A Quick Catch Up With The Great British Bake Off Winner, John Whaite!

See John work his magic at Cake International - The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show

EventCity, Manchester - 8-10 March 2013

ExCeL, London - 12-14 April 2013

This year's series of the Great British Bake Off saw John Whaite crowned the winner of one of Britain's best loved shows. The cheeky chap from Wigan admits himself that he was the underdog in the competition but he shone on many occasions throughout the series, including winning 'star baker' in week two for his breads which included the tricky eight-strand plaited loaf.

In the final, John created an elaborate show stopper, his Heaven and Hell chiffon cake, which was a masterpiece made up of individual lemon and coconut meringue mini cakes that were placed on top of a dark chocolate and orange cake.  It received high praise from the judges with Mary Berry describing it as 'stunning' and Paul Hollywood giving it the thumbs up saying 'you have the perfect slice of cake.'

John will be appearing at Cake International - The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show where the queen of all things baking, Mary Berry and Britain's best loved artisan baker, Paul Hollywood will also be appearing.  The shows will be taking place at EventCity, Manchester from the 8-10 March and ExCeL, London from 12-14 April.

We caught up with John to see just what makes him the next rising star!
What or who got you interested in baking?
My mum when I was a tiny tot.

Where is your favourite place in Manchester?
I LOVE to go to Cicchetti's by the San Carlo Group. But Gaucho does THE best steaks ever!
Who would you most like to bake for? 
Nigella - she sees the sensuality in baking, and that's what I'm all about too. So we'd definitely have a lot to chat about
Sweet tooth or savoury?
 So sweet I'm practically a sugar cube. Though when I'm hungover, I'm all about the savoury!
What are your top tips for any baking beginner?
Use a set of good scales, and the best quality ingredients you can afford.
Which chefs have influenced you?
Eric Lanlard and Richard Bertinet
What's the best bit of advice you've ever been given?
Enjoy it. Cooking and baking are, for me, about memories and artistic expression, but I do it primarily because I'm obsessed with it.

John's Valentine's Day Raspberry and Rose Crème Brûlée

I think Crème Brûlée has to be one of the most romantic things you could possibly bake. Breaking through that caramelised sugar crust, and plunging into the set custard is nothing short of lovely, and if you served this to your valentine, I can guarantee that they'll be around for more a year later. My rose and raspberry version is so delicious, that it would stop even cupid in his tracks

Ingredients - Serves 2
About 10 raspberries
250ml whole milk
50g caster sugar
1/2tsp rose water (or a little more to taste)
Pink food colouring (optional)
3 yolks from large eggs
2tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2 and divide the raspberries between two ramekins.
Put the milk and half of the caster sugar into a medium saucepan and heat gently until you can't quite hold your finger in it. Remove from the heat and add the rosewater, tasting to ensure it is perfectly perfumed. Add a drop of food colouring, if using, and mix to a pale pastel pink. Set aside until needed.

Place the egg yolks and remaining caster sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk together until the eggs turn a little paler and the sugar has dissolved into the eggs. When the eggs are paler and fluffier, slowly pour in the milk mixture whilst continuing to whisk gently. Divide this between the two ramekins and place into a roasting tray or dish. Fill the dish with enough hot water so that it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins, then place into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custard is just set with a very slight wobble in the middle. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating for at least two hours.

Just before serving, remove the custards from the fridge and sprinkle each with demerara sugar, shaking the ramekins so that the sugar is evenly distributed. Using a cook's blowtorch, caramelise the sugar until it melts and chars slightly. If you don't have a blowtorch, simply place the custards under a hot grill until the sugar has melted and darkened, being careful not to burn it too much as this will make it very bitter. Serve immediately.

John will be treating cake fans to a host of exciting Workshops and Demonstrations on the Sunday of both Cake International shows, where he will showcase his skills which won him his title.  He'll also be answering some of your toughest questions and giving you his top tips and advice in a question and answer session.

Over 80 exhibitors from across the globe will be offering the very latest cake decorating and sugarcraft supplies. Demonstration Theatres where you will find some of the greatest sugarcraft and cake decorating talents from home and abroad.  Guest chef, Paul Da Costa Greaves with his favourite recipes in The Bakery Theatre. A Taste of Sugar Mini-Workshops, which has been specially designed to help sugarcrafting newcomers and juniors learn fantastic cake crafting techniques. International Guests and experts in sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking.

Make sure you pop along to the original cake show, Cake International - The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show where you can see your favourite stars, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and John Whaite and pick up top tips and recipes straight from the experts!  Please visit www.cakeinternational.co.uk for more information.


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