It’s one of the best times of the British year... A time for us all to sit back, relax, and watch cakes, puddings, pastries and an infinite range of other baked goods come to life (really, is there anything better?). The Great British Bake Off is back, baby!
Due to COVID-19, the GBBO has been delayed this year. Not to worry though, as the wait is finally over (phew) and we can all look forward to the remaining 9 weeks of, well, great British baking. And, I don’t know about you, but watching the journey of baked goods from start to finish over and over and over again makes it just about impossible for me to not want to do some baking myself. Admittedly, I’m no baking expert though I’m not too shabby if I do say so myself.
So, whether you’re an amateur, getting there, or a pro baker, I thought it’d be fun to do some great British baking, Plate Up style. Following the challenges on the GBBO, I’ve selected some of the best chefs on the Plate Up app for each one so that we can watch cakes and eat them too.
Time to get your aprons on and your whisks out!
The GBBO Challenges, Plate Up Style
Challenge 1: Signature Bake
A test of creativity and personality, this challenge requires bakers to create something charming, pretty, and above all, homely.
This challenge immediately draws me to Marcella DiLonardo’s recipes. Marcella, better known as modest marce, is an author, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She published a cookbook － Bake the Seasons － in 2019 which incorporates sweet and savoury baked dishes inspired by the Niagara region in Ontario, Canada: her hometown.
Marcella’s black fig + honey oat muffins are not only unique, they also look and taste as homely as you can get. They’re super simple and easy to bake too, so it’s a real win-win. One of these muffins (okay let’s be real, two) plus a hot cuppa is the perfect way to start your day.
Another homely and unique recipe of Marcella’s is her zucchini bread, or as we would call it in Britain, courgette bread. This special recipe was passed down from her aunt, whose secret ingredient is crushed pineapple. With only 5 steps, this bread is really easy to make too.
Challenge 2: Technical Bake
This challenge calls for bakers to take a basic recipe, with the same ingredients and instructions, and produce the end product. Bakers are encouraged to create their own variation on the bake to showcase their technical knowledge - or absence of!
This challenge reminds me of Kitty Martone’s chocolate brownie recipe. Kitty, also known as the Healthy Gut Girl, is a holistic health educator, practitioner and chef. She’s creator of The Total Gut Makeover, author of The Gut Health Diet for Beginners and The 4-Week Gut Health Plan, and host of the podcast Stuff Your Doctor Should Know. Impressive, right?
Kitty’s chocolate brownie is no ordinary brownie; her’s is a raw chocolate brownie and includes avocado. Sounds unusual, but avocado makes it extra creamy and fudgy... I’m drooling just thinking about it! All you need to do is blend the ingredients, spoon the mixture into a baking tray and chill it in the freezer for an hour. It’s brilliant, although I’m not sure that a quick and easy way to get brownies is good in the long run, at least if you can’t resist temptation like me. Oops.
Challenge 3: Showstopper Bake
Last but not least, the showstopper bake allows bakers to really show off their talent and ability. Both taste and appearance need to be to the highest professional standard, and creations should be elaborate and grand.
The perfect recipe for this challenge exists, and it’s by Brit Woodruff. Brit, also known as naturally B, really is the queen of baking. Her love of baking started in her grandma’s kitchen, leading her to start a blog where she could share her sweet treats that use unrefined sugar and which are gluten and dairy-free.
Brit’s showstopper is her Vegan Cherry Bakewell Cake which is also gluten-free. Being made from healthier ingredients, you wouldn’t expect this cake to be so indulgent, but it is! With three spongey tiers each separated by a creamy filling and homemade cherry compote, and with icing sugar and cherries to decorate on the top, this cake not only tastes delicious but looks incredibly eye-catching too.