The Bake Off Bake Along 2015: Week 1 – Cake

And so it begins…The Great British Bake Off is BACK and I couldn’t be more excited – especially as this year I’m taking part in the Bake Off Bake Along!


Week one was great, we had baking innuendos a plenty, anesthetists utilising what they know best, Ugne bossing at whisking and a complete moussey meltdown. Such drama for the first week and a selection of interesting cakes to choose from.

The signature dish was a simple Madeira sponge requiring a delicious glaze, work with caramel and an uncomplicated light sponge with the infamous crack in the surface.

The technical challenge was one of Mary’s walnut cakes complete with fluffy marshmallowy meringue, caramelised walnuts and a perfectly sized nutty sponge.

Finally, the piece de resistance was the showstopper challenge which took us back to the ’70s with a a black forest gateau bringing together chocolate work, fancy piping and not so fancy mousse (ohh poor Dorret!).

As I’m not a huge fan of walnuts or black forest, it was the madeira I have chosen to bake and in order to make it Bake Off style rather than just a casual Sunday afternoon baking, I tried my hand at some fancy sugar work and gave the typical citrus flavour a ginger twist.


The bake started well, with an elaborate photo shoot, so unlike any other baking I’m used to which is usually “chuck it in a bowl and see what happens” style. After a very vigorous mixing (whilst trying to work out the perfect combination of boob and knee in a shot of the bowl) it was into the oven, leaving me to make up my lemon and ginger glaze, lemon drizzle icing and spun sugar.


The first attempt at this went far better than I could ever have hoped – it actually went a lovely golden brown, it didn’t burn, it actually spun into a proper lattice. Only when I tried to make a second batch to caramelise my lemon slices did it all go wrong. I’m still not entirely sure why, but mysteriously I was not faced with clear golden caramel but a thick crunchy fudge. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but not what I expected nor particularly wanted for my cake.


Meanwhile in the oven, the cake was merrily baking away for an hour looking distinctly smooth and uncracked – noooo!! When I took it out and turned it around however, the unobtainable crack incredibly appeared – Mary and Paul would be proud!


Lemon and Ginger Madeira Cake


  • 240unsalted butter (softened)
  • 200g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 grated piece of fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3-4 tsp lemon juice



  1. Line a decent sized loaf tin with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3/325ºF
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar well, adding in the lemon zest
  3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tbsp of flour (this stops the mixture curdling)
  4. Gently mix in the rest of the flour and then finally, the lemon juice
  5. Spoon into the loaf tin and smooth over. Just before the cake goes into the oven, sprinkle with a little caster sugar (about 2 tbsps) and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer or knife comes out clean.
  6. Whilst the cake is cooking, prepare your glaze, icing and spun sugar. Firstly, mix together approx 3 tbsp icing sugar and lemon juice until it is thick but runny enough to drizzle off the back of a spoon (in hindsight i’d make mine thicker I think)
  7. In a small pan, add 4 tbsp caster sugar, extra grated ginger root to taste and lemon juice to cover the sugar so that it can dissolve. Heat gently until bubbling and then take off the heat (if you bubble it too long it will end up super sticky and glue your mouth together).
  8. For the spun sugar, gently heat 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in a small pan. The trick is to not stir it too much, but wait until the sugar has dissolved and starts turning a lovely golden brown colour. Swirling the pan will help mix any uncaramelised sugar and stop it burning. When it’s a good colour, take it off the heat and let it cool for 30 seconds – 1 minute before using a fork to drizzle it on a sheet of baking parchment or flicking over a rolling pin to create strands. If it ends up looking like fudge, you’ve cooked it too long apparently – my mistake on my second attempt! I found this step by step guide helpful.
  9. When the cake is out of the oven, pour over the glaze whilst still warm, poking lots of little holes in it with a skewer to let the lemony gingery syrup sink in.
  10. Remove it from the tin, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. Drizzle the top with your pre-prepared lemon icing, top with your spun sugar and lemon slices to decorate!


The reviews for this first cake were fantastic – well, my family have devoured it pretty quickly with lots of lip smacking and positive noises. Although the spun sugar was something I’m not well practiced in, I think next week I’ll try pushing myself harder and try something a bit trickier.


This post is linked up with other bloggers taking part in The Bake Off Bake Along 2015 and all entries can be seen on Rhyme and Ribbons and This Particular.

I’ve also entered this blog post into The Great Denby Cake Off, a blogging competition for the best afternoon tea delight! Check out the link to find out more about how to enter!