Meet last year’s Big Bucks Bake Off baking champ – and recreate her winning gluten-free bake!

By Eden

Caroline Rose wowed the judges, led by Jean-Christophe Novelli in 2014’s Big Bucks Bake Off. We caught up with her for a chat..and to get our hands on her winning recipe!

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Eden’s 5th annual Big Bucks Bake Off is just around the corner so it’s time for Buckinghamshire’s amateur bakers to dig out their signature recipes, rummage through the cookery book shelves and prepare to wow the judges!

Eden caught up with last year’s winning baker Caroline Rose who stunned the judges with her gluten-free mocha marble cake with white chocolate ganache.

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Caroline, congratulations on your win. Did you enjoy your day at Eden and meeting Jean-Christophe Novelli?

It was a fabulous day, from meeting Jean-Christophe to winning the competition to exploring all the other food stalls. It was great to see such a wonderful turn out for the competition and I’m very honoured to have won considering the quality of all the entries.
I found Jean-Christophe to be an interesting man and you could tell from talking to him, the passion he has for cooking. He was very friendly and easy to talk to and he was very interested in all the contestants’ bakes. He also took great interest in my use of gluten free ingredients.

Your winning cake sounds delicious, and very unusual as it’s completely gluten-free. Where did you get the inspiration for the recipe?
The inspiration for the cake was from watching The Great British Bake Off, one of my favourite programmes. I’m an avid viewer (although I couldn’t ever see myself competing in the show!) and often try the recipes featured on the show.

Do you always cook with gluten-free ingredients? What are your top tips for gluten-free baking?
As I suffer with a gluten intolerance I cook with gluten free ingredients daily. For my bakes, I substitute normal flour with gluten free flour although occasionally it doesn’t always translate across as planned. This is because for some recipes using gluten free flour seems to make the bake a little drier than it should be. Because of this, I always trial run any bakes first and make adjustments as needed.

My top tips for baking with gluten free ingredients is to find a flour that works for your tastes as there are several alternatives on the market. However be prepared to spend a little extra as gluten free flour is significantly more expensive than normal flour! Additionally I find that gluten free bakes can be quite dense so I always use a mixer and ensure there is plenty of air in the mixture before baking.

What inspired you to take part in the Big Bucks Bake Off in 2014?
I enjoy The Great British Bake Off on TV, but I don’t have the time to dedicate to the weeks of competition that the contestants there endure, so when I saw this competition advertised in 2013, I decided to enter. Unfortunately I didn’t place in that competition but not to be deterred I decided to try again in 2014 as I wanted to prove that gluten free baking can compete on a par with other bakes.

What are your tips for readers thinking about entering this year?
Practice your bake first and make sure that both you and your friends and family are happy with it. Then give it a go. Try and come up with something that is going to stand out both in terms of taste and decoration.

Finally, please can you share your winning recipe with us?

winning-cake
Gluten free mocha marble loaf cake

For the sponge
250g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g gluten free self raising flour
4 large eggs

For the chocolate mixture
30g cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk

For the coffee mixture
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

To Finish
100g good quality white chocolate
100mls whipping cream
Cocoa powder

Make the sponge mixture by creaming the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla extract and eggs, and mix together. Add the gluten free flour and mix together until light and creamy.

Split the mixture into two separate bowls.

Sift the cocoa powder into one bowl, add the milk and fold in until completely mixed.

Add the cooled coffee liquid to the other bowl and stir until combined.

Spoon both mixtures into a 900g loaf tin, adding a spoonful of each alternatively and sprinkling chocolate chips between each layer.

Gently bang the tin on the worktop to get rid of any air bubbles.

Smooth the top surface, then marble the mixture by drawing a round bladed knife through the mixture, swirling it around.

Bake for 1-1 ¼ hours until cake has risen and a knife comes out clean when inserted.
Leave in the tin to cool for 20 mins, then carefully turn the cake out.

Leave to cool fully.

Make the white chocolate ganache – chop the chocolate into fine pieces and put into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until hot but not boiling then pour it in a slow steady stream over the chocolate. Leave for a couple of minutes, then gently stir until the chocolate has all melted and is smooth and glossy.

Leave to cool and thicken, and then give it another gentle stir.
Leave the ganache to cool until it is thick enough to spread, then spread it over the cake.

Dust the cake with the cocoa powder and you are finished!

This year’s final will be held at Eden’s Street Eats festival of food on Saturday 1st August, with special celebrity guest judge Gregg Wallace, who will also be cooking up a storm throughout the day.

Closing date for entries is Thursday 23rd July at 5pm – please visit www.edenshopping.co.uk/category/competitions to find out how to enter. Shortlisted entries will be notified by email.