Those who, like me, have been watching the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) for some years will be familiar with Frances Quinn. The eventual winner of GBBO in 2013, she was constantly chastised by Paul Holywood for being 'style over substance'. Not be able to taste her bakes I couldn't tell if she had the substance, but her bakes certainly showed style.
Last Christmas I was given a copy of Frances' new book Quinntessential Baking (love the name). The book certainly has plenty of style; the ideas, pictures, presentation and production quality are all fantastic. The book is divided up into fifteen chapters of different type of cake or biscuits. Within each chapter there is an introduction was a standard recipe, and then four different interpretations of the recipe. All are fun, quirky and playful ideas, based on word plays or common associations - white rabbit carrot cakes or ginger snap cards!
I am very much a substance baker. I like making cakes but I'm not normally to worried about how they look. They are going to be eaten after all. So, while I have loved looking through the book, I didn't really think I would make anything from it. I was showing the book to a friend last Friday, and just saying that, but over the weekend I thought, why not give one of them a go.
I decided to start on, what I thought would be, an easier recipe - marmalade cat-flapjack. A version of the basic flapjack recipe with added orange zest and marmalade. The mix is divided between a 12 muffin tray to make individual flapjacks. (This was a little fiddly but I did it). Once cooked the flapjacks are decorated with chocolate paw prints, hence the cat-flapjack! Not having a clean paintbrush to hand, I did my paw prints with the aid of a teaspoon, and all things considered they are not bad.
Despite my initial reluctance, I really enjoyed making, and more importantly decorating, these flapjack. Every time I go to eat one I smile at the little paw prints, and the chocolate makes a nice addition to the orange flavour of the flapjack - both style and substance! Having got my confidence up, I can certainly see myself making some of the other recipes from the book. I really want to make the coffee shot 'cup' cakes (in the picture above).