So I’ve decided that this year I’m going to attempt all the technical challenges on The Great British Bake Off to challenge me in the kitchen.  As a cake maker, people often think that I make hundreds of different cakes (and that perhaps I don’t have any baking disasters either!)…..I do make hundreds of cakes and cupcakes but they’re usually vanilla sponge for classes.  By the time it comes to me time, I often don’t want to bake more cake to add to the three tiered cakes and cupcakes in the house already!  So I decided I would try something new every week in the form of the technical GBBO challenge.

Great British Bake Off Logo

Week 1 and it’s cake week so a pretty easy start.  Cherry Cake is on the menu and to be honest I’m not that bothered about cherry cake (glace cherries in particular) but it’s always good to try something new.  Generally the contestants did pretty well on the programme though the main pitfalls were – cherries sinking, dry cakes and icing being too thin so I already had a head start of knowing where I had to concentrate extra hard on!

The recipe is a pretty simple all-in-one mixture but the key (according to Mary Berry) is to have your cherries evenly distributed throughout the cake which is sometimes tricky to achieve.  It also needs to be cooked in a ring shaped cake tin – you could cook it in a square, loaf or round tin but I think it looks prettier as a ring!


First up the cherries.  The cherries need to be washed, dried and then dusted with flour to stop them from sinking.

Cherry Cake Great British Bake Off

Now it’s time to make the cake by mixing the rest of the cake ingredients in your mixer until it’s nice and smooth before folding in the cherries and putting into the pre-greased tin.  As those who have been to my classes know I love my re-usable cake liners by Bako-Glide and unfortunately they don’t have them for ring tins so I had to grease my tin with butter instead (can you tell where this is going?).

Cherry Cake Great British Bake Off

Whilst the cake is cooking I made the icing and I actually added quite a bit more icing sugar to get the right consistency so that it wasn’t too runny (and it ended up runnier than it should have been anyway!).

Cherry Cake Icing Great British Bake Off

Once the cake is cooked, cool it slightly in the tin and then run a knife around the edges to ease it out and cool completely on a wire rack.  At this point it’s when it went wrong …… when I turned my cake over to take it out of the tin a little got left inside (the reason I love my bako-glide liners!) so I had to do a mini patch up job!  Anyway I thought the icing would cover it and it kind of did, though am sure Paul and Mary would have spotted it right away!

Cherry Cake Great British Bake Off

Once fully cool spoon the icing over the cake and decorate with your left over cherries and almonds (I left these out though!)

Cherry Cake Great British Bake Off

It tasted lovely, I think the cherries were evenly distributed throughout the cake (Paul and Mary would have been impressed) and despite the little crack it was a good start to the challenge.  I’m looking forward to next week’s challenge…..biscuits!

Are you baking any goodies from the bake off?  Share your photos and stories!


Here’s the recipe:

For the cake:

  • 200g / 7oz glace cherries
  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • 175g/6oz softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 50g/1¾oz ground almonds
  • 3 large free-range eggs
For the decoration
  • 175g/6oz icing sugar 
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 15g/1/2oz flaked almonds, toasted
  • 5 glace cherries, quartered


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters. Set aside five of the quartered cherries for the decoration later. Put the rest of the quartered cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper and toss in two tablespoons of the flour.
  3. Measure all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for two minutes to mix thoroughly. Lightly fold in the cherries. Turn into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until well risen, golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
  5. For the icing, mix the icing sugar together with the lemon juice to a thick paste. Drizzle over the cooled cake using the back of a spoon, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and reserved cherries.