Category Archives: Great British Bake Off

Great Bloggers Bake Off: Chocolate Piñata Cake

Piñata cake

Wow! What a great final it was in the Great British Bake Off! Who guessed that Nancy was going to win? My money was on Richard but the luck was not with him during the final unfortunately. For the last great bloggers bake off, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps has challenged us to make our own showstopper.

Piñata cake

Therefore, I would like to present you with my technical showstopping chocolate piñata cake! I am calling it a technical showstopper as during the final, the bakers had to make 12 mini Victoria sponges as part of the technical challenge. A piñata cake is basically a Victoria sponge with a hole in the middle and some extra decoration to make it look really special. I have seen them for ages on Pinterest and always thought they might be quite hard to make, however I could not believe how easy and quick it was to do. Daniel was in the kitchen with me and happily played in his walker while I got on with it.

Chocolate Piñata Cake
Ingredients (makes 1 large 8 inch cake)
For the cake
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4 large free range eggs
For the filling and outside decoration


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 large bag of Minstrels
  • 2 large bags of Skittles/Smarties for the filling and the top



  1. Grease and line two 8 inch sandwich tins and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a food processor, add in all the cake ingredients then mix until combined.
  3. Divide the cake evenly between the two tins and then bake for 20-25mins until a knife comes out clean from each cake. Leave in the tins then set aside until completely cool.
  4. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a food processor, add in the butter, icing sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Add a splash of water if needed until you have a spreadable consistency. Set aside.
  5. Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the tins and using a chef’s ring (or a cup/small saucer) draw a circle on both cakes with a sharp knife. Do not cut all the way through the cake. You only need a tiny bit. Remove some cake from both these circles but do not remove too much otherwise your cake will fall apart.
6. Add some sweets into the middle of one of the circles. As much as you can fit in and still get other cake on top. Then spread buttercream on the outer edge next to sweets then put other cake on top. Using a palette knife, cover with buttercream and then decorate with the rest of the sweets. Allow to set at room temperature then eat and enjoy!
* you may not want to go to dentist immediately after eating this cake LOL!
Thank you to Jenny for organising the Great Bloggers Bake Off again!






Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 8: Enriched Fruit Loaf

I cannot believe that next week will be the semi-final of the Great British Bake Off, where is the time going? This week, the bakers had to make a free form enriched fruit loaf, doughnuts and a European cross between a bread and a pastry. As always, time is of the essence so I cheated slightly this week and used my breadmaker to make the loaf (Sorry Paul!!) It is the first time I have used my breadmaker to make a sweet loaf so I was very interested to see the results. It came out a bit doughy in the centre so it obviously needed a bit more cooking. It was however very tasty and definitely something I will make again. Thomas loved it too!
Enriched Fruit Loaf
Ingredients (makes 1 500g loaf)
  • 350g strong bread flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp easy blend yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 170ml milk
  • 100g mixed dried fruit
  • 50g glaice cherries
  • 25g mixed peel


  1. Follow the instructions on your breadmaker and add the ingredients in. I used the sweet bread setting on mine and added in the dried fruit, cherries and mixed peel 15 minutes into the knead cycle when the machine beeped.
  2. Cook the bread according to the breadmaker instructions. I advise using the slightly darker crust option to ensure the bread is cooked through.
  3. Allow to cool then slice and serve with butter then enjoy!!




Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 3: Ciabatta

This week was the third week of the Great British Bake Off and the bakers had to make bread. They had to make rye rolls, ciabatta and filled centrepiece loaves. I do not like rye loaves and although I wanted to make a filled loaf, time is as always short so I made ciabatta instead. Ciabatta is my husband’s favourite and I have made it a couple of times before at bread courses I have been too.

I looked in my recipe books and online to find the best ciabatta recipe for me. Based on my previous experience, some of the recipes seemed over complicated so I looked to the Master, Mr Hollywood himself and found this recipe here. I made no changes to the recipe except for making it in my Magimix CS 4200 XL food processor. The food processor has a bread mixer which, according to the instructions, can make and knead bread in a minute or so. I was slightly sceptical about this so left for about 2 minutes in the machine and then took it out and left it to rise. Taking it out of the food processor was the hardest job of the entire procedure. It’s a very sticky dough and it was hard to move it from the food processor bowl to a normal bowl for rising.

