And so the Bake off begins…


Our love of watching the bakers go head to head is back on TV and not before long. I’m not a baker but I do love watching the contestants’ accomplishments and not forgetting the many mishaps that occur.

The technical challenge however puts any baker’s knowledge to test. They are asked to make things I certainly have never heard of like Mokatines. I mean what are Mokatines? Why don’t they just bake simple things like a good old fashioned Victoria sponge? That aside, it’s amazing to see how the contestants’ own interpretations transpire.

However for the novice bakers amongst us, simplicity is key, so here’s a Victoria sponge cake recipe to get us started;


  • 175g (6oz) margarine or softened butter
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Lightly grease an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with a little extra butter or margarine and cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the base of the tin.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer for 1 minute, or until just combined. It’s important not to beat the batter too much – just long enough to make it smooth.
  3. Pour or spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 45-50 minutes. When the cake is cooked it should be golden in colour and the top should spring back when lightly touched with a fingertip. Another test is to insert a knife into the centre of the cake – it should come out dry.
  4. Let the cake sit in the tin for around 5 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with icing sugar or if you’re feeling adventurous you could add a spot of jam to the top.

So why not give it a go. Once you’ve baked your cake all that’s left is to put our feet up, grab a cuppa and a slice and join in with the judging. Happy baking!

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