KATE’S A COOKING STAR
Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Barmby, who lives at Brooke, in south Norfolk, begins a new series in Let’s Talk this month, sharing her favourite recipes, including some nostalgic cakes and bakes with a modern twist. Kate, who won praise from TV j
‘ Bake Off’ mum just loves her kitchen and cooking
I’ve always loved and respected my mum but I don’t think I knew the truth of being a mother until I became one myself, and then I understood not only how much it alters your life but how it alters you as a person. I hear people talking about the sacrifices they’ve made for their children in terms of all the things they’ve given up and what it’s cost them but surely we shouldn’t think of parenting in terms of what we forfeit but see it for what it is – the greatest opportunity to love and be loved unconditionally. Yes, life undeniably changes but I wouldn’t swap my best day without my children for my worst day with them, they complete me and give purpose to all that I do.
Nobody is faultless, there will always be days where I feel I struggle to meet all my children’s needs but if I can do as well as my mum did and make my own daughters as happy as I have been, I will be satisfied that I have done a good job. I am grateful to my mum for the example she sets me and endeavour to do the same for my own girls.
Mothering Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate motherhood and should be a day of sentiment not commercialisation. My mum is a fantastic baker and taught me to bake while I was still in my highchair. The skills and confidence I learned from her, combined with the practical support she gave me during the busy filming period, are what made it possible for me to be a competitor on the Great British Bake Off. Our shared love of baking means that it is entirely appropriate to embrace the tradition of making a Simnel cake as a gift for her on Mothering Sunday as well as being a way of saying thank you.
Although thought of these days as an Easter cake, historically Simnel cakes were made by servant girls who were permitted to use ingredients from their employers’ larder to take home for Mothering Sunday.
As much as I adore the dark spiciness of Christmas cake, in the spring I want something altogether lighter and fresher which is why I have chosen to make a pale fragrant cake using apricots, golden sultanas and orange zest gently spiced with cardamom and cinnamon.
sugar while continuing to beat. Gradually add beaten egg, if necessary add some flour mix with final additions of egg to prevent curdling. Toss dried fruit and diced almond paste in extra tablespoon of flour, then gently fold into batter along with orange zest. Scrape mix into lined tin and smooth out surface. Cover surface of cake with double circle of baking paper with a 2.5cm hole in centre. Bake in centre of oven for between one hour and one hour 15 minutes until evenly brown, firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into cake. ( You may need to adjust cooking times to suit your own equipment.) Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes before turning on to wire rack, peel off lining paper and leave upside down to cool completely. The bottom of the cake will give you a flat surface to decorate. Roll out marzipan until about 0.5cm thick and a little larger than cake. Use cake tin as a template to cut out circle. Keep excess marzipan to shape the balls. Heat apricot jam with orange juice in a saucepan (or in a small bowl for a few seconds in microwave). Brush top of cake with warmed jam and firmly cover with marzipan circle. Mark a criss-cross pattern using knife and a clean ruler over marzipan and crimp edges by pinching with your fingers. Make 11 balls with remainder of marzipan, damp bottoms with water and secure around edge of cake. Brush marzipan with beaten egg, and carefully brown under a hot grill. Decorate the centre with posy of edible primroses and wrap with a wide ribbon. If you want to make this an extra special gift, you could make my simple sugarpaste primroses: Trex for greasing work surface 50g pale yellow sugarpaste 50g green sugarpaste Green, orange and white edible tinting powders 1 tbsp icing sugar Lightly coat work surface with Trex. Roll out yellow sugarpaste to about 0.2cm thick. Cut out at least six flowers with the petal cutter. Using a sharp pointed knife cut Vs in top of each petal. Transfer flowers on to a foam mat using a small pallet knife. Press a shell embossing tool on to each petal to mark the veins or use the side of cocktail stick. Fix a small, slightly flattened ball of sugarpaste in centre of each flower with dab of water or sugar glue, then use a Dresden tool or a cocktail stick to poke a hole in centre of ball. Brush centre with a tiny bit of green powder and then gently brush petals from the centre out with orange powder. Gently arrange the petals to make them look a bit more natural and leave to dry. To make the leaves, roll out green sugarpaste as before. Cut out three ovals approximately 8cm by 5cm or cut around a primrose leaf. Arrange the leaves on scrunched up baking paper to dry. Mix a tablespoon of icing sugar with a little water to make a paste to leaves and flowers in centre of cake.
Kate with her finished Simnel cake - just right for Mothering Sunday.
East Anglia’s Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Barmby is writing a series on baking for Let’s Talk readers. Kate is pictured with her daughters Lucy and Rebecca and her dear mum.
Enjoy a slice of this lovely cake for Mothering Sunday, which is later this month, falling on March 26.
Kate's Simnel cake is a perfect treat for Mothering Sunday.
Carefully paint the petals.
Kate gently paints one side of the leaves to add depth to the pattern.