By Claire Schofield
A baking enthusiast from Leeds has scored a sweet victory after being crowned the winner of a national baking competition.
Anne Aitkin, 51, a nurse at the Street Lane Practice in Roundhay, won Lorraine’s Taste Off baking competition, part of the Lorraine programme on ITV, earlier this week for her ginger and orange cherubs recipe.
Anne, from Bramhope, emerged victorious after impressing judges Debbie Rush, who plays cafe worker Anna Windass in Coronation Street, and family food writer, Alex Hollywood, with her adapted version of the traditional Yorkshire recipe “rascals”, which are a cross between a rock cake, a scone and a biscuit.
This family favourite recipe was passed down to her from her grandma and is a tasty treat she says she has enjoyed baking over the years with her mother and her two sons, Will, 23, and Scott, who died aged 18.
She said: “We are a family of gingerholics and I have added ingredients to satisfy our tastebuds. I named them ‘ginger and orange cherubs’ because as a child my mum called me her ‘little ginger cherub’, as we are all redheads, and over the years I have made them with my own little cherubs, my two sons, Scott, who died at age 18, and Will, and they have loved making them and decorating them.”
Anne has been a keen home baker since the age of three and jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the competition which offered the chance for the winner to see their homemade recipe grace the patisserie counter at Waitrose supermarkets across Britain.
She said: “I have spent the last year looking after my husband Dave who has been very ill and I thought it would be good to do something for me and challenge myself.”
Being a part of the competition has given Anne a huge boost and she described her success as totally overwhelming.
Anne’s recipe beat fellow finalists, Carol Harris and her Eat ‘N’ Go Caribbean pineapple cake and Shelley Shapir with her Nanaimo Bars.
Her winning recipe will hit Waitrose supermarket shelves in May this year.
Anne’s winning recipe:
125g plain flour
125g self-raising flour
125g unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
90g golden caster sugar
Zest 1 large orange, coarsely chopped
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
50g crystallised ginger, chopped
50g ready soaked stoned dried apricots, chopped
4 tbsp double cream
1 large egg, beaten- reserve a small amount for glazing
To decorate – 6 glace cherries, halved plus raisins or currants
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4 and grease 2 baking sheets.
Sieve the flours and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt, sugar and spices and mix well.
Stir in the orange zest, ginger, raisins and apricots and stir until well combined.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and add the cream and egg.
Stir until a dough starts to form then gently knead with the hands until the dough is formed.
Cut into 12 pieces (approx 60g per portion) and roll into a ball.
Place on a baking tray and flatten gently with the palm of the hand.
Brush with the beaten egg and decorated with 1/2 cherry for the nose and raisins or currants for the eyes and mouth (children love this part).
Bake for 15 mins until golden brown.
Enjoy warm from the oven with butter or thick cream and jam!