I left the ciabatta to rise for 3 hours despite the recipe saying to only leave it for 2 hours. During the show, Paul Hollywood told the bakers to be patient and the one who left it the longest to rise was the best in the technical challenge so I took his advice. My electric fan oven is quite fierce so the ciabatta only took 20 minutes to bake. The ciabatta was delicious and perfect for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar or for making into a steak sandwich for dinner, like we did on the day I made them. I will definitely will be making this ciabatta recipe again soon. It was easy and so quick to make!

As always I am linking to Mummy Mishaps and Supergolden Bakes

Disclosure: I was sent the Magimix food processor for review. All options are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 2: Nut Free Florentines

This week was the second week of the Great British Bake Off and the bakers were challenged to make biscuits. They started with savoury biscuits, had to make Florentines for the technicial challenge and finished with a 3D biscuit tower! I am baking along with the bake off again this year, along with Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Lucy of Super Golden Bakes and many others.

Due to time constraints, a 3D biscuit tower was a bit beyond my reach and savoury biscuits are not really my thing either, so I settled on making Florentines. The only problem is that I do not really like nuts which are one of the main ingredients in a Florentines. After a bit of internet searching, I discovered that a few people had used oats instead of nuts. I also added in a bit of extra dried fruit into my recipe to give extra flavour and make up for lack of nuts. The traditional way of covering the Florentines with chocolate is to use a spoon to put it on the back and then make a swirl pattern with a fork. As my Florentines were anything but traditional, I decided to go for the dunking/smothering half the biscuit in chocolate approach. The majority of my Florentines are probably the fatter cousin’s of traditional Florentines, however a couple of them did have the lace effect that they normally. You just need to only put a small amount of mix for each one and flatten it slightly before baking. My NCT friends loved the biscuits and box was devoured in record time!!!

Nut Free Florentines

Ingredients (makes 12-14 biscuits)

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 10g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 65ml double cream
  • 80g jumbo oats
  • 50g candied peel
  • 50g mixed dried fruit
  • 25g glacé cherries, chopped
  • Milk chocolate, melted (I used 2 small child’s Easter Eggs worth but use what you have in the house)



  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line two baking trays with baking parchment or grease proof paper
  2. In a heavy base saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and flour together then add the double cream. Keep stirring throughout
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients (except the chocolate) into the saucepan and stir well
  4. Place teaspoons of the mix on the lined baking trays, well spaced apart and flatten down slightly
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 14 minutes (mine took 14 minutes) and then remove. Allow the biscuits to harden on the grease proof for a few minutes before putting onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I carefully removed the greaseproof paper with the biscuits on off the hot tray then used a palette knife to move them onto a wire rack).
  6. Once cooled completely, dip or spread the chocolate over them and allow to cool again so chocolate can set. Eat and enjoy with a cup of coffee and good company

Thank you to Getting Personal for my fabulous new personalised board from the Jamie Oliver range. I love it!!


Disclosure: I was sent the personalised board as a review item. A full review will be appearing soon. All opinions are my own.







Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 Week 1: Swiss Roll

Unless you have been living on Mars, you cannot have failed to notice that The Great British Bake Off is now back on our screens. Like last year, Jenny of Mummy Mishaps is challenged bloggers to cook along with the bakers each week and blog the results. This week was cake week and the contestants had to make a Swiss Roll, a cherry cake and 36 miniature cakes.

I was going to do the easy option of miniature cakes but Jenny encouraged me to have a go at making a Swiss Roll. I decided to keep it traditional and hopefully easy so went with this recipe from Queen Delia. I made the sponge in my Magimix CS 4000 XL food processor, putting all the ingredients in together and then mixing it. Bar from that, I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked quite well until the ‘rolling’ stage. I am not really sure what happened. It did not really roll, it just sort of folded, despite following Delia’s advice.
Despite this, the sponge was light, airy and very tasty. I took the Swiss Roll (I nicknamed it the ‘Swiss Sandwich’ to a picnic with friends. It was soon devoured and declared delicious! I will have ago at making a Swiss Roll again as I was surprised at how easy it was to make. I just might follow a different method for rolling it!


