What an awesome party this is turning out to be! I hope you are loving the the incredible creations of the WordPress bloggers who have taken part as much as we have! Well…Jack and I have been burning calories this evening, so it is more than time to top up our energy levels with an yummy treat that will help us keep dancing until the early hours of the morning!
I did not dare to ask Margot Hamilton, the creator of Margot Dreams of Baking, how many calories were in her tempting Chocolate peanut butter bars with chocolate-salted caramel-peanut crust. Jack and I love peanut butter (one of my first ever posts was about how Jack devoured an entire batch of peanut butter cookies I had baked) and when I showed Jack this picture, he asked me if I would make some for him.
Thank goodness Margot shared with us her recipe in this brilliant post:
We reckon that with one of Margot’s chocolate peanut butter bars we will be able to dance the night away!!! Perfect fuel for an international blogging party!!! Come on WordPress, from Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to L.A. New York, Vegas to Africa, tonight we’re gonna get on the floor!!!
Today is my first Saturday off work in over six months (maybe longer). Normally at this time on a Saturday evening, I am resting my achy muscles after six consecutive days in a row home and drawing a bath so that I can have a good soak. But not today!!! I booked today off work to make sure I was here for the entire GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC!
So you will understand how thrilled was I when an incredibly talented blogger sent in a photo of a very impressive cake, with intricate details Jack and I have been blown away by.
Hannah, the creator of Bitches That Bake, is a phenomenal talent as you will see from her beautiful website. She created a classic Vanilla Cake with Champagne Buttercream and decorated it using fondant, which she sculpted it to form the figures. I am sure you will agree with me that some of the bloggers who have sent in photos this weekend are truly in a league of their own. Prepare to be amazed by a very special cake in the photograph below:
Check out the amazing detail in Hannah’s close-up!
I love the painted finger and toe nails. Hannah you must have the patience of a saint to create a bake with such exquisite detail! It is gorgeous!!! Your aunt must have been stoked to see her cake!
Wherever possible, we like to offer you a muppets version to boogie to…because, we are muppets…we love the muppets!!! ❤
Over here in London, it is nearing suppertime, and right on time we have the perfect treat for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC.
The amazing Catherine, the creator of Cyranny’s Cove, (and is also one of the mighty bloggers who hosts the WORD OF THE DAY writing prompts and many other fantastic blogging events, including SKYPY SUNDAYS) is serving up Bruschettas and Croutons with a Melted Parmesan topping. Oh yesssss!!!
Are you feeling as hungry as we are? There is more to come. Stay tuned for some spectacular BAKING and PICNIC creations! This is shaping out to be the best picnic ever!
As bruschetta is the perfect Italian treat and this is shaping up to be amazing party…I felt the need for a bit of Mambo Italiano, but I was torn between photos of Italy…and Dean Martin singing with a band of muppets – no, I mean it literally – muppets.
It’s time to spice things up a little – don’t you think! The wonderful Erin, creator of Life’s so complicated, has done exactly that! I love her gingerbread stars. Don’t they look fabulous?
THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF is partly to do with baking, but more to do with GREAT BLOGGERS. I have especially loved posts than inspired me and encouraged me to keep going during the challenging months that have affected us all. Erin is a superstar! One of my favourite posts from Erin was about HOPE. I loved it:
I especially love that Erin made gingerbread STARS for us. I cannot tell you how weird I found it eating gingerbread MEN when I was a kiddo. I remember being perplexed about biting off the head or leg and questioning if it was right. I preferred for my mumma to cut of the extremities of my gingerbread treat and leave me with a round torso that was was indistinguishable from another biscuit.
Gingerbread, possibly the best biscuit of all time. (Or if you think there is a better biscuit than gingerbread, let us know in the comments. Am I sparking the great biscuit debate?) I am putting the kettle on right now to make a round of tea for everyone to go with our bickies.
Gingerbread superstars rock!
…and in case you wondered why I have a complex about eating gingerbread men…here is the scene where gingerbread man is being interrogated by torture…”not the gumdrop buttons!”
For many blogging on WordPress is mainly about producing fantastic fiction and phenomenal poetry. Well, we invited two of WordPress’ most talented creative bloggers to get creative and we are thrilled to share with you their work!
Our first special guest is Puman, the creator of paeansunpluggedblog, who created this fantastic poem, inspired by BAKING and family fun!!!
