Monthly Archives: December 2011

Abbie crowned Little Baker of the Year!

Abbie Perkins Baking Mad Little Baker of the YearFollowing a tense Bake Off in London on Saturday we are delighted to announce the results of our Little Baker of the Year competition 2011/2012.

Abbie Perkins, from Wrexham, was chosen as the winner by our panel of judges which included Ruth Clemens, runner up on 2010’s Great British Bake Off, Michelle Rice, author of Utterly Scrummy, and Baking Mad’s own home-baking expert, Mitzie Wilson.

The standard of baking throughout the day was extremely high but it was eight year old Abbie who came out on top with her recipe for Rudolph Sponge Cake.

Mitzie Wilson said: “We were so impressed with the creativity and technical ability of all of our finalists.”

The competition was really close but we chose Abbie as our winner because her recipe was really fun and festive and she showed a lot of skill and confidence in the kitchen. We hope she will inspire other children to give baking a go!”

As the competition winner, Abbie will become the face of the kid section on Baking, have her recipes published on the website and will also win a year’s supply of baking ingredients courtesy of The Silver Spoon Company.

Talking about her win Abbie said: “When they announced me as the winner I felt so excited, I thought I was going to cry! I am really looking forward to telling all my school friends about the competition and making lots more yummy recipes for my family and Baking Mad.”

Take a look at the highlights from the competition…

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and Abbie’s Rudolph Sponge tasted as good as it looked!

Baking Mad Little Baker of the Year

Errin’s Frosty Christmas Scene delighted the judges. Her clever use of Orios for snowman hats and desiccated coconut for snow, showed every little detail had been well thought out.

Baking Mad Little Baker of the Year Competition

India’s ambitious Christmas Cranberry Snowball recipe really showed off her technical ability. Her oat and cranberry biscuit base was simply divine!

Baking Mad Little Baker of the Year Competition

We loved Fidelma’s Christmas Cupcake Wreath concept. Perfect for sharing and complete with fairy lights, a cupcake recipe does not come much more festive than this!

Baking Mad Little Baker of the Year

Well done to all our Little Bakers! We wish you all happy baking for the future!

Whip Up a Treat with Will Torrent

If you are looking to impress your friends and family this Christmas, why not whip up a treat and serve a great British trifle with a modern twist.

Developed by Will Torrent, award-winning patissier and rising celebrity chef, we have a truly delicious recipe for this festive-favourite that is sure to excite everyone’s tastebuds.

Will’s recipe includes a few shortcuts for the time conscious but he enriches this classic dessert using quality ingredients for a truly luxurious taste. The modern twist includes mouth-watering white chocolate, vanilla custard, fresh berries and glazed meringue.

“The secret behind a really delicious dessert is the ingredients” says Will, “I use the best I can buy in order to guarantee great results. Nielsen-Massey’s Vanilla Bean Paste not only looks good, it adds depth of flavour to all types of dishes, and is so convenient too”.

With over a century of experience, Nielsen-Massey produces a vanilla that is arguably the best in the world. The family company uses an exclusive cold extraction process to extract the vanilla from carefully selected pods. The range includes pure Madagascan Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Paste. A welcome addition to every kitchen cupboard, the bean paste is a high-quality, convenient and economical replacement to vanilla pods.

Want to impress your guests with Will Torrent’s British Trifle? Get the full recipe here.

Truvia the calorie-free alternative to Sugar

Truvia Calorie-free SweeteneerThe search for a safe, great tasting, calorie-free alternative to sugar is now over!

Truvia calorie free sweetener comes from the best-tasting components of the natural Stevia leaf and is a high purity sweetener that is consistent in quality and taste.

The great thing about Truvia is that it’s refreshingly uncomplicated to use. Just one spoonful of Truvia provides the same sweetness as one teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle it on your grapefruit, spoon it in your tea and try it in your baking. It won’t end up on your conscience- or your thighs. And because Truvia is naturally calorie free, it is a great alternative for people with diabetes or those watching their waistlines.

Why not give one of our scrumptious Truvia recipes a try?

Little Baker of the Year 2011/2012

In the summer we launched our Little Baker of The Year 2011/2012 competition, in the hope of discovering the next generation of home bakers. We were overwhelmed with the number of entries and are excited to announce our final four Little Bakers who have been chosen to compete in our grand Bake Off on Saturday 17th December.

The four finalists have been tasked with developing a recipe that best represents Christmas and will be judged on their skill, creativity, presentation and the all important taste of their treats. On the judging panel we have Mitzie, our very own Baking Mad expert, along with guest judges Michelle Rice, author of the fabulous Utterly Scrummy blog and baking extraordinaire Ruth Clemens, finalist on the Great British Bake Off 2010.

The overall winner will be crowned Baking Mad Little Baker of the Year 2011/2012, become the face of the kid’s baking section on and win a year’s supply of baking ingredients courtesy of the Silver Spoon company.

