I love myself some cooking competition shows. Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and MasterChef are my favorites in the States. Every time I watch a cooking competition I always think about what I would make if I were in their shoes. Just this past week on MasterChef they were challenged to cook calamari with marinara. So, one night we had my calamari with marinara.
I don’t watch too many cooking shows nowadays. There is not as much inspiration for me in the traditional cooking show unless it is about a specific type of cuisine. Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen was my last favorite cooking show.

However, all of these shows do not compare to my favorite cooking show of all time. The Great British Bake Off. This baking competition is something that took me by surprise. I usually am not a huge baker, but, this show has transformed my baking skills and ideas.

So, I have put myself up to a challenge to bake my way through season four. Last week, was the first episode and it was centered on cakes. The show consists of three challenges. The signature bake is part of the over all theme and showcases the bakers’ signature flavors. The technical bake is to test their knowledge by giving them a recipe that is missing some instructions. The show stopper is to show their skills in both flavor and decoration.

This week, I went for the signature bake. They were instructed to make a sandwich cake. Two layers of cake with a filling between the layers and a decoration on top. I created a cardamom sandwich cake with brown butter buttercream and candied almonds.


Cardamom Sandwich Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream and Candied Almonds

Cardamom Cake
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of two cake pans with parchment paper and wipe down the sides with butter.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well combined.
3. In a medium-sized bowl mix the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup combine the wet ingredients.
4. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix well in between each addition.
5. Divide into the two cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the tins and remove the parchment paper.

Brown Butter Buttercream

1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Add butter to a saucepan and melt.
2. Continue to cook the butter over low heat. It should pop and crack. When the butter begins to smell nutty and be an amber color remove it from the heat.
3. Cool completely and refrigerate it.
4. When the butter has a soft butter consistency it is ready to make into buttercream.
5. Mix together the brown butter, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add in powdered sugar.

Candied Almonds
2/3 cup almonds, chopped
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. In a cold skillet, add chopped almonds and cooking until toasted.
2. Add salt and sugar and continue to cook until the sugar has adhered to the nuts.
3. Cool on some parchment paper.


This was really delicious. The floral cardamom with the earthy brown butter really complimented each other. I’m telling you, brown butter is one of those things I could eat on anything. Yum. The upcoming episode is all about bread. Stay tuned for my next creation.


3 thoughts on “Ready…Set…Bake”

  1. Marinate squid in buttermilk for at least an hour. For the breading: 1 part flour, 1 part cornstarch, lots pepper and salt. Heat oil to 350F and fry in batches for 1 minute. Really fast and really good.

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