Madeira Cake

My latest challenge in improving my cookery skills and potentially making myself ‘GBBO ready’ is to bake one or more of the GBBO challenges each week in the time constraints set for the contestants. So I decided to make a Madeira cake from the first episode of the new series.


I’ve been away on holiday for the last two weeks so I’ve had to buy a new tin and cook away from my home kitchen (without my jazzy camera – hence the slightly dodgy photos!) making baking slightly more tricky – but none the less I’ve given it a go! I made a chocolate and orange flavoured cake with an orange flavoured icing sugar on top. It tasted lovely although there wasn’t the infamous ‘madeira cake crack’ on top – I think this is because I baked the cake in a larger square tin rather than the traditional loaf tin. But this is what this challenge is all about – learning from baking mishaps! I hope you enjoy 🙂 x


  • 175g butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • Icing sugar to decorate


  1. Whisk the butter and sugar together until creamy and light
  2. Ad the eggs one by one
  3. Add the zest and chocolate
  4. Add the flour and almonds
  5. Bake in a lined and greased tin at 170C for 55 minutes
  6. Enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂

White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake

I looked in my fridge and saw a huge punnet of strawberries that was calling out to be baked in something. So I scoured through my cook books looking for the recipe that most satisfied me. Strawberry shortcake? Strawberry tart with crème patisserie? And then I found it….John Whaite’s white chocolate and raspberry cake. I already had white chocolate in the cupboard and figured that strawberries would do the same job as raspberries. The recipe was so easy to follow and the cake was so moist and moreish – I will definitely be cooking this one again (especially if the people in my office have anything to say about it!)


  • 200g butter, chopped into small cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 175g raspberries, fresh or frozen

For the cream filling:

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 250ml double cream
  • a little icing sugar, for dusting
  • (Although I just whipped up some cream and flavoured it with some vanilla extract)


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of 2 x 20cm round, loose-bottomed cake tins. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water and allow to melt slowly, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1-2 mins, then beat in the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk. Fold in the flour and raspberries.
  3. Gently pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (the raspberries may leave a residue on the skewer, so don’t be fooled by their juiciness). Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with 100ml of the cream, set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you are left with a smooth, glossy ganache. Leave the ganache to cool to room temperature, then beat in the rest of the cream.
  5. When the cakes have cooled, sandwich them together with the chocolate ganache. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Enjoy and please share if you like or bake this recipe! xx

Carrot Cupcakes

This is again one of my favourites bakers recipes – Mr John Whaite. It is the same carrot cake recipe as featured earlier in my blog but I decided to do smaller cupcakes rather then one cake as inspired by the lovely Janes Patisserie recent carrot cupcake post . They turned out beautifully! So I thought I’d give you a little peak 🙂 Scroll down for the recipe and enjoy!


Holly x

Trench Cake

Being a youth theatre director my work often baffles a lot of people – I often open the boot of my car to reveal lots of weird and wonderful things which I then comment to my friends ‘Don’t ask – it’s work’. I’ve worked on projects involving vintage bikes, humongous fake cabbages and more recently the history of allotments! As part of the research for the project we looked at recipes cooked by local people from Wolverhampton during WW1 and WW2. The most interesting recipe that we came across was ‘Trench Cake’. It was baked by women back at home and sent across to France to meet the lips of their loved ones fighting in the trenches. Obviously everyone was having to cook using their rations so cake recipes had to be adapted, which meant using vinegar and baking soda as an egg substitute. The cake also had to last the journey to France so in the original recipe it was baked for 2 hours to make it good and solid! So I had a go at cooking this mysterious Trench Cake to see how it tasted and the results were very surprising! I expected to eat a dry crumbly cake, but it tasted like a spiced fruit cake – perfect for an afternoon cuppa in front of the telly 🙂 So here is the recipe that was issued by the Government back in 1914/1916 for Trench Cake as publicised by the Telegraph. Enjoy! (I had to convert the measurements using my good old trusted Dairy Cook book otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue!)


  • 1/2 lb flour (I used self-raising)
  • 4oz margarine
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 3oz brown sugar
  • 3oz currants (I used raisins)
  • 2 tsp cocoa powderc
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (I used baking powder- if there is any difference)
  • Nutmeg (I used 1 tsp)
  • Ginger (I used 1 tsp)
  • Grated lemon rind


  1. Rub together the marg and flour until they resemble bread crumbs
  2. Mix in all of the dry ingredients
  3. Mix the baking soda, milk and vinegar together until dissolved.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry and beat well
  5. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake in a moderate oven for 2 hours (I baked it for 1 hour at around 180C)

Go on – give this recipe a try – it will surprise you! x

For more information about the Heritage Project I’m working on click here Central Youth Theatre