Meet our finalists…

India MuschampIndia-Photo
Age: 10
From: St. Albans
Favourite thing(s) to bake: Cakes and Biscuits
Would most like to bake for: Michel Roux Snr.
Favourite TV Chef: Rachel Allen

For the Bake Off India will be baking a Christmas Cranberry Snowball. India said “I got the idea from Australian Masterchef and thought it would be a challenge. I took the recipe and have made it my own.”

Abbie PerkinsAbbie-Photo2
Age: 8
From: Wrexham
Favourite thing(s) to bake: Victoria Sponge Cake
Would most like to bake for: Rowan Atkinson
Favourite TV Chef: Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall

Abbie is hoping that her recipe for Rudolph Sponge Cake will impress the judges at the Bake Off. “I chose to do this recipe because Christmas always makes me think of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and I love sponge cakes!”

Fidelma O’RiordanFidelma-Photo
Age: 10
From: Southampton
Favourite thing(s) to bake: Cupcakes- I just love decorating them!
Would most like to bake for: The Saturdays!
Favourite TV Chef: Anne Thornton

For the Bake Off Fidelma will be putting her baking skills to the test as she makes a Christmas Cupcake Wreath. She said “Christmas is about making everyone happy so I’m making three different types of cupcakes so everyone can enjoy something.”

Erinn MurphyErinn-Photo2   

Age: 12
From: Co. Down
Favourite thing(s) to bake: Raspberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes
Would most like to bake for: The cast of Harry Potter
Favourite TV Chef: Rachel Allen

Erinn will be baking a Frosty Christmas Scene for the judges. “I love creative decorating” Erinn told us “and I’ve added some cinnamon to my recipe to make it taste of Christmas.”

Deck the Halls!

Edible Christmas DecorationsThere’s nothing quite like decorating your home at Christmas to get you into the festive spirit, but have you ever tried baking your own edible decorations?

Refreshingly easy to make,  homemade decorations are a wonderful way to express your creativity and are great for keeping the little ones busy too. So why not gather the whole family together and get everyone involved. It’s guaranteed to be hours of fun and a great talking point for all your Christmas guests.

So go on make your home look good enough to eat with one of our favourite recipes for edible Christmas decorations

How to Make a Sausage & Apple Plait

Sausage and Apple PlaitThere’s no doubting winter is a time for comfort food, and one of our all time favourites is this delicious recipe for Sausage and Apple Plait. Made with locally reared pork, sweet cooking apples and tasty rough puff pastry, this is guaranteed to be a teatime treat. Serve hot or cold with fresh seasonal vegetables, creamy mash and real gravy.

Here we’ll take you through a step by step guide on how to make the perfect pastry for this wholesome meal. Click here for the full recipe.

1. Place the flour in a bowl. Cut the butter into very small cubes and add to the flour with the salt. Using a round bladed knife cut the butter into the flour as finely as possible then using your fingertips rub the butter into flakes with the flour, it will be quite coarse and a little lumpy- but this is what will give you lovely flakes when cooked.

Rubbing in flour and butter

2. When the cubes of butter have become small pieces, gradually add 125ml of ice cold water and mix until it is all incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Rough Puff Pastry Dough

3. Dust  the work surface with flour and roll the pastry out into a 40 x 20cm rectangle. Fold it into three and give it a quarter-turn. Roll the block of pastry into a 40 x 20cm rectangle as before, and fold it into three again. These are the first 2 turns. Wrap the block in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Pastry Dough

4. Give the chilled pastry another 2 turns, rolling and folding as before. This makes a total of 4 turns, and the pastry is now ready. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. (If you wish, the dough will now keep for 3 days in the fridge, and for at least 4 weeks in the freezer.)

5. Run the sausages under a cold tap, slit the skins then remove and discard them. Finely chop the sage and then the apples, discarding the core and pips. Mix the sausagemeat, apple and sage together and form into a fat sausage about 7cmx180cm.

6. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a rectangle about 260cm x 240cm. Place the sausagemeat down the centre then using a sharp knife, cut 2.5 cm strips at a slant towards you.

7. Starting furthest away from you, take one strip of pastry and fold it over the sausagemeat. Then, take a strip of pastry from the other side and lay it over, slightly overlapping the first piece. Continue all the way down the pie then tuck the ends of the pastry into the plait. Brush a little beaten egg over the pastry.

8. Pre heat the oven to 200c, 180c fan. Gas 6. Bake the plait for 20 minutes the reduce the oven temperature to 170c, 150c fan, gas 4  and cook for a further 20 mins, until golden brown and risen and the sausagemeat is cooked through. Serve hot or cold.

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off 2011 has been one of the greatest success stories of the year. The popularity of the TV programme has encouraged so many people to get experimenting in the kitchen and is in part responsible for the fabulous home baking revival we’ve seen in recent times. Imagine then our delight when we heared that the TV show is now recruiting new applicants for the next series, due to be aired next year.

So if you’ve got a signature cake that would blow Mary Berry’s socks off, or a tantalising loaf that would wow bread baking guru Paul Hollywood, then now’s your chance to put your skills to the test and face the ultimate baking challenge! To download an application form visit Last date for entry is 31st January 2012.