Written by Claire Goodwin


The Great British Bake Off: The Recipes – Week One

GBBO is back and former contestant Claire Goodwin is cock-a-hoop. For the next 10 weeks she’ll be sharing her very own takes on each episode’s bake challenges. This week, it’s indulgence ahoy with a Black Forest gateau, a glammed-up Madeira cake and the ingenious, face-saving Coffee and Walnut Truffly Cake Pop Things.

Black forest gateauShowstopper: Black Forest Gateau

I love a BFG, both the whizzpopping kind and the cherry chocolate kind. A traditional Black Forest gateau is a rich chocolate cake, kirsch syrup soaked, with lots of cherries and Chantilly cream. I’ve abandoned the Chantilly in favour of normal unsweetened whipped cream to balance out the already heavy cake. As it is a ‘Showstopper’ cake, I’ve made it look fairly spectacular. The techniques are really easy to do but look a million dollars.

It’s scrumdiddlyumptious.

sliced gateauFor the cake


300g butter
300g sugar
300g self-raising flour
6 medium eggs
75g cocoa
25ml milk


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line three 8-inch round cake tins with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Cream the butter into the sugar. Add the eggs slowly. Sieve in the flour and cocoa and mix them in. Add the milk.

Separate the mixture between the three tins equally (it will be approximately 400g of mix per tin) and level out. Cook for around 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, then leave to cool.

To make the syrup


100ml cherry syrup (from your jar/can of cherries that you use for your filling)
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon kirsch


Place the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Allow the syrup to reduce by around a third.

Spoon onto the cakes slowly so that the cake absorbs the syrup.

For the black cherry filling


250g black cherry jam (I used 75% fruit jam and it makes a big difference)
350g Morello cherries or black cherries (from a jar or can)
100ml cherry syrup (from your jar/cans of cherries)
3 tablespoons kirsch
75g dried cherries (I used Montmorency cherries)


Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil, combining the ingredients together. When the mix has reduced by a third to a half, and is viscous and thick, leave to cool.

For the ganache


300ml double cream
600g dark chocolate chopped into small pieces (no more than 50 per cent cocoa solids – you can’t make ganache with high percentage cocoa solid chocolate as it splits and goes grainy. I use Aldi or Lidl own brand chocolate which works a treat).


Warm the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Don’t take your eyes off it as it will burn (I learned that the hard way).

When the cream starts to bubble ever so slightly around the perimeter of the pan, turn off the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk together. Leave the pan on the stove as the residual heat is helpful.

Once the mix has homogenised and is silky and smooth, leave to cool. We will need it to thicken a little to work with it.

Building and decorating

You will need 600ml of double cream, whipped, a punnet of cherries and 200g of white chocolate.

Place one of the cakes onto your cake board/serving plate. Layer with half the cherry filling and half the whipped cream. Place the next cake round on top and repeat the process. Place the remaining cake on the top.

Smooth your ganache around the cake using a long spatula. Do this in two halves, doing a base coat and then a top coat. Place in the fridge between coats to firm up. Smooth ganache over the top of the cake and stick your fresh cherries into it, piling them up in a ‘chef-fy’ way.

Melt your white chocolate in a bain-marie (a bowl over a pan of boiling water) until smooth. Transfer into a disposable piping bag (don’t cut the end at this point) and twist the opening to create pressure in the bag.

Using scissors, snip a tiny hole in the end of your piping bag. Squeezing hard, so the white chocolate spurts out of the end (SNORT SNIGGER FNAR FNAR), fire the stream of chocolate at your cake, moving your hand all the time to create squiggles. Do this all around the sides of the cake until all the chocolate is used up. Serve with coffee.

Signature: Madeira Cake

Madeira cake is a standard cake recipe used by cake makers around the world, particularly by those intending to decorate the cake. It is a good firm, stable cake that holds its shape. Madeira is sometimes referred to as pound cake or yellow cake, although these descriptors are more often found on American websites.

Now, Madeira is lovely and has many merits, but it needs more. As far as I am concerned, most cakes need a topping or a frosting or some kind of accompaniment – a slice of cake without anything crackling or oozing or squidging just doesn’t float my boat. Fun-less cake leaves me feeling a bit cheated, like I have wasted my time, effort and calories.

So I have taken the humble Madeira and added lemon and blueberries. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, I would suggest adding a splodge of mascarpone on the side.

Madeira cakeFor the cake


360g butter
360g caster sugar
5 eggs, whisked
450g self-raising flour
Juice and zest of one large lemon or two small ones


Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 8-inch round tin with parchment or greaseproof paper.

Cream the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time. Sieve in the flour and incorporate into the mix. Add the lemon juice and zest, then mix until evenly distributed.

Cook for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Don’t worry about the crust being dark; this is typical for a madeira cake. Leave to cool in the pan and then remove.



Juice and zest of one large lemon or two small ones
300g icing sugar, sieved
Around 150g blueberries


Mix the icing sugar into the lemon juice until smooth. Pour over the cake – make sure you have your cake on a large plate as the topping will run all down the sides in a sort of unctuous gooey avalanche.

Sprinkle the zest onto the top and arrange the blueberries on and around the cake.

Stuff it in your face.

Technical: Walnut Cake

This week, the bakers were tasked with making a walnut layer cake – one of Mary’s recipes. I therefore tasked myself with the same thing and managed to destroy it when taking it out of the pan. It happens to us all. It happened in the tent last year to me too, consistently, each time I looked at a whisk, oven or sieve.

Sometimes, when this happens, I cry. More for the loss of cake than for the wasted hours of effort I have put in. But this time, I decided to be a little more British about things.

I decided to go maverick and turn it into something else. Now, Bezza wouldn’t like this. “You haven’t given us what we’ve asked for…”

Yeah, yeah, but at least I haven’t wasted cake.

cake popsCoffee and Walnut Truffly Cake Pop Things


140g butter
140g light brown sugar
140g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coffee extract (or a teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in a tad of hot water)
2 eggs, whisked
30g chopped walnuts plus extra for decoration
400g white chocolate
Lollipop sticks


Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease an 8-inch round cake tin. Line with flour.

Cream the butter with the sugar, add the eggs a little at a time, then fold in the flour. Add the coffee extract, walnuts and baking powder, and mix in thoroughly.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool. Once cool, remove from the tin and crumble into a large bowl.

Melt 200g of the white chocolate over a bain-marie and stir into the cake crumbs, leaving a small amount spare for fixing the lollipop sticks into. Form balls with the cake and chocolate mixture. This mix will make around 10 large or 14 smaller cake pops.

Take a lollipop stick and push the stick into the balls, leaving a hole. Fill each hole with the melted chocolate that is left over and push the lollipop sticks back in. Place in the fridge until the sticks are held firm.

Melt the remaining chocolate and dip the cake pops in, swirling them in the chocolate until fully covered. Place half a walnut on top and place back in the fridge to set. Serve with coffee.


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Written by Claire Goodwin

Claire is a speech therapist, baker, cake decorator, sometime radio guest and writer. She writes about food, being fat and living with mental health problems @bake_therapist; www.baketherapy.co.uk; www.facebook.com/CakeChemistryUK