Thursday, 25 October 2012

Banana Loaf and GBBO Learn to Bake book review

In addition to being a bakingaddict and blog challenge addict, I am also a cookbook addict. I was really excited when I was asked if I wanted to review the new Great British Bake Off book as I love the series and have all the other books in my collection.

Learn to Bake 80 easy recipes for all the family is due out on 25th October 2012. RRP is £18.99 but I see it's now selling for £8.54 on amazon. If you fancy winning one for free then read on!

Here's a sample of some of the cakes in the book....

The book has 223 pages and has a lovely colourful layout. One of my bug bears about cookbooks is that they don't have enough pictures so I was pleased to see a lot of photos in this book (more than the previous book - GBBO How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers) There are step by step photos, photos of the actual bake and photos of kids playing. 

The book is divided into 6 chapters. It starts with a foreward by Mary Berry, then a helpful section on baking ingredients, equipment, tips and conversion tables. The chapters are

Cupcakes & Little Bakes

My verdict - I really like the style of writing for this book. The recipes are clearly set out with tips and techniques throughout. The font is a good size and I love the splashes of colour in the book.  Perfect for the amateur baker but would also appeal to the more experienced baker. As mentioned I love the amount of photos in the book - it's not 1 per recipe but it's close. My personal favourite of the Great British Bake Off books so far.

The publishers have very kindly offered a book to one of my lucky readers so read on or scroll to the bottom to enter the giveaway. Open to UK residents only. Closing date is 8th November 2012. Winner will be picked at random by rafflecopter.

I decided to try out the banana loaf which was a marbled banana chocolate loaf. It was moist and delicious and everyone loved the marbled look. I'll have to make them into mini loaves next time! 

 alternate colours

 swirl to get the marbled effect 

Recipe reproduced with permission from the publisher

100g unsalted butter
250g self raising flour
150g light brown muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
250g peeled ripe bananas (2-3)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot water from the kettle
icing sugar and cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Put the butter in the saucepan and melt gently over low heat; cool.
  • Put the flour and sugar into one of the mixing bowls and stir with the wooden spoon to break up any lumps of sugar. 
  • Add the sugar to the pan of cool but still melted butter and mix well with the fork. 
  • Use the fork to mash the bananas on a plate - there should still be some small lumps. 
  • Add the egg mixture and the bananas to the flour mixture and mix well with the wooden spoon. 
  • Spoon half of the mixture into the other mixing bowl. 
  • Put the cocoa into the heatproof bowl and carefully stir in the hot water to form a smooth paste. 
  • Stir the cocoa paste into one portion of the banana mixture. 
  • (2 options are given in the book - mini loaves or a large loaf. Obviously I made a large one)
  • Using 2 small or large spoons for each mixture (one for scooping the mix and the other for scraping it off the spoon), add alternate spoonfuls of the banana mix and cocoa mix into the loaf tin.
  • You can leave them looking like dark and light spots or swirl the 2 colours together by drawing a chopstick or spoon handle through them.
  • Bake for about 45 minss (large loaf); 20-25 minutes (mini loaves).
  • Test using the skewer test (it should come out clean)
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack. 
  • Before serving, sprinkle lightly with sifted icing sugar and then with cocoa powder.  
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book to review free of charge. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. The first three pictures are supplied by the publisher and reproduced with permission. 

And now for the giveaway....

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'd go to pastry because it's the area I'm least experienced in.

  2. I'd probably go to bread as I'm always looking for new bread ideas

  3. It would have to be the cake section!

  4. It would have to be cake.

  5. The cookbook looks great and so does your banana loaf.

  6. Biscuits first then straight to cupcakes and little bakes.

  7. most definitely cakes

  8. Bread, for sure!

  9. wow... stunning stunning banana cake... no favourites for me... just more of everything!

  10. Tough question! I reckon I would be torn between the cupcake & Little bake section and the bread section ... decisions decisions!
    Lovely looking marble on the banana cake. Yum.

  11. That looks gorgeous - I love the marbling you've managed to get on it! Glad to hear the book has more photos than the last one - that was definitely one of my negatives for the GBBO showstoppers book.

  12. i'd go to the pastry section first :)

  13. Cupcakes & Little Bakes

    great prize!

  14. love them :)

  15. Wow - I am so surprised and excited to be the winner. It looks a fabulous book and I'm really looking forward to it.
    Jane W


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