Just in case you somehow didn’t realise, this week the latest series of The Great British Bake Off kicks off. I’m sure many people will be tuning in just to see if there are any more Baked Alaska incidents. For anyone that missed it, last year contestant Diana briefly took another contestant’s (Ian) ice cream concoction out of the freezer and it rapidly melted in the heat – which resulted in another almighty meltdown.
I have a huge admiration for anyone that will get on TV and attempt to bake. I’ve always loved baking and I know it can so easily go wrong for no known reason. This is part of the reason why baking is so wonderful and exciting, but can also be a little frustrating. I have one particular beetroot brownie recipe that I’ve made over 30 times, but each time it’s a little different depending on the moisture in the beetroots, the temperature in my kitchen, the mood I’m in… (the list could go on).
The most important thing with baking, as with cooking, is to give it a go. You may not always end up with something quite as grand as what you see on The Great British Bake Off, but it’s something you’ve created with your own hands. And the people you share it with will appreciate the love and effort that goes into this creation.
Without giving it go you also won’t make mistakes. It’s really important to make mistakes as this is how you’ll learn for next time. It will also help you spot when a recipe your using doesn’t sound quite right. And if all else fails, most baking disasters can be saved by being covered in some amazing icing.
To celebrate a new silly season of baking fever, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 baking blogs. Hopefully this will help give you a little baking inspiration; it certainly did for me as I read through all the recipes. I’ve also included my favourite recipe from each blog, but I’d love to know which ones stand out for you.
I’ve split the list into 2 parts and will share the second half next week. In no particular order, here are first 5 recommendations:
1. Maison Cupcake (maisoncupcake.com)
Sarah Trivuncic’s award winning blog has a clear focus on sweet baked treats, though there are also some savoury suggestions slotted in between pictures of gooey brownies and layered cakes. There are lots of children’s party friendly iced cookie and cake ideas. Maison Cupcake also includes a good selection of recipes for people with special dietary requirements, such as raspberry covered gluten free chocolate cake and a dairy free, vegan raspberry ice cream.
Star recipe: Strawberry Chocolate Cake with Rose Tea Ganache
2. Apt. 2B Baking Co (www.apt2bbakingco.com)
Apt 2B Baking Co is full of big, beautiful photos, which is not surprising as blogger Yossy Arefi is also a food photographer and stylist. I like Yossy’s short preambles to her recipes and use of wholefood ingredients. Alongside her huge selection of baking recipes, she has a list of interesting preserves, including a clementine and meyer lemon marmalade with whisky. I’m also intrigued by her parsnip macaroons. And a blog that includes a recipe for a michelada (a kind of bloody mary beer cocktail that’s surprisingly tasty) will always get a thumbs up from me.
Star recipe: Rhubarb Tart with Pink Peppercorns and Rye Pastry
3. Sally’s Baking Addiction (sallysbakingaddition.com)
Sally is a self-confessed baking addict and her recipes are very much focussed on making baking approachable for home cooks. As well as a wide range of pretty looking recipes, Sally also includes posts on some baking basics. Along with cookies and cupcakes, Sally’s blog includes gluten free, vegan and healthy recipes. I’m definitely going to try the Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread as I really like adding vegetables in baking.
Star recipe: Chocolate Cherry Almond Snack Bars
4. My Name Is Yeh (mynameisyeh.com)
Molly Yeh has over 85k Instagram followers, which gives you just a little indication of how beautiful her photography is. As a graduate from Juilliard (with a degree in percussion, no less), she is clearly a very creative person. Molly’s images are natural and relaxed, and I find her recipes also take this approach. They are simply written, easy to follow and use some uncommon ingredients, such as black sesame seeds in cupcakes, or matcha and ube (purple yam) extract as glazes on mini choux pastry puffs.
Star recipe: Rosemary Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Preserves & Mascarpone Frosting (aka Pony Cake)
5. Top With Cinnamon (www.topwithcinnamon.com)
It’s great to have a different perspective on baking. When Izy Hozzack burst on to the blogging scene a few years ago as a 15 year old baking enthusiast, she brought just that. Izy confesses to eating cake batter straight from the bowl and I’m a big supporter of anyone who does that! I also like the fact that Izy includes single serve / small batch recipes on her blog. As with Izy’s cookery book, there are some savoury recipes on her blog, including a very appealing looking recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with wild garlic and sage pesto.
Star recipe: Little Lemon Pistachio Cornmeal Cakes
Part 2 of my Top 10 baking blogs will be available next week. In the mean time, I’d love to hear any great baking blogs that you regularly refer to…