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I like to think I’m good at baking, but nothing will make you question your skills more than the prospect of spending an evening with a past winner of The Great British Bake Off!  I was over the moon when AO invited me, along with a handful of other bloggers, to bake with John Whaite but I have to be honest, the thought of a having a baking disaster in front of him gave me a soggy bottom.

john whaite and vintage folly selfie

Ok that’s gross isn’t it!?  I know, I know but the joke was there and I just had to.  I’m sorry (not sorry).  I’m also not sorry for sharing a blurry selfie – I was too excited to focus haha!

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘all the gear and no idea’, right?  Well John taught us how to properly use equipment that as foodies, we all have in our kitchens, in order to turn good bakes into show stoppers.

john whaites kitchen show stopper gingerbread swiss roll ao cooks

When John announced that we’d be making gingerbread swiss rolls, my hart sank a little bit.  I’d made two swiss rolls in my life with some success but it’s not exactly my ‘go to’ bake – I don’t think I’ve met anyone who isn’t a bit scared of them.  But with a few tweaks to the way we normally do things, all of us managed a star bake!

star bake swiss roll john whaite ao cooks

  1. Preparation is key.  Properly lining and greasing our tins ensured that we didn’t loose any of the cake.
  2. Careful weighing of ingredients prevents disasters!  We weighed our bowl and then used it on the scales.  This meant that we didn’t lose any ingredients as we transferred them from scales to bowl.
  3. You can use your mixer to whisk in flour.  Once everything else is incorporated, add the flour, mix slowly for two rotations and then fast for 2 seconds.  Transfer immediately into the baking tray
  4. Don’t scrape the bowl.   When baking a swiss roll, don’t scrape down the sides of the bowl as the mixture that’s left will have lost some of it’s ‘lift’.
  5. Chill out.  Lay your cake onto a damp towel and roll (with the towel inside), then chill.  Don’t rush this part, the cake needs to be really cold for the curl to set and to prevent the filling from melting.
  6. Even more chill!  Once you’ve filled the swiss roll, chill again.

The best thing about all this chilling is that while you’re waiting, you get to eat delicious food.   Not all cheese boards are created equal – some of them are made by John Whaite!

cheese board john whaite ao cooks

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the best cake I’ve ever baked.  John said that with the right tools and methods, there’s no reason why we couldn’t make patisserie quality bakes at home and coming home with my creation (beaming, dead proud!) I had to agree.

gingerbread swiss roll, star vake, john whaite, ao cooks

AO are on a mission to help home cooks and bakers take their food to the next level, so keep an eye out for more tips 🙂

Love Rachel


*AO invited me to spend the evening at John Whaite’s Kitchen but all excited boasting is my own :-)*

Be a social butterfly...