The below article and recipe first appeared in the Wednesday 10th edition of the Nottingham Evening Post which can be found online here
Previous Great British Bake Off contestant and Sneinton resident Jordan Cox reflects on the past two years and the future of the UK’s favorite baking program, which returns to our screens on the 25th August.
As my phone and social media accounts keep reminding me, it is approaching two years since my round on the Great British Bake Off commenced. Two years since I had the national newspapers sat outside my house and bizarrely found myself gracing the pages of seemingly every magazine around.
The program was, and continues to be a completely life changing event. I have been lucky enough to be offered some wonderful chances over the previous 24 months from being published in a book, hosting food festivals and monthly radio slots. Not forgetting this very article for the Post of course!
This has come at a cost though. I have gained a couple of stone in weight since the filming began, only a stone of which I have since managed to loose. My wardrobe is full of clothes that I cannot yet admit to never being able to wear again. My dentist has become a far richer man from the endless visits that seem to come from existing on a sugar only diet for so long.
I am aware that sympathy is a hard thing to ask for when I am skipping out of work to judge another cake competition. I’m fairly certain most of my friends and family have gotten entirely fed up with my tiresome antics, especially when 99% of all my bakes leave the house for others nowadays!
The greatest thing to come from my time in the Bake Off has been the people I have met along the way though. From the contestants on the show, all of whom I am still great friends with to all the people of Nottingham who I have encountered on my travels.
As the next season of the Bake Off rears its humongous head, I start to wonder what this year has in store for us. It’s no secret that the show has become tougher over the years, with the challenges becoming more obscure as the show tries not to cover old ground.
I often ask myself if I would have applied, had I have known beforehand that I would be tasked with creating three dimensional biscuit scenes and batches of doughnuts big enough to rival any high street chain? A simple Victoria sponge don’t cut it round these parts!
I have a huge respect for anyone who did apply for this year’s show and I hope to see a fellow Nottingham resident within the ranks. It’s a hell of a journey they are about to embark on!
This recipe is inspired from my first week in the Bake Off tent. Challenged with making individual British classics I decided to make lemon and blueberry bars topped with honeycomb, a recipe which unfortunately sunk like a lead balloon on the day of filming! I have decided to revisit this challenge for you all and have made these lovely jaffa cake inspired numbers. A beautifully light muffin packs a massively orange punch which is coupled with a dark chocolate topping. Decorated with jaffa cakes & extra chocolate, these fun treats might have even put a smile on Mr Hollywood’s face!
150g golden caster sugar
zest of one large orange
250g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
75g sunflower oil
60ml sour cream
60ml whole milk
120ml fresh orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
50g finely chopped dark chocolate
75g double cream – for ganache
150g chopped dark chocolate – for ganache
jaffa cakes and chocolate shavings to decorate
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and grease 12 large muffin cups with butter or non-stick spray.
Place the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, chopped dark chocolate and orange zest into a large bowl and stir to combine.
In a large jug, mix the eggs, oil, sour cream, whole milk, orange juice and vanilla together.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients before pouring in the wet ingredients. The secret to a good muffin is to not overwork your batter. Fold the mixture together until it is only just incorporated. You don’t want large lumps of flour but you also don’t want a completely smooth mixture.
Divide the mixture between the muffin tins. Each muffin tin should be around 90% full if you wish to achieve the muffin-top look otherwise fill slightly less for more muffins!
Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 mins, a knife inserted into the muffin should have crumbs stuck to it when removed. Leave for ten tins before removing from the tins and placing on a rack to cool completely.
Whilst cooling, make the ganache. Heat the double cream to just below boiling before pouring over the chopped chocolate. Leave for 60 seconds then stir to combine.
Gently dip each muffin into the chocolate, covering the top of each. Decorate with jaffa cakes and chocolate shavings. If kept in an air-tight container they should keep for a couple of days.