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We would like to introduce you to our UKE Baking Expert, Sophie Johnson.

Our very own Used Kitchen Exchange Expert Baker, Sophie Johnson is ready to teach us a thing or two about Cake.


Rise and shine with a mirror glazed genoise.

Dare to drizzle (but not to dunk, right, Mary Berry?).

Bakers, are you ready? It’s that time of the year again.

When the days start to get shorter and our waistbands start to get bigger.

We dream of cake, we talk about cake, we bake cake.

Britain, it’s The Great British Bake Off.

 The Great British Break Off Used Kitchen Exchange

With soft sponge and sweet syrup, our twelve bakers rose to the occasion, and started week one with a moist drizzle cake, traditionally these cakes are light sponges or loaves, baked until just right and then drizzled with a flavoured sugar syrup whilst still warm. The intense flavours of the syrup soak through into the sponge creating a lovely melt-in-the-mouth texture. A classic drizzle cake is usually zesty with the flavours of lemon or orange, which is a combination most of the bakers kept to. Perhaps Michael should’ve stayed true to this flavouring as the judges deemed his lime, ginger and honey creation as too much like a ginger cake. Selasi, the Ghanian city worker who rocks up to the office in his leathers on a motorbike, took a gamble with his cake that really paid off. Mr Paul Hollywood himself said the flavours of his cardamom and cinnamon drizzle cake were ‘fantastic.’ And let’s not forget Val, the cutie ex-headteacher who uses margarine in her baking and listens to her cakes like she listens to Ed Sheeran.

“This week’s technical challenge took me back to primary school and reaching into my Beauty and the Beast lunchbox to pull out a plastic orange wrapper with a peel back lid. Jaffa cakes – Lined up in a row ready to be eaten.”

First, the thin layer of dark chocolate was nibbled off the top, then the sponge was slowly chewed, followed by a big slurp and the tangy orange jelly was resting in my mouth. Delicious.

Unfortunately, not all of the bakers’ efforts quite matched the memories in my mind. There were upside down disasters, messy chocolate and bottoms stuck to the baking tray. The challenge sparked a Twitter debate over whether the Jaffa is indeed a cake, or is it a biscuit? Hollywood was chastised by Mary Berry for dunking, DUNKING?! his Jaffa cake into his cup of tea. There’s was outrage online as viewers dubbed his actions ‘disgusting’. Andrew was placed last with his mistakenly decorating the cakes upside down costing him dearly. He was closely followed by Minister Lee Banfield, the oldest contestant at 67. His chocolate spreading was sparse leaving his cakes looking more like something a child would make out of a packet mix. Easily sliding into first place was Selasi once again. His Jaffa’s were evenly baked, superbly tasty and topped with shiny dark chocolate. A worthy winner, make your own winner status Jaffa Cakes with Mary Berry’s recipe here

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“All too soon it was Showstopper time. The contestants were challenged with baking a light Genoise sponge complete with a mirror glaze.” 

The key to this fluffy Italian sponge is to whip the eggs and keep that air in throughout mixing and baking. Something almost half our bakers struggled with as we saw dense, undercooked and almost-an-omelette attempts. The tent was alive with activity as Benjamina, Val, and Candice amongst others went for a second try. Paul and Mary watched on, hoping for simple and yet perfectly executed cakes.

Of course, this is the Great British Bake Off and simple is just not an option. There were fruity cakes filled with raspberries and gin, deliciously tempting praline and rich Columbian chocolate, a trifle and an oversized Jaffa cake. (Because the technical challenge just wasn’t difficult enough!) With the sponges in the oven the bakers turned their attention to the glaze. Tempering chocolate in milk, white and dark. A tricky task involving melting the chocolate mixture to an exact temperature before adding in grated chocolate for that perfect mirror shine. Before coating the cakes, they needed to have a crumb coat with smooth ganache, milky buttercream or meringue frosting. Lee’s ganache resembled a molten lava of chocolate chunks and split cream, whilst Benjamina shed tears over her runny Italian meringue frosting.  The freezers were full as the cakes were left to set. It was time to pour the glaze. White, red, chocolatey, smooth and patchy. The final decorations went on and the cakes were brought one by one to face Paul Hollywood’s ice blue stare.

Sky blue mirror glaze and gooseberries, the flavourings were nice but the blue glaze was reminiscent of a child’s primary school science project. Shiny chocolate hid a multitude of sins, dry sponges, flavourless fillings and undercooked layers. Green matcha left a grassy taste in Mary’s mouth. Selasi baked a raspberry and white chocolate cake that was ‘a joy’ to eat, Louise’s filling of raspberry and creme patisserie made up for her less than impressive decoration, whilst Benjamina’s white chocolate glaze had a ‘smashing shine’ and her combination of white chocolate and praline had Paul grinning. In the end it was Lee who failed to impress with his dry sponge, lack of filling and a simplicity that had the judges shaking their heads.

The Minister from Bolton was the first person to leave the tent, and whilst happy to keep baking he will be buying the Jaffa cakes for his congregation. In a slight twist, whilst many viewers thought that technical challenge champion Selasi with his cardamom and cinnamon delight, and vibrant red showstopper would be the first Star Baker, it was in fact Jane. Her simple drizzle cake with the perfect flavour, and her giant Jaffa cake Genoese which was shiny and zesty, propelled her into Star status.

I don’t know about you but I will never look at a Jaffa cake the same way again. Is it a cake? Is it a biscuit? And most importantly, can you dare to dunk? Until next week, I’m off to drizzle, bake and buy some trousers with an elasticated waist band!


Sophie Johnson, 28, Proud mummy of Bea, 4, Expert Baker, loves all things Cake and wife of Roland, Used Kitchen & Ex-display specialist at Used Kitchen Exchange.

Used Kitchen Exchange specialises in the re-sale of Used (second hand) and Ex-Display Kitchens. Working closely with the UK’s leading showrooms we are able to give you a great selection of Used and Ex-Display kitchens at a fraction of their original retail price. Whether you are looking to buy a kitchen or sell your current one, we have a team of Kitchen Specialists on hand to help you every step of the way.

#GBBO #UsedKitchenExchange #Maryberry #PaulHollywood #JaffaGate


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