Why I love making and filming British Bake Off recipes


Last year I set out to attempt all the technical challenges from the 2020 season of Great British Bake Off (more on that here). I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a lot more work than I expected, but simultaneously it was also SO much fun and a great way to learn both baking and video editing skills that I never would have otherwise. Long story short, I’m going to keep doing this! I’m continuing this project with the technical challenges from the 2019 season. You can check out the first one on my YouTube where I made Prue’s angel cake recipe.

My attempt at Prue’s angel cake recipe from the 2019 season of GBBO

What are my favorite parts about this project? Read on for details.

You learn more from failure than success

As frustrating as failure can be in the moment, I’ve learned the most from the recipes that haven’t quite gone as planned. It’s helped me be less afraid of improvising and going off-recipe. And it makes me feel that much more accomplished after a recipe success. I still like to share the videos of recipes that don’t go as well because most of social media is full of perfectly edited and filtered photos and videos. Even though there are tons of failures beyond the camera, we often only see the best. Sharing these fails makes it all a bit more real.

My face when I’m not sure if I should be pouring steaming hot fig paste into a food processor.

My own self-taught pastry school curriculum

When I started baking at the beginning of lockdown I was eager to try new techniques and recipes, but I found the number of recipes to choose from on the Internet daunting. I mean, it’s an amazing feat that there are thousands of ways to make a chocolate cake all available at my fingertips, but to me this was mostly overwhelming. Before I knew it, an hour would pass and I’d still be sifting through recipe options (pun kind of intended).

Then I discovered Great British Bake Off and the rest was history. The technical challenges were my favorite part of each episode to watch. I loved seeing which the recipes the judges chose, and watching how the bakers could produce such a wide variety of results given the same ingredients and instructions. This got me thinking, what if I tried these recipes?

The cool part about this was the recipes would be chosen for me (by some pretty well known bakers!) and they’d cover all aspects of baking: cake, bread, cookies, pastry, and tons more. Also, most of these recipes are things I’ve never heard of and likely wouldn’t have tried making on my own. Like a 17th century recipe that calls for stuffing an entire lemon (rind and all!) inside a pastry.

My attempt at Sussex Pond Pudding, Prue’s recipe from the 2020 season of Bake Off.

Or walnut cookies topped with coffee ganache, marshmallow, and tempered chocolate.

My attempt at Prue’s recipe for Walnut Whirls. A crumbly walnut cookie topped with coffee ganache, marshmallow, and tempered chocolate.

Editing videos of yourself baking is an *experience*

Baking in front of a camera is an entirely different experience than, well, baking not in front of a camera. It would be much easier if I went through all these recipes without filming or documenting the experience. And sometimes I ask myself why I do it. Setting up my camera takes time, and I can only film during the day to get the right light. But the truth is I really enjoy sharing this process as much as I like the baking itself. Even if one person tells me one of my videos or baking photos made them smile, it really means a lot. And I’ve received some great feedback and ideas from people who have seen the content I’ve shared. It’s also given me an excuse to learn video editing which is something I’ve never done before and is therapeutic in its own way. Each video gives me a chance to try out new editing techniques.

Have ideas for future videos I should film? I’d love to hear from you in the comments on here or on my YouTube.

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