Great Bloggers Bake Off – The Masterclass: Sticky Ginger & Treacle Traybake

The Great British Bake Off is now finished until sometime next year, however Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen gave us the whole month of November to make anything from the series that we wanted to make again or try for the first time. As ever, I am leaving it until the last minute to link up and take part.

After watching the four Masterclass episodes I decided to make Mary Berry’s ginger and treacle spiced Traybake. I liked the look of the combination of flavours and thought it was very different to the usual traybakes that you see around. It was very easy to make and I only made one adaptation to the recipe. I added in a teaspoon of dried ginger instead of the mixed spice and allspice as I did not have any in. I think the recipe needed the extra ginger in it to work, however I really love ginger! I took this into work on Wednesday for my last day in the office before maternity leave. Everyone loved it and it disappeared very quickly!!


The BBC Good Food Show Winter is This Week!!

From Wednesday to Sunday of this week, the BBC Good Food Show Winter will be at the NEC, near Birmingham. My big bump and I are visiting on Friday and we are looking forward to seeing:
  • Lakeland are back at the show – they're sponsoring the free of charge Saturday Kitchen Stage and will have a shop at the show too where visitors can find the latest gadgets, Christmas gifts and baking essentials.
  • All the Great British Bake Off contestants from all series have been invited to the show, and many can be found demonstrating on the free of charge The Great British Bake Off Stage, along with GBBO Village with a fantastic selection of companies demonstrating, sampling and selling baking supplies, ingredients, equipment, baked treats and more!
  • The World Cheese Awards are being judged on the Wednesday of the show with over 3000 cheeses from all over the world on display. There'll be a tasting shop too for cheese fans to taste and buy their favourite cheeses.
  • Lots of small artisan producers where visitors can find some unusual that they won't find on the high street. We can stock up for Christmas on luxurious drinks, smoked salmon, juicy hams, free range turkeys, bacon, fizz etc.

If you want to join in the fun but have not got a ticket yet, you can use the discount code below to get 15% off the ticket price until Sunday. This offer comes to you, my readers as I am part of the Good Food Show Bloggers Community.


A few weeks ago, along with my fellow Good Food Show bloggers (Gingey Bites, Annie Ko, The Foodie Couple Blog & Glamour in the County) and our organiser and font of knowledge of everything to do with the Good Food Show, Katy of Fabulous Food Finds, we went to Fiesta del Asado for lunch. While we were there, owner and chef Aktar Islam was in the kitchen practicing cooking his dishes for the next series of Great British Menu. He wouldn't tell us what he was cooking but it looked very interesting!

While we were there, we ate a vast array of amazing food including fried whitebait, padron peppers, baby back ribs, grilled chicken, lamb and a couple of varieties of sausages, all served with homemade bread, fries with parsley and garlic, orange and fennel salad and Malbec sauce. It was delicious and I cannot wait to go back there again soon!

At the end of our meal, Nikki of Convivium Wines told us about an exciting new wine tasting concept that you can try at the Good Food Show called WineTubeMap. The basic idea of the map is that you find a wine (station) that you like then travel further up or down that line to find similar wines that you may like too. It is a really simple idea and I am sure it will be really popular at the show as it makes wine tasting much simpler and enjoyable to understand.

I hope you have a great time at the show if you are going. Please say hello to me and my bump on Friday if you are there then!!!

Thank you to Katy and the Good Food Show bloggers community for an amazing meal at Fiesta del Asado.

Disclosure: The meal at Fiesta del Asado was complimentary. I am attending the BBC Good Food Show Winter on a complimentary press pass. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.



Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 9 – Easy Charlotte Royale

This week, the four remaining contestants on the Great British Bake Off were challenged to make savoury canapés, a Charlotte Royale and an Opera cake. As ever, Helen from The Crazy Kitchen and Jenny from Mummy Mishaps are challenging us to do the same.