My friend, the fabulous Mel along with Gary and Jeanne had held the fantastic bake-off last year. I had written a fun poem about it. This year the bake-off is back, bigger and better as THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC ! To celebrate the festive like atmosphere, in these trying times, here is my verse!
‘It’s an art,’ she glowers
‘It is all science,’ he insists
I smack my head in exasperation,
(Secretly smiling at their joshing)
‘It is baking, plain and simple!’
My off-springs and me are stationed in the kitchen
After an afternoon of wrangling and arguments.
I am reluctant to pass the baton
But tired of their everyday demands
I decide to divulge some secrets
Of my much guarded weapon of satiation!
The man of the house hovers in the background Curiosity in his eyes, a smirk…
I was very excited about my next bake. Years ago my mumma had a baking recipe book that I loved. As a youngster I attempted many of the recipes and this was a family favourite. But it is probably twenty years since I attempted it.
This my friends is what a Chocolate Brownie Roulade is supposed to look like!
However, my attempt turned into a slight baking disaster. I’ll talk you through my rocky journey to rolling my roulade!
These are the ingredients I used:
150gr dark chocolate
175gr caster sugar
5 eggs (separated)
25gr chopped raisins
25gr chopped pecan nuts
pinch of salt
300ml double cream (whipped lightly)
icing sugar (for dusting)
Before I start work with the ingredients I switched the oven on to 180°C. I then greased a baking tin (30x20cm) and then lined it with baking parchment and greased the parchment.
Then it is time to start work. What better way to start than with the chocolate?
The recipe said the put the 150gr of broken up dark chocolate into a saucepan with the 3 tablespoons of water and to melt gently over a low heat. Once it has just melted, I removed it from the heat and left it to cool down.
Then it was time to turn to my attention to the egg yolks. Using my electric hand whisk I beat together the 5 egg yolks and the 175gr of caster sugar until they were thick and pale. Then I added the cooled chocolate, the chopped raisins and pecan nuts and folded them in together.
In a separate bowl I whisked the egg whites and the salt until white stiff peaks formed. I obeyed the recipe which said to gently fold in a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then I folded in the rest of the egg whites lightly and quickly.
Next, I transferred the chocolate mix into the greased and lined baking tin and baked it for 25 minutes.
I followed the tip in the recipe to leave it to cool for a while and then cover it with another piece of baking parchment and placing a damp clean tea towel over the top. (I don’t know why…I just obeyed.)
When it was completely cold I turned the chocolate sponge out onto another piece of baking parchment which was dusted with icing sugar, and removed all of the other baking parchment.
Then after I had lightly whipped the double cream and spread it over the chocolate sponge.
Now it comes to the crunch. Rolling! Aaaaaagh! It didn’t roll as well as I hoped. It ended up more of a chocolate and cream sandwich than a roulade. Slight baking disaster!
The good news is that a chocolate brownie and cream sandwich tastes just as awesome as a chocolate brownie roulade.
I just need to practice my rolling!
Rolling…rolling…rolling like a river. Wait for it….you know it’s worth waiting for!!!
Our international GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC has now gone intergalactic! I am not suggesting that Yorkshire folk are from another galaxy – oh no! But the pride of Yorkshire – that’s our Gary, aka bereavedandbeingasingleparent, has created something quite out of this world!
Gary has been at it again! If you have been following Gary’s baking practice runs, you may appreciate that he has gone from strength to strength and has been bravely been taking on all manner of baking challenges.
The results have been simply astounding…if that is the right word. But this particular BAKING creation, one of Gary’s challenges as he was undergoing tough mental and physical preparation for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC has won my full respect.
I have never attempted to make doughnuts in my life, but Gary has not just made the kind of factory produced doughnuts you see supermarkets churn out by the dozen. No, Gary has made these unique flying saucer shaped doughnuts with a dusting of sugar.
They slightly remind me of one of my favourite sweets from childhood, aptly called “Flying Saucers” and full of sherbet sugar.
The funny thing is, as soon as Gary emailed me photos of his BAKING creations, I started to prepare this post. Then very soon afterwards, I saw his post in which he revealed Gary’s son came to exactly the same conclusion I did:
I have complied a special list of tracks inspired by Gary’s baking…and this one fits so well into the Saturday night party mood – Gary has the power! I was thinking of the lyrics from the original Snap track…”It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda hectic”.
