The Bake Off Bake Along: Week 9 – Chocolate

I definitely say this every week, but I can’t believe we’re already on week 9 and I’ve got mixed emotions this week. Firstly it’s the semi final – WHAT? I think back to cake week and whilst making my Madeira I was dubious whether I’d find the time to bake steadily more extravagant bakes week after week. If I’m honest, I have loved doing the Bake Off Bake Along even though I have devoted a HUGE number of hours to it and this week was no exception, although it was done at a slow and steady Sunday afternoon pace.

In reaction to this week’s show, I was NOT impressed by the results! Flozza left…boo!  So sad (but none more so than my Dad who had a special soft spot for her (in a purely fatherly way apparently…)) It was a shame for Flora that she had to go, I am fed up with Ian’s pretend-he’s-not-smug smugness. Will be annoyed if Ian wins overall, go Nadiya and Tamal (but secretly GO TAMAL YOU BEAUTIFUL BAKING BEAST!).


The challenges this week were fantastic, chocolate = YUM, chocolate soufflé = quite tricky but equally YUM, chocolate masterpiece = so much scope for it being amazing but alas, I didn’t have resources, finances or time to make something extraordinarily YUM (plus when I saw Nadiya’s chocolate tart I was absolutely sure I HAD to make it – peanut butter chocolate salted caramel = my idea of heaven!). Can you tell I was excited about this one?

I was supposed to be in London all weekend so I was a little bit nervous about the time to make all the integral parts of this bake, but as it was, I ended up being at home on Sunday for a lovely chilled day lying in, drinking tea, booking our accommodation for our holiday next week, catching up on reading my book and some blogs I’ve been saving and having the luxury of time to bake this one slowly and carefully. Plus it couldn’t disappoint as it was going to be the pudding for dinner with our family friends, the husband of whom is about to go live in Sudan as he works in humanitarian aid.

The bake had a LOT of ingredients and a huge list of instructions (which can be found HERE), plus so many different sections to go through step by step, but each bit wasn’t too bad if you were methodical, waiting to assemble it all together. I basically had to separately put together chocolate pastry, salted caramel, cinnamon peanut butter, chocolate peanut mousse, chocolate ganache, chocolate truffles and chocolate decorations. Easy huh?!


As it was, the only major bit that went wrong was the first lot of pastry which I think I overbaked as it was very crumbly. Even though I used a huge tart dish, there was still loads of mixture so I managed to make 2 separate tarts (much to the appreciation of my colleagues who got the 2nd tart for lunch-pudding today!). Anyhow – I made a second batch of chocolate pastry as the first was tasty but not up to semi-final standard, thank goodness the second lot was much better and tasted almost exactly like a bourbon biscuit (something my brother Harry would highly appreciate!)


The salted caramel was great, but from years of making millionaires shortbread, I knew that one would be ok! Peanut butter is actually something I’ve never made before but was easy peasy and tasted SO GOOD – I could have spooned out all the mixture straight into my mouth from the magimix (which is our kitchen relic from when Mum and Dad got married and is so bloody useful!). The chocolate ganache was made with the help of Adam, who had a great time stirring the cream into the chocolate and then butter. It set beautifully and was so gloriously shiny! The ganache also made the truffles too but I rolled them in vermicelli. Then once the pastry and salted caramel had set a bit, I smoothed on the mousse (but failed miserably to take any photos at all of it for some reason?!), which was basically whipped cream with half the chocolate ganache and all of the peanut butter mixed in. Can this pudding get any better?


I had a slight issue with the mousse as I hadn’t left long enough to let it set in the fridge, so I popped it in the freezer for a bit to chill out so I could pour on the ganache. Meanwhile, I drew the chocolate decorations out on some baking parchment, but used a sandwich bag instead of a piping bag because I didn’t have any at home – it actually worked pretty well considering. The hole was slightly too big which took serious concentration and meant I had to work speedily but the finished effect looked pretty nice. Plus I had enough chocolate left over for a some quick choccie letters to make a title!


The photos I’m afraid were a little rushed – never prepare your pudding with an eagerly awaiting audience sat behind you at the dinner table, I didn’t really have time to sort the lighting, didn’t check the angles properly and should have chosen a better background. But hey ho, it’s not all about the photos, it’s a lot about the bake and this one was incredible! Possibly one of my favourite puddings ever – the ganache was smooth and rich, the mousse was light and nutty, the caramel was sweet and salty and there were most certainly no soggy bottoms in the crisp pastry!! Thank you Bake Off for introducing me to this beautiful mix of chocolate, nuts and caramel, and thank you Nadiya for providing the inspiration to make this after yours was so damn good on the show!


The two chocolate tarts were consumed within about 10 minutes each so I think it is safe to say this one went down well, it was a really fun bake to make and it tasted incredible and will definitely be repeated in the future! As for next week…roll on the final…*sob*…