A few weeks ago now, I went along to a rather lovely afternoon hosted by Neff (they of the wonderful ovens that appear on The Great British Bake Off) to learn to bake a delicious cake and then how to style it for photographs. Currys also supported the event and if you fancy having a look at more pictures from the workshop and read some genuinely interesting facts about the rise of GBBO and social media, head over here.

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It’s a beautiful autumnal cake. Earthy with the hazelnuts with a fresh zing from the apples, this is a cake to eat on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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Myself and a group of fellow bloggers worked in teams to bake our own tortes. It’s a very simple cake to make, just make sure your butter is really soft and the egg white whisked to form stiff peaks.

Hazelnut Torte

Hazelnut Torte

Ingredients

  • 110 g butter
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110 g self raising flour sieved
  • 15 ml milk
  • 5 ml instant coffee
  • 55 g toasted hazelnuts chopped
  • 4 dessert apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 tbs apricot jam
  • 1 lemon zest and juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 20cm tin.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter and sugar. Add the sieved flour.
  4. Heat the milk and add the instant coffee until dissolved. Stir this into the cake mixture and add the hazelnuts.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them carefully into the cake mixture. Pour into cake tin and smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until firm but springy to the touch. Allow to cool and cut in half.
  7. While the cake is baking, prepare the filling. Place the apples in a saucepan with the jam and lemon juice and zest. Cook gently until the apple is soft and leave to cool.
  8. Fill the cake with the apple mixture and dust the top with icing sugar.
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Once our cakes were cool, we learnt how to style our cakes for photographs. We were taught by the lovely Carole Poirot, who does the most beautiful food photography. After teaching us the basics of the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed and ISO), she gave us some great tips on props to use with our food:

  • Soften the image with fabric (get some cheap fabric from Ikea and use tea towels)
  • Use flowers (but cover stems with cellotape if they’ve been bought at the florist)
  • Add some ingredients that were used in the dish
  • Build up from the back with taller items
  • And this is what my team produced:

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    I’m rather proud with how it turned out, it looks lovely!

    The day got me so enthused to think more about how I present my food in photos, all too often it’s a quick snap on the kitchen counter (mostly because I’m hungry and want to eat!), but I really want to collect a stack of fabric and a box of vintage tableware and vases and make my food look beautiful.

    9 Comments

    1. I’m the same with taking photos, I just want to eat it (or more than likely, the toddler and husband want to eat it!) This looks lovely, my dad would love this so am going to save the recipe to try out #MarvMondays

    2. What a scrummy looking cake! I often take quick snaps of the food that I produce that im quite proud of and try to style them as much as I can with what I have around me at the time, but there are some really great tips here, especially the one about flowers and sellotape as I am always using flowers in my food and non food pictures. Great post, looks like a great event! Thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

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