Time has been a bit tight this week as I have been doing lots of baking for the Nearly New Sale of my local NCT branch. I made 4 large trays of Rocky Road, a chocolate sponge cake and 18 large cupcakes. I liked the look of the Charlotte Royale as soon as I saw them, however I do not have the time or the inclination to make them in the Classic French way as shown in the programme. Therefore the recipe below is my easy (otherwise called lazy!) version of a Charlotte Royale. I presented the finished Charlotte Royal in my sunning new cake stand from the cookware department at Debenhams. I think it looks lovely and shows the cake off really well.

Easy Charlotte Royale


  • 1 large jam Swiss roll or 2/3 small ones, cut into 1 1/2 cm rounds
  • 184ml tub of double cream
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small handful of strawberries, chopped and stalk removed
  • Small handful of raspberries


  1. Line a small Pyrex bowl with cling film. Place the Swiss roll rounds in the bowl to form a wall and completely cover the bowl. Ensure the Swiss roll rounds are close together so no cream will come out.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk up the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks are formed. Gently stir in the fruit then carefully put into the Charlotte Royale shell.
  3. Put more Swiss rolls on top then cover with cling film. Then put in the fridge overnight weighed down (I used a large saucepan old and two time).
  4. Once set overnight, carefully remove the Charlotte Royale from the bowl onto a plate/cake stand. Put back in the fridge though if you are not going to eat straight away otherwise the cream will start to soften. Eat and enjoy!

Disclosure: I received the cake stand to review from Debenhams. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.


Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 7: Spotted Dick

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants were challenged to make a suet pudding, Religieuseand a selection of puff pastry treats. Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen are asking us bloggers to do the same. As pastry is my nemesis, I decided to stick with suet as I have generally found it to be quite easy to work with.

I have always loved traditional steamed suet puddings such as treacle sponge and spotted dick made for me by my nan since I was a little girl. She always made them in the traditional manner but steaming the puddings in a saucepan, however due to the demands of modern life, I do not have the time to do this so I made mine in a microwave instead. I was interested to see how the taste would be affected compared to my Nan’s. I decided to make Spotted Dick as I have not had it got ages and have never made my own. This has got to be the most easiest and the least attractive of my bakes so far. The recipe below reminds me of Spotted Dick’s from my childhood but does seem to be missing something so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Microwave Spotted Dick

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person)

  • 25g of sultanas or currants
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 25g soft unsalted butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 25g shredded suet
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • Custard to serve


  1. In a cup or a small bowl, put the currants and the water in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds to plump up the currants
  2. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Add in the currants and their water and mix again.
  3. Pour the mix into a greased small pudding bowl and put in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until cooked through and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve with the custard

PS: I have lots of things to blog about other than the Great Bloggers Bake Off. I just have not had much time recently. Please bear with me.

PPS: Many thanks to Debenhams and Home Bargains for sending me some baking stuff recently. I will be using it in another post soon



Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 6: Belgian Buns

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants had to tackle sweet dough in the form of a tea loaf, a Couronne and sweet buns. As ever, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen are asking us to do the same.

I love sweet dough but do not get the chance to make it very often so I seized this opportunity and made one of my favourites, Belgian buns. A brief search on the Internet brought lots of recipes for Chelsea buns but not many for Belgian buns. I eventually settled on this one from Riverside Baking as it only made 6 (or my case 7!) Most of the recipes I found made 12 or 13 buns. This would not normally be a problem but as I am pregnant and craving sweet things, I do not want that many in the house as I will eat them!!

I adapted the recipe slightly. I used bread flour instead of plain and made the dough in my breadmaker. I put all the dough ingredients in at once (wet ingredients first) then put my breadmaker on dough setting. I followed the recipe from that point on but added extra glaice cherries into the dough with the sultanas. They are the best bit of a Belgian bun in my opinion! I overcooked them by a minute or two so they are slightly crisper than what they should be. I enjoyed making these and look forward to making them again soon!


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