5 Ideas To Win Your Office Bake Off

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We held our inaugural Great ihateironing  Office Bake Off recently and we had so much fun, we’re going to make it a yearly event. Inspired by BBC One’s baking competition show, the Great British Bake Off, our version had all the same elements as the television show: talent, personality and of course drama.

If you’re inspired to host your own office bake off, or simply want to impress the office versions of judges Paul and Mary (there’s one in every office), we thought we’d give you the scoop–and sprinkle!–of our entries and easy recipes to try out yourself.

#1 Tiramisu

To no one’s surprise, the Tiramisu came in first place at the Great ihateironing Office Bake Off. It’s a tweaked version of a authentic Italian secret recipe, handed down generations to our team member Andre. After some begging, we convinced Andre to reveal the recipe for his office-famous Tiramisu.

Total preparation time: 20 minutes
Total baking time: 8 hours to chill
Ingredients:
  • 5 eggs, with yolks and whites separate
  • 5 spoons of sugar
    500g of mascarpone
  • 500g of lady finger biscuits
  • Espresso coffee
  • A dash of Brandy or Cognac
  • Cocoa powder
Instructions:
  • Combine the sugar with the egg yolks, and stir until the mixture is creamy and the sugar is dissolved
  • Add the mascarpone and beat well
  • Stir in the liquor to taste
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff
  • Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture
  • Pour espresso into a small dish and swiftly dip–but don’t soak–each side of the lady finger into the espresso, one at a time, and line an even layer in a rectangular glass dish
  • Dollop the mascarpone mixture on top of the lady fingers
  • Repeat with another layer of lady fingers, then the remaining mascarpone and finally, a dusting of cocoa powder on top
  • Lastly, chill in the fridge for about 8 hours, then serve to an excited office!

#2 Sticky Toffee Pudding

office bake off
Chef Sona’s warm Sticky Toffee Pudding

Our customer service specialist Sona’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, served with custard, was a welcome treat. Sona is used to going the extra mile for our customers in the customer care team, and her attention to detail really shined through at the office bake off. Our developer Ryan, acting judge for the day, and dubbed it an instant hit. It does take a little longer to make but if you really want to win your office bake off then the investment is well worth it.

Total preparation time: 1 hour
Total baking time: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 175ml boiling water
  • 225g whole Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g self-raising flour, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g butter
  • 140g demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 100ml milk
  • cream or custard to serve
For the toffee sauce:
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 225ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
Instructions:
  • Chop the dates quite small, put them in a bowl, then pour the boiling water over
  • Leave for about 30 minutes until cool and well-soaked, then mash a bit with a fork
  • Stir in the vanilla extract
  • Butter and flour seven mini pudding tins (each about 200ml/7fl oz) and sit them on a baking sheet
  • Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4
  • While the dates are soaking, make the puddings! Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda together and beat the eggs in a separate bowl
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl for a few minutes until it’s slightly creamy. The mixture will be grainy from the sugar.
  • Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between additions, and beat in the black treacle
  • Then, using a large metal spoon, gently fold in one-third of the flour, then half the milk, being careful not to over-mix
  • Repeat until all the flour and milk is used
  • Then, stir the soaked dates into the pudding batter. The mix may look a little curdled at this point and will be like a soft, thick batter.
  • Spoon it evenly between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen and firm
  • Meanwhile, put the sugar and butter for the sauce in a medium saucepan with half the cream
  • Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved
  • Stir in the black treacle, turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble away for 2-3 minutes until it is a rich toffee colour, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn
  • Take the pan off the heat and beat in the rest of the cream
  • Remove the puddings from the oven
  • Leave in the tins for a few minutes, then loosen them well from the sides of the tins with a small palette knife before turning them out
  • You can serve them now with the sauce drizzled over, but they’ll be even stickier if left for a day or two coated in the sauce*
    * To do this, pour about half the sauce into one or two ovenproof serving dishes. Sit the upturned puddings on the sauce, then pour the rest of the sauce over them. Cover with a loose tent of foil so that the sauce doesn’t smudge. There’s no need to chill. When ready to serve, heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Warm the puddings through, still covered, for 15-20 mins or until the sauce is bubbling. Serve them on their own, or with cream or custard.Yum!

