has been added, sift in the flour and fold until just combined, and then fold in the apple. Spoon in to the tray, and bake for around 20 minutes at 160°C fan, until cooked through and springy to touch (use a skewer- if it comes out clean, they’re cooked through).

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Toffee apple cakes

For the filling, add small amounts of icing sugar to the dulce le leche, until it’s firm enough to pipe.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Toffee apple cakes

If you haven’t made separate pieces of cake to sandwich together, carefully cut your now-cooled cakes in half. Take a piping bag and add the mixture evenly across the bottom half, then add the top.

Carrot and Gingerbread Squares with Lemon Icing

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Carrot and gingerbread squares with lemon icing

This recipe is an old favourite of mine – visit this post for the full recipe and how to make it! This time, I had a baking tray with oblong-shapes to make it even easier to bake (check out Lakeland for baking heaven).

Blackberry macarons

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party, Blackberry macarons

You might remember these from patisserie week when I made raspberry macarons. Simply switch in blackberries for raspberries and purple food colouring for red (or make extra blackberry juice and use that!) and you’re set. This time, I even got myself a silicon macaron tray for neat and tidy macarons (can you tell I went mad on Lakeland?)

The verdict:

I baked like a madwoman! First up, I made the gingerbread men (the leftovers of which sustained me for the rest of the day). Delicious, eye-wateringly simple, and very festive smelling. Some might have ended up more gingerbread blobs, rather than men, but by the fourth(!) tray of them, I was an expert.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party

The pear tarts were surprisingly easy to make too. The only issue arose when baking them at the end – there was a bit of leakage and the timings were a bit off (overdone pear and underdone pastry). As for taste? Well, they were tastier than they looked, all told! I’m not a huge pear fan, but I could have gone back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths…)

Toffee apple cakes were for the sweet-toothed demon in me. They were so cute, but I will admit I preferred the filling to the cake in the end! The cake itself was deliciously moist, but the apple made it quite heavy, so it will take some refining before I become an expert with these.

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party

Of course the carrot and gingerbread squares with lemon icing were a hands-down winner. Super-popular in this house, I get regular requests to make this one! Moist, warming, with the delightful tang of lemon, the perfect tea party addition.

And last but not least, the blackberry macarons… they looked much better than my first attempt, and were too delicious to describe! Having failed to find purple food colouring, I made some extra blackberry juice and used that to colour them, and if I’m honest, it just added to the enjoyment. They perhaps lasted the shortest amount of time!

Overall, I was super-happy with my Autumnal Tea Party; filled with warming, seasonal flavours, there was something for everyone, they looked good and tasted better. Nibbling on these and supping an earl grey martini, it was the height of sophistication (swap for just earl grey tea if you’re going sober for October!)

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014, GBBO, Finale, Gluten free, Baking, Autumn, Tea party

Finale: Success

I want to thank Jenny over at Mummy Mishaps for allowing me to join in with this year’s Great Bloggers Bake Off. It’s been disastrous, hilarious, and huge amounts of fun. I might be in a cake-coma now, but it was worth it. It’s also been so interesting to see what fellow bloggers have come up with. I hope to be back next year with bigger and better bakes!

Thanks for baking along with GBBO and the Great Bloggers Bake Off! Head over to Mummy Mishap to check out all the posts for the grand finale…

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1 Comment

  1. wow what a feast! and so many elements – you really pushed yourself again, i am impressed! i for one would love to come over and share it with you !
    thank you for joining in this year and good luck 🙂 xx

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