On this day in 2007 I started this blog. I think eight years of blogging is deserving of a piece of cake! Unfortunately I have grave doubts as to whether I will get a piece of this one. You see, Great British Bake Off is back. Last year I made a couple of the bakes featured on the show, and sent them in to Paul's office. They went down well! And he said that if I wanted to do any baking this year, they would also find it acceptable. The first week's "signature bake" was a Madeira cake, which is absolutely in Paul's cake wheelhouse - quite dense and plain with a bit of citrus, good with a cup of tea.
I've posted my great grandmother's first prize certificate for Madeira cake before, but I've never actually made one that I can remember. Some other bloggers that I know and love have made GBBO-inspired Madeira cakes (Miss Whiplash got hers out the day after the show aired, which was impressively speedy) and they all looked wonderfully inspiring. Jassy at Gin & Crumpets based her lemon and fennel flavoured cake on Nigella Lawson's mother-in-law's Madeira cake - which seemed like a good pattern to follow.
My "twist", because the signature bake always needs a twist, was to use the zest and juice of two Seville oranges instead of the traditional lemon. "But wait", I hear observant readers cry, "it's August!". Well yes, these oranges are part of a stash in my freezer from January when the lovely bitter oranges are in season. The microplane zests them beautifully while they are still rock-hard, and then when they thaw the cells have broken down enough to get maximum juice out of them. The smell of the grated zest filled the whole house deliciously.
Based on the Bake Off judging last week, I now know that one of the things you have to look for in a Madeira cake is the long crack down the top. So even if I don't get to taste my cake, or get meaningful feedback from the gannets who eat it, I am still quite satisfied that this was a very successful bake. Worthy of an 8th blogoversary.