Now that The Great British Bake Off 2019 has drawn to a close, it’s a great time to start working on your own baking skills so that you’re ready to enter next year’s competition!

In issue #101 of NB Magazine, Susy Giles added a recipe by 2018 Bake Off finalist Kim-Joy to her Kitchen Library. Susy found Kim-Joy’s new book, Baking with Kim-Joy, to be packed with so many wonderful and creative recipes that it was virtually impossible to select just one to feature in the magazine. After much deliberating, she chose the adorable ‘Pigfiteroles in Mud’ – a perfect, fun recipe to make with children and grandchildren and one that, in Kim-Joy’s words, “everyone will want to hog for themselves”.

However, Susy ultimately decided that there were a couple more recipes that were just too good to keep to herself and so we’re pleased to expand the Kitchen Library further by sharing Kim-Joy’s recipes for ‘Vegan Chocolate Cake with Praline’ and ‘Tangzhong Cat Buns’:  

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Praline  

Yes, this is a vegan cake, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this isn’t extremely fluffy, moist and decadently chocolatey. It’s a chocolate cake of dreams and no one will be able to tell it’s vegan! The ganache with coconut milk tastes exactly like ganache made with cream – there is no trace of a coconut flavour because the dark chocolate completely overpowers it. And the addition of praline paste in the filling just adds that extra nutty depth of flavour to make you want to really savour your slice of this cake. Yummyyyyyy.  

600ml [2½ cups] soy milk
2¼ tsp white wine vinegar
135g [ ∕³ cup plus 1 Tbsp] golden [light corn] syrup
225ml [1 cup] sunflower oil or other neutral-tasting oil, plus extra for oiling
420g [3 cups plus 4 tsp] self-raising [self-rising] flour
315g [1½ cups] caster or granulated sugar
75g [¾ cup] cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] 

PRALINE PASTE 

130g [²∕³ cup] caster [superfine] sugar
35ml [2 ∕³ Tbsp] water
75g [½ cup] hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan over a low-medium heat for a few minutes 

VEGAN GANACHE 

400g [14oz] vegan dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
300ml [1¼ cups] coconut milk
100–250g [¾ cup minus
½ Tbsp–1¾ cups] icing [confectioners’] sugar (depends on chocolate brand and desired level of sweetness) 

OPTIONAL 

100g [¾ cup] cacao nibs (add this to the batter before baking for extra flavour)
1 tsp liquid glucose, to help prevent the mixture crystallising (optional) 

 SERVES: 16–20 (MAKES 3 X 18-CM [7-IN] CAKES) 

1 / Preheat the oven to 170°C [340°F/Gas mark 3]. Oil the base and sides of 3 x 18-cm [7-in] cake tins and line the bases with baking paper. 

2 / Whisk the soy milk and vinegar together in a large bowl. Leave to curdle and thicken (this should happen in seconds). 

3 / Place the golden syrup in a small bowl and microwave until liquid. Add the oil and golden syrup to the curdled milk and whisk to combine. It will separate but that’s OK. 

4 / In a separate large bowl, mix together all the remaining dry ingredients with the cacao nibs at this point, if using. Use a sieve for the cocoa powder to distribute it evenly without clumps. 

5 / Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and, using a balloon whisk, whisk until just combined. Be careful not to overwhisk. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

6 / While the cakes are baking, make the praline paste. Add the sugar, water and liquid glucose, if using, to a pan. Stir to combine, then bring to the boil and stop stirring. This is very important – if you stir, then the mixture will crystallise. Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts on a sheet of baking paper. When the mixture turns medium amber, pour it over the hazelnuts and leave to set. Set aside a few whole pieces of set praline to decorate, if liked. Place the remainder in a food processor and blitz until it becomes a paste. Set aside. 

7 / When the cakes are baked, run a knife around the edges and turn out onto racks. Peel off the baking paper and leave to cool. 

8 / Meanwhile, make the vegan ganache. Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Heat the coconut milk in a pan until just starting to bubble, then pour onto the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until all the chocolate has melted. If there are still pieces of unmelted chocolate, transfer to a pan and stir over a low heat until all the chocolate has melted. 

