As inspired by last week’s GBBO, this is a chocolate cake and a sandwich cake.

Recipe courtesy of Mary Berry’s Chocolate and Orange Cake — this cake is a bit on the sweet & sickly side for me, also not as elegantly decorated as her example, but the orange flavour is great.


  1. 100g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  2. 50g good quality cocoa powder
  3. 90ml boiling water
  4. 3 large free-range eggs
  5. 4 tbsp milk
  6. 175g self-raising flour, sifted
  7. 1 rounded tsp baking powder, sifted into the flour
  8. 300g golden caster sugar
  9. Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  10. For the icing and filling
  11. 150g Bournville chocolate, broken into small pieces
  12. 150ml double cream
  13. 3 tbsp apricot jam
  14. for decoration
  15. 100g good quality dark chocolate (55-60 per cent cocoa solids) made into curls


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper. To make the sponges, measure the cocoa and boiling water into a large bowl and mix to a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and beat again until combined. (You can use a food processor for this but be careful not to overmix.)
  2. 2. Divide the sponge mixture evenly between the prepared tins. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until the sponges are well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Remove the sponges from the oven, turn out of their tins onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
  3. 3. For the icing and filling, put the chocolate and cream in a bowl, Then stand over a pan of simmering water for 10 minutes until melted (don’t let the bowl touch the water), stirring from time to time. Set aside to cool until it thickens to a spreadable consistency.
  4. 4. To finish, spread the tops of both sponges with the apricot jam. Spread the top of one sponge with half the icing and put the other sponge on top. Cover the top of the cake with the remainder of the icing, then, with a small palette knife, make large S shapes in the icing to give a swirl effect. Scatter the top liberally with the chocolate curls and enjoy!

Townies (Brownie tarts)

After reading in The Evening Standard of a London baker who’d come up with ‘townies’ in response to the cronut, I decided it was something I could probably try and replicate since I can make both pastry and brownies.. it would all come down to timing. I did have a quick Google check for brownie tarts and found quite a few recipes, so not sure it’s as unique as The Evening Standard would like to believe.. but still!

These are the recipes I used: 

Basic sweet pastry

Perfect chocolate brownies 

I squished the pastry by hand into a silicon muffin pan (also used a metal one lined with muffin paper cup things), as thin as I could bear, but it was still not super thin.. I get bored easily. I put the oven on 180 C, and cooked the pastry for 5m before taking everything out.

I could fit around 1 tablespoon of brownie mix into each pastry shell and had about twice as much brownie mix as I needed, so I made the rest into more traditional brownies (never a problem, imho).

I thought it’d need a lot less cooking than the brownies I make in a 9” square pan, but checking them every 10 and then 5 minutes through cooking, I think they took around 25m anyway. If you make them I suggest checking regularly too. You want them to stop wobbling, but they can be a little soft to get the brownie squishiness. 

Unexpectedly they really were different to just having a brownie and the four of us that tried them declared them a triumph and started thinking what variations we could make (I SO want to try ones with food colouring!).





Mississippi Mud Pie, for my American pie challenge from Great British Bake Off. Never made it before, so had NO idea what it would be like. Used this recipe: http://www.bakingmad.com/recipes/pies-and-tarts-and-pastry/mississippi-mud-pie-

I let guests add their own cream, because I don’t have any really good decorating skills and it seemed to work out just fine (see slice pic), the pie came out of the oven really risen, but did lie flat once cooled down.

It was seriously rich, but extremely delicious. Even though it felt like I was baking a chocolate mousse. Would definitely make this again for the wow factor. But give smaller slices!!


So these are the bagels, they taste great but came out very flat. A bit like the bagels on Great British Bakeoff about which Paul Hollywood declared “You’ve invented a new type of bread.”

So yeah, not really considering this a success, so not posting the recipe I used as I’m not sure it works.


Baking disaster. I actually did the 8-plait, but with traditional challah dough. It looked ok until final rise, when it became this sploodge inside the pan. Oh well, both me & my husband know I did the 8-plait and it tastes good at least! Not bothering with recipe, because it plainly didn’t work.


A bagel passes the ‘float’ test


Plum/Nectarine upside down cake. It got a bit burned round the edges, nil points for me. But am sure it’ll still be edible.


Plum and nectarine upside down cake - recipe

I picked plums and nectarine for my cake as they’re in season (ie. cheap). This recipe is from Bilby Bites, and I liked the idea of putting diced plum into the cake mix (also a good solution for any plums that got a bit mangled while destoning). I added nectarines in with the plums to use them up. I also used small plums, so adjust decoration to suit your fruit.


  • 25g unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 150g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted & left to cool but still liquid
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g plums/ nectarine, peeled, cored + chopped into small dice
  • 4 small plums and 1 large nectarine, cored, thinly sliced in the round, then cut into half moon shapes


  • Line a 20cm loose bottomed non-stick cake tin with baking parchment. Sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the parchment. Dot 25g of the butter over the top.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and chopped plums/ nectarine.
  • In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and cooled melted butter together. Place the sliced plums/ nectarine around the bottom of the tin in an even pattern, with one ring of plum slices followed by one ring of nectarine slices, pressing down the dots of butter as necessary.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir until all the ingredients are just combined.
  • Pour over the plums in the tin and gently smooth to even out the mixture. Bake at 190˚C for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack - don’t forget to place a plate underneath in case any buttery juices run off.
  • Serve warm or cool, with cream.

Apple Upside Down Cake - Pictures

(after 30 mins to cool down in tin)


Apple Upside Down cake - recipe

I used the following recipe (with amendments). I used 225g flour, butter and sugar, added 4 eggs instead of 3 and added some Amaretto to flavour. Instead of golden syrup, I used Maple-flavoured golden syrup.

Hairy Bikers - Mums Know Best 7 Series 2

Submitted By:S Ryan

Recipe Title:Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake & Pineapple Upside Down cake



170g/ 6 oz self raising flour

170g/ 6 oz caster sugar

170g/ 6 oz butter (room temperature)

3 eggs


2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp brown sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon 

3-4 cooking apples (enough to cover the bottom of the cake tin)

Method:Cover bottom of 9½” cake tin with golden syrup. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over syrup. Arrange apple slices on top of the brown sugar, making a nice pattern in a single layer

For cake: put all the ingredients in to a bowl, mix until all combined. 

Place the mixed ingredients on to the apple base and place  in oven (180ºC) for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.