Like the vast majority of the population, I enjoy watching The Great British Bake Off.
I love the incredibly talented contestants and I admire the efforts of the not so great ones, and truth be told it is them that I identify with.
Despite a life long passion for eating cakes, the talent my mother and grandmother have for baking somehow skipped me.
I have fond memories of helping my mum bake and she would prepare a sweet treat for dessert almost every night.
Maybe because she is a star baker I’ve never really learned how to.
I’ve dabbled in making fairy cakes and scones over the years for various bake sales and parties but they have always fallen flat, often quite literally.
And the less said about the leaving cake I made for a former colleague the better.
But, as happens every year when I watch GBBO, I start to think that maybe I can bake. After all how difficult can it be to follow a recipe?
Inspired by the cheesecake tower Nadiya made in this series, I set about gathering the ingredients to make a vanilla cheesecake. I wasn’t going to attempt anything as creative as my favourite contestant, but with the cake website marking the recipe as ‘easy’ I thought it would be something I could manage.
I was wrong.
First, the website told me to grease a 12 inch cake tin, I only have a 9 inch tin so decided I’d just pour in slightly less of the mixture. The list also said you need a sieve but mine had long been thrown out so I opted to use a colander instead. Asda didn’t have any vanilla extract so I made do with vanilla paste and they were also out of full fat soft cheese so I picked up the reduced fat one.
I have since learned that you must follow baking recipes to the letter.
After spending £9 on ingredients and £12 on an electric whisk, my cheesecake came out the oven looking more like cottage cheese, with a fair chunk of the mixture left on the floor of my oven.
It went straight into the bin and I had to then buy a cheesecake from Asda to take into work after promising my colleagues home baking.
So, in total my baking adventure cost me £27 and an hour of scrubbing the oven.
From now on, I’ll leave it to the telly professionals.