9 / Use a spatula to transfer the chocolate to a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) fitted with a balloon whisk attachment, add the sugar and whisk until just combined. Transfer two-thirds of the ganache to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (make sure it touches the surface to avoid a skin forming) and chill in the fridge for 10–15 minutes. This will be for covering the sides of the cake. 

10 / Add the praline paste to the remaining third of the ganache and whisk until light in colour and thickened to a firm but still spreadable consistency. This will be used for filling in between the cake layers. 

11 / Make sure the cakes are cool before assembling. Stack the cakes using the guide on page 68. If the ganache is too cold, it will be too firm to spread, and if it is too warm, it will be too runny. You can adjust this by heating and cooling the ganache to get the right consistency. In between each cake layer, spread an even layer of praline ganache using a palette knife. Continue until you have 2 layers of ganache and have placed the third layer on top. Cover the top and sides with the ganache from the fridge and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

STACKING MULTIPLE TIERS 

When stacking a cake with different sizes of tier, ensure that each tier has a cake board underneath; use thinner cake boards for the tiers higher up. Also make sure each tier is properly chilled before stacking. For 3 or more tiers or softer, fragile cakes, it helps to use dowels. Thick straws work well, too. You need to insert one down the centre, and then a few around it. Trim them so that they stick out a tiny bit above the cake and are all the same height. The aim of the dowels is that they – rather than the actual cake – take the weight of the tiers above. 

Tangzhong Cat Buns  

These rolls are not just cute, they are the softest, fluffiest bread you can find, and that’s thanks to the ‘tangzhong’ technique. This is credited as being a Japanese method, but became popular with home cooks and in Chinese bakeries after a Chinese woman called Yvonne Chen wrote a book about it. You might hear this kind of bread referred to as hokkaido milk bread, Asian milk bread or shokupan. Tangzhong is simply about making a roux with some of the flour and water, which is then cooled and added to the dough mixture. This roux essentially locks in the liquid, and helps to give the final bread a higher moisture content. The resulting bread is soft, cloud-like and stays fresher for longer. Making the roux takes just 5 minutes of your time, but completely transforms this bread.  

MAKES: 9 

1 tsp salt
1 large egg
350g [2½ cups] strong white [bread] flour
7g [2¼ tsp] fast-action dried [active dry] yeast 

PLUS 

1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
brown food dye
a small amount of vodka
or alcohol-based extract black edible pen or Royal icing (see page 76), dyed black 

TANGZHONG PASTE 

25g [3 Tbsp] strong white [bread] flour, plus extra for dusting
100ml [ ∕³ cup plus 1 Tbsp] water 

DOUGH 

125ml [½ cup] whole milk, plus extra for brushing
30g [2 Tbsp] unsalted butter
oil, for oiling
10g [2½ tsp] caster or granulated sugar  

1 / First, make the tangzhong paste. Using a balloon whisk, mix the flour and water together in a pan until smooth. Place the pan over a low-medium heat and stir constantly with a spatula until thickened to a pudding-like consistency. If you have a thermometer the paste should reach 65°C [149°F] before you take it off the heat. Transfer the tangzhong to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap (making sure this touches the surface of the tangzhong) and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. 

2 / Meanwhile, for the dough, warm the milk in the microwave. It should be warm but not hot. Melt the butter, too. Lightly oil a large bowl and grease a 20-cm [8-in] square baking tin, then set aside. 

3 / Place the milk and butter in a large bowl and add the sugar and salt. Add the chilled tangzhong to the bowl along with the egg and whisk together. 

4 / Add the flour and yeast to the mixture. If using a stand mixer, just allow the machine to knead for 10 minutes with the dough hook attachment. If working by hand, use a wooden spoon to combine everything into a shaggy ball of dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. 

5 / Knead by hand for about 10–15 minutes. The dough will be sticky to start with, but avoid adding too much flour – it will gradually become less sticky as you knead it. If the dough sticks to the surface, use a dough scraper to scrape it off. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth; it will still be a little tacky, but that is normal. 

6 / Place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This takes about 1 hour, but it depends on the temperature of your kitchen. 

Baking with Kim-Joy is out now from Quadrille Publishing (hbk, 9781787134584).