I loved the start of this mash-up….but I have to admit, about two-thirds of the way through, it started to make me dizzy….and I am not just talking about the spinning stars….I couldn’t identify all the tracks involved in the mash-up, which makes it bonkers to listen to. But hey…if you can dance to all the different beats in this…you will burn off all the calories from drooling at photos of BAKING and PICNIC creations today!!
If you have been following THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF today, we want to say thank you for all of your support. There have been some phenomenal photos sent in and I am just feeling really sorry for Jeanne who is going to have a tough time judging this year!
Well….we are barely half way through. But it is Saturday evening and that means it is time to ROCK THIS PARTY!!! Yes we have even more amazing BAKING and PICNIC creations for you.
Who better to get this party kicking than Robbie, the creator of Robbie’s inspiration, has made some amazing celebration cakes for her family.
Robbie published this post about this superb DRUM KIT CAKE:
I am so jealous of Michael ending up with such a cool cake! My school friends and I tried to start a band at school. (I was supposed to be the bass guitarist, but I gave up when I started my job at the record company in Manchester and decided music management was more in my reach that learning to play an instrument.) I love hearing drums at live music events.
Expect more amazing foodie photos over the next few hours as THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC gets into the party mood!
Jack has put his chef’s hat on (he had me as his sous-chef) and is determined to win the accolade of STAR BAKER. Watch out Sheree! He views you as his main competition – oh and he also loved your interview. I have been gently steering Jack in the PICNIC direction as I think his flamboyant “can’t be bothered reading the recipe” approach to baking sometimes produces interesting results!
After a lot of discussion, we have agreed that rather than baking, Jack would give you all a taste of Africa. For the past few months he has lived on rice, beans and cassava (and goat, but I don’t want to think about that). But as Jack has been to many different African lands over the years, we had a talk about all the potential and we looked up recipes and have decided to give you a taste of North Africa (if all goes according to plan there will be a taste of South Africa tomorrow).
Today’s recipe is courtesy of VEGETARIAN TIMES and is a tagine with aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, eggs and a great mix of African spices. Here is the recipe we tried to follow:
This is what the end results were supposed to look like. You will have to scroll down to see how Jack’s tagine worked out:
Yes…we are spicing up THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC even more.
These are the ingredients we used:
3 medium eggplant, cubed
3 peppers, thinly sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. ras el hanout
1 cup vegetable stock
1 Tbs. harissa, plus more for garnish, optional
6 large eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, for garnish
Well…in my role as sous chef, I was tasked with the vegetable preparation (there is no way Jack is getting all the credit for this).
The aubergines needed to be cubed, peppers sliced. tomatoes and onions chopped and the garlic minced. Then we place them inside of a heavy ovenproof casserole dish (the recipe said to use a tagine or a Dutch oven).
Then we added two tablespoon of ras el hanout, some salt and some olive oil. The recipe said to add 1/4 cup of olive oil, but we had no idea how to convert cups to millilitres, so we just gave a few generous splashes.
Then with the lid on we, sorry, Jack placed it into a cold oven. Then I turned the oven on at a temperature of 160°c. Then we set the timer on the oven for two and a half hours. Every 45 minutes, I…we… Jack gave everything a stir. The smells of spice emerging from the oven and wafting through my little nest was making us both very hungry.
After a whopping two and a half hours (in which the sous chef did the dishes and then we cuddled on the sofa, munching baklava, and Jack told me more about his time away), Jack took the casserole dish out of the oven, for the next step.
He mixed in the tablespoon of harissa and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Then Jack formed six wells and dropped an egg into each one (I cracked the eggs). Then he put it back into the oven, without the lid, and baked it for another ten minutes so that the eggs were cooked.
Then Jack garnished the spicy vegetables and eggs with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts (I am taking credit for chopping the parsley and toasting the pine nuts).
Et voila!!! Jack’s North African inspired aubergine and egg tagine…with the assistance of his glamorous sous chef. I am not going to show you a photo, but in case you were worried, I managed to clean all the foodie marks from my casserole dish.
I would have added a wedge of garlic bread, but that is just me…as a teenager I thought it was great to go out with my friends to Frankie & Benny’s Restaurant in Wigan, and order cheesy garlic bread and mocktails.
Jack hopes you liked his taste of North Africa. Tomorrow, he has a taste of South Africa for you!
Seeing that succulent fruit is making my mouth water! I don’t know if I should offer an apology for going for the obvious song, but it this track has a great feel to it. I think it’s just right for the kind of laid-back music you would want at a picnic.