Sep 22, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
If you're not already familiar with The Great British Bake Off, now is your chance to become acquainted. The series is a British baking contest that took the U.K. by storm when it debuted in 2010. Now that the show is available on Netflix (titled The Great British Baking Show), Americans, too, are just as obsessed as the rest of the world. Unlike our typical cooking shows in the U.S., such as Hell's Kitchen, in which the chef and contestants are usually screaming profanities at each other, The Great British Bake Off is known for its general pleasantness and cordiality.
If, like us, you've been a fan of the show for a while, you may remember Martha Collison as a contestant in season five, which originally aired in 2014. At only 17-years-old when she competed, Collison made history as the youngest baker on the show. She may not have won her season, but she quickly became a fan favorite with her sunny disposition and all around congeniality.
Well, the young baker now has her own cookbook, Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking ($17, amazon.com). The book serves up basic recipes that can be left as is or become a base ingredient for other treats. Hence, the twist. One such example is Collison's recipe for My Favourite Chocolate Cake, which can, in turn, be made into a number of different confections, such as her Mint Chocolate Ice-Cream Cake.
Read below for both recipes. Click here for measurement conversions.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 then grease three 18cm tins and line with baking parchment.
2. Make two batches of My Favourite Chocolate Cake recipe (ingredients to the left, instructions below), divide between the tins then bake for 25–30 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
3. To make the buttercream (ingredients below), beat the butter and icing sugar together using an electric hand-held whisk until really light and ﬂuffy. Start on a slow speed to mix in the sugar, then turn up the speed to incorporate as much air as possible. Add the peppermint extract and enough milk to loosen the icing a little. Add a tiny amount of green food colouring, being really careful to tint the icing just enough to resemble the classic ice-cream – you don’t want it too dark.
4. Sift the dark chocolate cubes to remove any chocolate dust or ﬂakes as these will turn the icing brown and make it look less authentic. Fold the chips into the icing by hand.
5. Use a palette knife to spread some of the mint buttercream onto each cake, then stack the layers on top of each other. Cover the whole cake with the remaining icing, smoothing the top and sides as much as possible. You don’t need to crumb coat this cake, as the chocolate crumbs will blend into the mint chocolate chip icing. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes.
6. To make the ice-cream ball (ingredients below), melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. When it is completely melted, add 1 tablespoon of water and stir quickly. The chocolate will seize and go grainy, which while usually undesirable, creates a great ball of ‘ice- cream’. You may need to add a little more water. When the mixture is thick, use an ice-cream scoop to make a large ball. Gently put into the cone and leave to cool.
7. To make the chocolate drizzle (ingredients below), melt the chocolate and butter together in another small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. When smooth, leave to cool for ﬁve minutes before carefully pouring over the top of the chilled cake. Use the back of a spoon to encourage the glaze to run over the edges of the cake.
8. Put the ice-cream cone face down into the middle of the glaze, then arrange a few sprinkles around the centre.
MY FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 then grease a 20cm (9 inch) tin and line it with baking parchment. Put the plain ﬂour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
2. If you don’t have buttermilk, pour the milk into a large jug and add the lemon juice. Leave to stand for ﬁve minutes until thickened.
3. Whisk the buttermilk/acidiﬁed milk into the melted butter and egg followed by the coffee or water.
4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. It will be very runny, and if you are making more than one layer, the best way to divide it between the tins is to transfer the batter to a large jug. You can then use either the markings on the jug to measure the amount going into each tin, or put a tin on the scales and measure by weight. It is important to do this so that the layers are the same height and cook at the same rate.
5. Bake for 25–30 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
250g unsalted butter, softened
600g icing sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract
1–2 tsp milk
Green gel food colouring
25g dark chocolate, chopped into very small cubes
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 ice-cream cone
Sprinkles, to decorate
125g dark chocolate, chopped
Reprinted from Twist by Martha Collison © 2017 by Martha Collison, used with permission by HarperCollins publishers.