GBBO Challenge Week 1: Mary’s Cherry Cake

I’m aware I’m quite late with this.. The second episode of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) is pretty much about to air and here I am with a post about the first episode! I watched the first episode at my friend’s house after a baking marathon for the competition I told ya’ll about. I was travelling, and since my parents are on holiday I haven’t had many eaters for my baking. Anyway, I want to do a challenge for each GBBO episode, and I thought I might as well start with Mary’s lovely cherry cake. You can expect a GBBO themed post every week from now on out! 

Season 5 features a lovely bunch of bakers in my opinion. There’s so much to love about each and every one of them! I don’t know how BBC casting does it, but darn it they know what they’re doing. My favorites from the first, cake themed episode are Norman and Nancy. Norman is just the most hilarious Scot, with the driest humor ever. I chuckled quite a few times! Nancy took star baker, and well deserved in my opinion. Her bakes had a very patisserie-like feel to them. Very precise and elegant. I wouldn’t be surprised if she takes home the title in the end! And that cake-guillotine: now that is pure genious. I want a woodworker in my family..
I know age doesn’t really matter when you’re baking – we saw a young lad in the Great Irish Bake Off baking the most beautiful things. But Martha is quite impressive. She’s only 17! Now I wish I would have had her kind of confidence at that age. Even though she shook a bit during some of the baking, that didn’t make her baking less awesome. 
I think I’ll surprise everyone now by saying that my favorite bake of the episode was Chetna’s cardamom, pistachio and coffee swiss roll. But I just can’t help it. Cardamom is one of my favorite ingredients and her swiss roll looked absolutely gorgeous with those huge chocolate flowers on top. I actually had a look at the recipe and it’s delightfully simple! I’m considering serving it at my birthday!
Then: Mary’s cake! During the episode, I did facepalm a few times at Jordan’s actions: read the recipe first Jordan! Let’s hope he does better today 🙂 But if you follow Mary’s instructions to a T, you’ll be fine. I do think natural glacé cherries are better than these red ones as the flavor is overwhelmed somewhat by the freshness of the lemon. But it’s yummy nonetheless! The recipe below was copied from the BBC food website, as I don’t think I could explain the steps any better than the Queen of Baking herself!
Recipe Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake
Serves: 10-12
Tools:  a 23cm/9in savarin mould or a bundt tin (alternatively use a 20cm/8in round cake tin)


  • 200  g/7  oz glacé cherries
  • 225  g/8  oz self-raising flour
  • 175  g/6  oz softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175  g/6  oz caster sugar
  • lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 50  g/1¾  oz ground almonds
  • 3 large free-range eggs

For the decoration:

  • 175  g/6  oz icing sugar
  • lemon, juice only
  • 15  g/½  oz flaked almonds, toasted
  • glacé 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.

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