Week 4 was bin gate on The Great British Bake Off, as Iain Watters struggled mightily with the demands of putting together an acceptable Baked Alaska on a day when temperatures soared to a massive 30 degrees. You really have to wonder why they pitch that tent outside.
Anyway, Richard eventually triumphed in a week that was all about challenging desserts. The contestants had to put together Mary’s tiramisu in under two and a half hours but you can take as long as you like with our top recipes.
Mary’s Tiramisu Cake Recipe
Like Mary Berry herself, this version of tiramisu is elegant, generous and very sweet.
Equipment and preparation: You will need a 38x25cm/15x10in Swiss roll tin, a 18cm/7in square tin and a cook’s thermometer.
IngredientsFor the spongea little softened butter, for greasing>4 large free-range eggs100g/3½oz caster sugar100g/3½oz self-raising flour
For the filling1 tbsp instant coffee granules150ml/5½fl oz boiling water100ml/3½fl oz brandy3 x 250g/9oz tubs full-fat mascarpone cheese300ml/10½fl oz double cream3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted75g/2½oz dark chocolate (36% cocoa solids), grated
For the decoration100g/3½oz dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped2 tbsp cocoa powder
Preparation methodPreheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan)/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 38x25cm/15x10in Swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.
For the sponge, place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric hand-held mixer, whisk together for about five minutes, or until the mixture is very pale and thick. The mixture should leave a light trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted.
Sift over the flour and fold in gently using a metal spoon or spatula, taking care not to over mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and tilt the tin to level the surface.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until risen, golden-brown and springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
For the filling, dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and add the brandy. Set aside to cool.
When the sponge is cold, carefully slice the cake in half horizontally, so you have two thin sponges of equal depth.
Using the loose base of a square cake tin as a guide, cut two 18cm/7in squares from each sponge. Discard the sponge trimmings (or keep for cake pops or a sneaky single-serving trifle).
Line the base and sides of the square tin with long rectangles of baking parchment; there should be plenty of excess parchment which you can use to help lift the cake from the tin later.
Place the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the cream and icing sugar to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.
Place one layer of sponge in the base of the lined cake tin. Spoon over one-quarter of the coffee brandy mixture. Then spread one-quarter of the mascarpone frosting over the soaked sponge. Scatter over one-third of the grated chocolate.
Place the second sponge on top, spoon over another quarter of the coffee mixture then spread another quarter of the frosting over the soaked sponge. Scatter over another one third of the grated chocolate. Repeat with the third sponge and another one-quarter of the coffee mixture and frosting and the remaining grated chocolate.
Place the fourth sponge on top and spoon over the remaining coffee mixture. Using a palette knife spread a very thin layer of the remaining frosting over the top of the cake – this is called a ‘crumb coat’ and will seal in any loose crumbs of sponge.Wipe the palette knife and spread the rest of the frosting in a thicker layer over the cake. Chill for at least one hour in the fridge before turning out.
While the cake is chilling, melt half of the chopped chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. (Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.) Gently stir the chocolate until it reaches a melting temperature of 53C/127F.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining half of chopped chocolate and continuing stirring gently until the chocolate cools to 31C/88F or lower and is thick enough to pipe.
Place a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface. Use another sheet to make a paper piping bag.
Spoon the melted chocolate into the paper piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe decorative shapes onto the baking parchment. Leave to set until required.
Dust the chilled tiramisu cake with the cocoa powder before turning out onto a serving plate, using the parchment paper to help lift out of the tin. Decorate with the chocolate shapes.
Diana’s Orange and Lemon Curd Pots
She’s sadly left the competition but we can remember Diana with thesecitrusy, soufflé-style puddings which are baked in a bain marie to ensure they are beautifully moist. Serve topped with candied orange peel and fresh mint.
Ingredients300ml/10fl oz freshly-squeezed orange juice1 lemon, zest and juice only60g/2¼oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing90g/3¼oz caster sugar4 large free-range eggs, separated70g/2½oz self-raising flour, sifted½ tsp baking powder160ml/5½oz full-fat milk150ml/5fl oz double cream25ml/1fl oz orange-flavoured liqueur (such as Cointreau)candied orange peel, to decoratefew sprigs fresh mint, to decorate
Preparation methodPreheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease six individual pudding moulds.
In a pan, bring the orange and lemon juices to the boil. Cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and creamy. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix the sifted flour and baking powder together, then add to the butter mixture.
Slowly add the reduced orange and lemon juices and milk to the mixture stirring gently to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
Beat one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter, then carefully fold in the remainder using a large metal spoon.
Stand the moulds in a roasting tin and pour in the cake batter. Pour boiling water into the base of the tin. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the puddings are golden-brown and firm to the touch. If the tops are browning too quickly cover with aluminium foil.
Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed and fold in the orange liqueur.
Decorate puddings with the candied orange peel and fresh mint, and serve with the cream.
In Short: Things got a little heated in the kitchen for the Great British Bake Off folks this week as they tried to show off their baking skills