We’re all glued to the Great British Bake Off at the moment. The boys love it and we save it up to watch together on Friday evenings.
Although I enjoy baking, I rarely push myself out of my comfort zone. I tend to stick to simple things: scones, sponge cakes and sometimes bread. My baking equipment has seen better days too and is looking a bit sad and rusty.
Inspired by the wonderful things I’ve seen on the Bake Off, I set off for my local HomeSense in search of new ideas. As well as cushions, furniture and the like, HomeSense also has a huge range of baking supplies and cookery books. Amongst the many books were some brilliant baking names – Mary Berry and the Hummingbird Bakery to name just two – all at a fraction of their original price.
As I wanted a new challenge, I chose an American baking book – The Model Bakery Cookbook (£6.99). It’s full of recipes like cinnamon rolls, Danish pastries and red velvet cupcakes – the kind of fancy things I lust after on Pinterest, but rarely find the time to make myself.
Armed with my book I decided to invest in a some new bakeware. You never know what you’re going to find in HomeSense, and true to form I was thrilled to find lots of Bake Off-branded bakeware. Lovely gleaming, cream-coloured cake tins and trays – so much nicer than my rusty old ones. I invested in a new 20cm deep-sided baking tin (£4.99) and a muffin tray (£6.99).
While the boys were at school, I spent the day in a warm fug of baking pretending to be in the Bake Off tent. Using my new book, I made Cinnamon Buns and Morning Glory Muffins. Without my little helpers, I got stuck into some seriously precise, Bake Off-style creating. I even used a ruler for my cinnamon buns!
Although the recipes were American, they were also converted into English measurements. The recipes were long, but easy to follow. Having said that, the method for making the schnecken dough for the buns was a little unusual, and I did feel like I was in the technical challenge at times! It was such a pleasure using my new tins – made in Britain and really fabulous quality.
I think Paul and Mary would say that my buns were a little over-baked – and they’d probably have noticed that I forgot to put coconut on top of my muffins. Fortunately my young judges were more forgiving and loyally said I was the winner.
If you’re looking for some baking inspiration this Autumn, why not visit your local HomeSense?
I was kindly sent a voucher to spend at HomeSense, but all ideas, words and photographs are my own.