#3 Christmas Cookies

office bake off
Alyssa’s festive Christmas Cookies

Alyssa, our marketing intern, wowed the judge with her Christmas Cookies. The cookies were a firm favourite with the team and went down a storm with ladies next door who joined us from the London Fashion Agency.  The added bonus with this option is that it is one of the quickest dishes to prepare – something we’re all a fan of at ihateironing!

Total preparation time: 15 minutes
Total baking time: 8-10 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 530g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 340g of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 120g sugar
  • 235g packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 475g milk chocolate chips
  • Decorative red and green sprinkles
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda and whisk
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter with both sugars and beat until light and fluffy–an electric mixer will speed up this process and save you the forearm workout
  • Add the salt, vanilla, and eggs and beat until mixed well
  • Add the flour mixture but don’t over-mix
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop balls of dough and place them about 5 centimetres apart on the cookie sheets
  • Next, flatten the tops of the dough balls slightly and gingerly sprinkle the Christmas sprinkles on top
  • Bake for no longer than 10 minutes–the cookies should be golden brown and still gooey in the centre
  • Remove from oven, and cool for 2 minutes
  • Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a container to bring into the office!

#4 Mascarpone and Lime Torte

The runner up in our office bake off was a beautiful and refreshing lime cheesecake with a thick graham cracker crust. Our phenomenal Head of Customer Service Helen applied her usual care and attention to detail to this dish, garnished with homemade chocolate leaves. Although this dish technically isn’t a baked good, Helen’s customised lime cheesecake is another option that’s bound to blow your team away at your own office bake off.

Total preparation time: 45 minutes
Total baking time: 0 minutes!
Ingredients:
office bake off
Helen’s Lime Cheesecake

200g crushed ginger snaps

  • 50g butter, melted
  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 limes–juice and finely grated zest
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50g caster sugar
  • some green grapes
  • fresh leaves to create chocolate leaves as garnish–rose leaves or other as desired
Instructions:
  • Combine the crushed ginger snaps with the melted butter
  • Press the biscuit mix into the base of a 18 cm spring sided, or loose bottomed cake tin
  • Mix the mascarpone, icing sugar, lime zest and juice in a bowl and beat together
  • Spread the mixture over the biscuit base
  • Chill for 30 minutes
For the decorations:
  • Melt the chocolate
  • Wash and gently dry the leaves
  • Dip and drag the underside of the leaves in the melted chocolate until fully coated, and set to dry chocolate-side up
  • Frost the grapes by dipping in water and coating with caster sugar
  • Carefully peel away each leaf from the stem
  • Arrange leaves with the grapes on top of the torte as desired
  • Lastly, take a photo before serving!

#5 Apple Crumble

Our CMO Michael prepared the winter classic, the apple crumble. As a staple of any bake off it’s a tasty option for a cold London evening. The recipe used was the BBC Good Food, and it was followed to the letter–mostly by Michael of course, but with some ‘supervision’ from his wife!.

Total preparation time: 15 minutes
Total baking time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced to 1 cm thick
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, plus 110g

    office bake off
    Michael’s Apple Crumble and Cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 175g plain flour
  • 110g cold butter
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • double cream, clotted cream or custard, to top
Instructions:
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5
  • Toss the apples with the 2 tbsp sugar
  • Place the sugar apples in a round and deep baking dish
  • Mix the flour, salt and 110g sugar in a bowl
  • Add slices of butter and rub in with your fingers till the mix looks like moist breadcrumbs. Be sure to toss the bowl to get the big bits at the bottom
  • Pour the crumbly mixture on top the apples and even out with a fork, gently pressing to flatten
  • Sprinkle the oats and demerara sugar on top as desired
  • Set the dish on a baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the apples feel very soft
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes and serve with cream or custard to a mouthwatering office crowd!

Honourable Mention…

The honourable mention goes to our CEO and Founder Matt who had planned to wow the team with a Doncaster schoolyard phenomenon known as chocolate concrete. Unfortunately it didn’t make it out of the kitchen but we’ve been promised Matt will have another go in the new year.

So there you have it: 5 simple, easy ideas for your next office bake off. Don’t forget to tell us how it goes!

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