The Great Jersey Bake Off

plate-of-cakeThe fateful day of our Great Jersey Bake Off came upon us, and I can honestly say there has never been a day such as this in my life. We were stoically eating cake from dawn ’til dusk, paying no heed to the impending sugar high and inevitable crash. In order to give a well informed and sufficiently balanced vote, it was necessary to sample all ten of the entrants’ efforts. Now to make you readers feel like you were truly there, I’ll share with you the full list of bakes that were collectively inhaled at roughly 11.14am this morning, in order of least to most successful, ending with our winner!Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 18.45.05

10409135_823488484348691_756159299396462865_nBringing up the rear at dead last, a rather enthusiastically browned Banana and Walnut loaf. Once you chewed through the crust and it eventually yielded to brute force and saliva, it wasn’t so bad.10665732_823481387682734_7209202746600836343_nThe mysteriously named ‘Cherry Surprise’ came equally in last place, most probably down to the unfortunate fact it was more of a dinner party dessert than a bake off contender. A bit of a square peg in a round hole situation? With lashings of cream, yoghurt and sugar it was tasty, but tricky to serve in our little kitchenette.

10622728_823500811014125_5833643560861273448_nThe third bake to share in the fun of coming last was a batch of Gluten and Dairy Free Brownies. I’m not entirely in agreement with their placement in the rankings because in my opinion (putting my ‘GF’ hat on) these little beauties were deliciously fudgey and chewy. Considering they practically started out life as wood shavings, ‘egg replacement’ and ground rice, they were certainly decadent and moreish, two qualities I fully appreciate in a brownie.

10389338_823485661015640_6051609331589826092_n10660353_823541191010087_4353626371167280366_nRichard, our token friend with the metabolism of a reigning Olympic champion, sort of cheated and roped in his kindly Mother to bake an extra batch of cookies. We let him off because they were pretty brilliant. His White Chocolate and Marzipan Cookies really stole the show for me, having never tried marzipan in a cookie before but now resolving to bring it into the mix. His Mum’s Chocolate and Peanut Cookies were equally as delicious, and generously portioned, which always helps.10153831_823532457677627_7495826119705015779_nOn my way into work this morning I drove past Dawn’s house and picked up her glorious Upside Down Pineapple Cake to bring in with me, as it was her day off. After her driving lesson she so lovingly came back into work to enjoy it with us, which is nothing short of heroic if you ask me (most people would avoid work like the plague, but I guess that just shows what a top notch work environment we have *angels sing*). The cake was perfectly squidgy and beautifully caramelised on top (or bottom?), so to conclude, I need this recipe in my life, asap.1904018_823481254349414_9202198876919847414_nAt a very respectable joint fourth with me was my baking aficionado Mum (or Pat, to everyone else). These famous Date Slices bring back a world of memories to me and my brother whenever we take a bite, so it’s a serious home comfort and I sang their praises to anyone who would listen. The recipe comes from a battered old teeny tiny book called The Cranks, which has absolutely no pictures to show you what things are supposed to look like. Anything that comes out of it is nothing short of heaven on a plate, so this is a must-share recipe that I will have to post soon. They taste like the best fruit crumble you can imagine, in a bar.10337699_823543631009843_5303556134627950012_nSo I all too humbly came fourth. The less said about that the better. Me, a bad loser? Never….

10689648_823479947682878_973603090569656860_nComing in at a very impressive third place, my bookworm genius friend over at Paris Baker’s Book Nook baked the most perfect and dainty White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake. Have you ever seen such beautiful hearts? They even start off big and become smaller and smaller as the swirl comes in. Simply amazing, and she’s had about ten requests to bake it again so she’s a sure fire winner in my mind.10557396_823479281016278_2086181499310769460_nNow there was a bit of controversy surrounding the winner and runner up, because the contestant with the most votes actually had their daughter bake a Devil’s Food Cake at the last minute to bring in. This cake was unbelievably huge with multiple layers of rich chocolate sponge and chocolate ganache, so I coined it the ‘Bruce Bogtrotter’ cake. It was very impressive to look at, but far too rich for me (and I can handle my cake!).

1920311_823539184343621_2040787811867719061_nFinally, coming in first place after a bit of hoo-hah over the aforementioned chocolate cake saga, was Sam’s Carrot and Walnut Cake. It was stuffed full of currants, raisins and sultanas (all three could well be the same but it’s for effect). The chunks of walnuts gave it a lovely crunch and the smothering of cream cheese icing was velvety and sweet. It literally was everyone’s cup of tea, and a very well deserved win.10672194_823540371010169_2341073985236989868_nAll in all, we had a fantastic day and have collectively put on seven stone. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to change into my lounge suit and be rolled into the sitting room. Woo Friday!

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