Bake Off: Martha Collison returns with her first cookbook
You’ll probably recognise Martha Collison from the fifth series of The Great British Bake Off. At only 17, she was the youngest-ever participant, but she still managed to make it all the way through to the quarter-finals.
Here she chats to LG about her time on our favourite baking show, and shares a few recipes from her book, Twist.
Did you enjoy being on the Bake Off?
I really did! Taking part in the show was so much fun and it has completely changed my life.
Was it scary being judged by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry?
They are both experts in their fields and it’s clear why that is. They spend hours analysing each bake, and generally their comments are all completely fair. Paul was scary because he would say it how it was, but the fear of disappointing Mary was even worse. I forgot about the cameras filming me as I was so focused on pleasing them.
Do you have any funny moments?
Too many to tell! A favourite moment was when Richard Burr and I made a few breadsticks to snack on while we waited for our actual loaves to bake during bread week. The production crew nearly had a fit when they saw us chomping away on what they thought was our finished bake.
Were Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins fun to work with?
Really good fun – they are so naturally hilarious and have an endless supply of jokes.
Do you keep in touch with any of the other contestants?
Absolutely! We all have a WhatsApp group which we communicate in daily, and we love to have parties at each other’s houses – and a big do at Christmas.
Did you get a lot of attention at school when you were on the Bake Off?
School was a bit manic, but being recognised in the streets was the strangest part. I still get recognised occasionally, but I look different and a bit older now so it happens less often.
What’s the idea behind your book Twist?
It’s been a lifelong dream to write a recipe book, although I certainly didn’t expect it to happen before the age of 20. The idea behind the book is to provide bakers with a set of my favourite recipes, and then inspire them to put their own twists on them. I’ve included the recipes for my favourite twists too.
Who inspires your baking?
Mary Berry has always been a bit of a hero of mine. Her recipes are timeless and she’s such a great person.
Finally, what’s your favourite sweet treat?
I think a good chocolate cake is unbeatable.
RECIPE: MY FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Makes one 20cm sponge layer
- 125g plain flour
- 225g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 125ml buttermilk (cultured)
- 60g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 125ml coffee (or water)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 then grease a 20cm tin and line it with baking parchment. Whisk the plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a bowl.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, pour the milk into a jug and add the lemon juice. Stand for five minutes until thickened.
- Whisk the buttermilk/acidified milk into the melted butter and egg followed by the coffee or water.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. If you are making more than one layer, the best way to divide it between the tins is to transfer the batter into a large jug. You can then use either the markings on the jug to measure the amount going into each tin, or put a tin on the scales and measure by weight. It’s important to do this so that the layers are the same height and cook at the same rate.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
RECIPE: CHOCOLATE AND PASSIONFRUIT LAYER CAKE
- 2 x My Favourite Chocolate Cake recipe
- 150ml double cream, 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 10 tbsp passionfruit curd, with or without seeds
- 50g butter
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 75g icing sugar, 1 tsp milk
- Sprinkle of chocolate shavings to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 then grease and line two 20cm tins.
- Make two batches of My Favourite Chocolate Cake recipe and use it to fill the tins.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- Whip the cream and icing sugar together in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks. Be careful to stop when it reaches soft peaks or you might over-whip the cream, which will ruin the finished cake.
- Spread the whipped cream over the top of one of the sponges, then cover with spoonfuls of passionfruit curd. Carefully sandwich the second sponge on top.
- To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and mix in the icing sugar and the milk, then use a palette knife to spread it over the cake. Sprinkle over chocolate shavings before serving.
Twist by Martha Collison is out now, published by HarperCollins