Some of you may already know that my money supplying day job which finances all my baking madness is as a video editor. For those of you who didn't know this, now you do.
I work for TV3 in Ireland, one of the main broadcasters here.
Why does this matter?
Well, because of my job, I hear about upcoming projects and TV programmes that are due to go to air ahead of time. One of the programmes I was most excited about, and if you're a foodie in Ireland were probably feeling the same, was The Great Irish Bake Off.
That's right, TV3 bought the rights to produce our very own version of the very popular Great British Bake Off that has taken reality food TV by storm!
Sadly, I wasn't allowed to enter because of said job at TV3. A real bummer! No really, I did some serious pouting after reading the rules :(
I still kept tabs on how the series was going, after all, it's exactly the sort of show I love so I couldn't help but nosey out a few details here and there. Although, I didn't get as much information as I'd like, the executive producer and anyone else in-the-know were like secret keeping ninja masters! ("The set looks great!" and "They're wearing Cath Kidston aprons." were not the details I was hoping for. I wanted more of the juicy bits, but no, not a peep.)
Thankfully, I have awesome work friends who all know what I'm like when it comes to baking. (Although truthfully, some people don't know who I am until "cake" is attached to my name. "Mandy who?" "You know, she's always bringing in cakes and stuff." "Oh yeah! The cake girl!" )
So I was trundling back to my edit suite one day after lunch, and Dave (one of those awesome work people I mentioned), stopped me to ask if, hypothetically, I were to make cakes for the Great Irish Bake Off publicity shoot, what sort of cakes would I do? Is there such thing as a fake cake? etc. So I rambled on about a few designs I thought would look nice and said I'd send a couple of pictures on for them to look at.
You probably know where this is going so I'll spare you the details of the lead up to the obvious conclusion. That conclusion being that I was asked to make three cakes for the publicity shoot with the presenter and judges for the Great Irish Bake Off!!!
The brief was as follows:
1 real cake, 2 "fake" cakes i.e. frosted cake dummies.
Yellow for Nora, blue for Paul and pink for Biddy.
The designs were chosen from some of the pictures I had e-mailed on (links to the original inspiration for each cake is at the bottom of this post).
I was seriously excited! And nervous! My cakes were going in front of the judges! I almost felt as though I was a contestant in the show after all.
But as soon as I got to the studio and met the judges, all nerves disappeared. Not only did they all love my cakes, they're also really, really lovely too. In between plating cakes and whatnot, everyone had a good laugh and the whole morning was easy going and relaxed. I was seriously thrilled when the Executive Pastry Chef at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, Paul Kelly, brought over his phone and started showing me photos of baked goodies. I brought mine out and we ended up chatting away about cakes and chocolate plastique and the method for the petal frosted cake I'd brought in.
Behind the scene cellphone snaps at the publicity shoot:
The morning went without a hitch, until the very end. Thank goodness it was at the very end!
I was busy packing up and putting the cakes back in their boxes. The dummy cakes were nice and light and were easy to deal with. Then came the real cake. For those of you who have made a six layered cake loaded with frosting, you'll know how heavy they are. They're also somewhat imbalanced when a huge wedge has been cut out.
Just as I was angling the cake towards its box and before I could do a single thing to stop it, as if in slow motion (why is it that it always plays out in slow motion but we can do nothing to stop it in real time?!), splat! It landed rather ungracefully on the floor in a pink frosted heap. Next thing, there was Biddy on the floor with her phone taking pictures. She thought it would help the morale of some of the contestants to see that it can go wrong even when you're not under pressure! Hah! I'm glad my clumsy handling could help ;)
TV3 had its Autumn Launch event in August (this time Publicity asked me to make a few cupcakes as a prop, wheeee!) and the photos from the press shoot were revealed. And because of that, I can finally post them on my blog as well! :D (And they even called me their Star Baker of the day. Yeah, that's right, I'm a star baker. And a cake nerd for liking it. :P)
I'm going to be doing a weekly review of each episode, with my own episode inspired recipe included, so if keep an eye out each Thursday after the airing of each show for my blog updates! And yes, they will contain spoilers, so don't say I didn't warn you.
So to start off this #GIBO blog series, a delicious, yet ridiculously easy recipe for moist peach cupcakes.
It's based on the recipe that I used for my Apple and Rosemary cake, that is, the very fun "7 Cups Cake". I've done away with the yoghurt tub measuring cup for this recipe, but it's the same principal.
It's moist and light and really deals well with adding juicy fruit and so was perfect with sweet summer peaches baked in.
I find that peaches don't have as strong a flavour when baked into cake, so I've topped my cupcakes off with just a small kiss of cream cheese frosting, but in all honesty, these are lovely without any frosting at all and just a dusting of powdered sugar. Whichever way you dress them, they're just amazing.
Right, after that long post, here's the recipe! And don't forget, the Great Irish Bake Off will be on Thursdays at 9pm on TV3. The first episode airs on the 19th. Also, check out the TV3 GIBO website, you can get to know the contestants, and they will be posting the actual recipes from each episode.
Ready, set... BAKE!
Makes between 14 - 16
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1 cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Regular Olive Oil / Sunflower Oil / Canola Oil
1/2 cup Plain or Peach Yoghurt
3 Large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 large Peach, roughly cut into chunks
1 Peach, cut into slices (as many slices as you have cupcakes)
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted)
- Line cupcake pans with paper liners (between 12 - 16)
- Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl
- Add oil, yoghurt, eggs and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until just combined
- Fold in peach chunks
- Fill cupcake papers to 2/3 full
- Place a slice of peach onto each cupcake
- Bake for 18-20mins, until cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip, or a toothpick doesn't come out with any raw batter on it (these are moist, so a few baked crumbs are fine)
- Remove from oven and leave to cool in pans for about 10mins
- Remove cupcakes from pans and cool on a wire rack
- Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, or leave to cool completely and dust or frost with a small kiss of cream cheese frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
75g Unsalted Butter, room temp
225g Full Fat Cream Cheese, chilled
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth
- Add cream cheese and beat to combine
- Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until completely combined
- Add the vanilla and beat/whisk frosting on high until thick and a good consistency to pipe
- Tip: A lot of recipes for cream cheese frosting say to have cream cheese at room temp. I've never had success with this, so I always use cream cheese straight out of the fridge. After beating the butter and cream cheese together, the mixture is nice and thick, but I always find that once I add the icing sugar, it thins out for some reason, so beating/whisking the frosting on high almost has the same effect as whipping cream, hence cold cream cheese works better. Just keep beating on high until thick enough to hold its form and pipe (I've yet to get it as thick as buttercream, but it doesn't need to be)
Inspiration for the three cakes I made for the GIBO publicity shots:
Just a quick note about my GIBO blog series...
Just to be clear, I do not represent GIBO in any official manner, I'm doing this purely in my own capacity as a baking obsessed blogger who loves the Bake Off franchise. Although, I have been given permission to use certain official photos etc. which is pretty cool. But TV3 will have their own official GIBO website running, sponsored by Odlums, and they'll have loads of great content like recipes from the series and more, so check it out.