Susan Welsh gives subscription The Bake Off Box a go – with comedic but truly delicious results.
As a fan of TV’s Bake Off shows, I was more excited than a woman my age should be to learn there’s a monthly baking box on offer.
The Bake Off Box is a subscription box from the team behind Great British Bake Off (GBBO) and once a month subscribers have delivered to their door a box containing a recipe, specially developed by the team of baking experts behind the show, along with all the dry ingredients needed and a collectable piece of GBBO equipment.
The box costs £19.99 per month, and I signed on to try it and soon my parcel, about the size of two shoe boxes, duly arrived. I’d a real sense of excitement as I opened it as everything was beautifully packaged.
My box contained a pretty duck-egg blue bamboo cake stand and sachets containing pre-weighed and mixed flour/baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, sachets of sugar, cocoa powder, dark chocolate drops, a recipe card and full instruction booklet showing how to make the Signature Chocolate Cake.
A list of fresh ingredients I’d need to buy, such as milk, vegetable oil, butter, double cream and fresh raspberries, was also included – bear in mind this bumps up the overall price of making the cake.
I couldn’t wait to get started, so cleared the decks so I could bake the cake – which serves 8-10 and is described as “easy” to make.
Making the chocolate sponge was super simple thanks to the easy-to-follow instructions. As the sponges were baking, I cracked on and made some carrot and cinnamon cupcakes, mini treacle scones and a sultana cake from my old recipe books.
The smell in the kitchen was wonderful while, with the oven going full blast, the room was warm and cosy. Once the time was up, I took the two chocolate sponges from the oven and let them fully cool.
They’d cooked beautifully but had risen in the centre, forming a dome shape.
What I should have done at this point, and it would perhaps have been an idea to include this as a tip, was carefully slice off the tops to make both cake halves flat. But I didn’t, focusing instead on making the rich, chocolatey ganache used to sandwich the two halves together and smother the top and sides.
I’m not sure whether I’d been heavy handed measuring the cream, or it was the heat in the kitchen, but I couldn’t get the ganache to fully thicken.
As a result, it refused to stick to the slightly wobbly cake (thanks to the dome shape) and kept dripping off it.
As fast as I scraped up the ganache from the worktop to pop it back on top, it dripped off again, covering my bonnie new cake stand and making everything gooey.
Instead of raspberries I used brambles as I had some in, but they kept sliding off the cake, kamikaze-style.
Reader, my cake and kitchen looked like a disaster zone – so messy it was actually laugh-out-loud funny.
It’s a good job I wasn’t taking part in the TV show as my efforts would have been classed as comedy gold.
While my version looked like something the cat dragged in, it tasted delicious.
The sponge was beautifully soft and light, while the ganache was smooth and rich, with a delicious, luxurious mouthfeel.
We had a generous helping each and I think there were still enough portions for 10 left over.
I don’t know when I last had so much fun baking, which makes me think this would be a great activity to do with your mum or child and be an ideal gift for Mother’s Day (Sunday, March 14).
The Bake Off Box Kit is also a good way to up your baking game and build up a collection of baking equipment.
Orders placed before March 1 will be delivered around April 1.
Incidentally, 50p from each box sold goes to Stand Up To Cancer, the charity campaign The Great British Bake Off supports through its series of celebrity specials.
For further information visit bakeoffbox.co.uk