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Check out some of our contributors secret recipes


We usually offer an assortment of cakes on our tours, so we asked our team of bakers to share their secret recipes for you to bake and enjoy at home.


Strawberry Cheesecake


For the base
  • 200g digestive biscuit
  • 100g unsalted butter melted
  • For the filling
  • 3 sheets of leaf gelatine
  • 142ml carton single cream
  • 300g full-fat soft cheese
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g strawberries hulled and chopped
  • 142ml carton whipping or double cream
  • 1 medium egg white
For the sauce
250g strawberries hulled and chopped, plus about 200g/8oz extra to decorate
finely grated zest of half a lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp golden caster sugar, or more to taste


  1. Seal the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush them to fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Tip into a bowl and stir in the melted butter, mixing thoroughly so that all the crumbs are soaked. Now tip the mixture into a loose-bottomed 24cm round cake tin, at least 5cm deep, and press down with the back of a metal spoon to make an even layer over the bottom of the tin. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

  2. Submerge the gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water, and leave to soak and soften for 5 minutes. Pour the single cream into a pan and bring just to the boil, then take off the heat. Take the gelatine leaves out of the water, give them a good squeeze to get rid of excess water, and stir one by one into the cream (they will dissolve instantly). Leave to cool for a few minutes.

  3. Beat the cheese in a bowl with the sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth and creamy. Mix in the cream and gelatine mixture and the chopped strawberries.

  4. In another bowl, lightly whip the whipping or double cream so it falls in soft peaks, then fold it into the strawberry mixture. Whisk the egg white in a clean bowl until it forms stiff peaks, then fold gently into the cheese mixture. Pour into the cake tin and smooth down lightly. Chill for at least 21⁄2 hours until set.
  5. To make the sauce, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Taste and add more sugar if needed, then pour into a jug and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. (Both cheesecake and sauce can be made a day ahead.)

To serve, run a knife between the cheesecake and the tin to loosen it, remove it from the tin, then take it off its base and put it on a serving plate. Halve the extra strawberries lengthways, pile them in the middle and serve with the jug of sauce.

Gingerbread Men

350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g/4½oz butter
175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
To decorate
writing icing (optional) & cake decorations (optional)


  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  7. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  9. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations, if using.

Raspberry & Almond Traybake



250g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

200g butter, diced

280g golden granulated sugar

50g desiccated coconut

2 medium eggs

350-450g/12oz-1lb fresh or frozen raspberries


Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Butter an oblong cake tin (about 31 x 17 x 3cm). Tip the flour, ground almonds, butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz just until the butter is evenly distributed – or rub together by hand.

Remove 85g/3oz of the mix, stir in the coconut and put to one side. Add the eggs to the remaining mixture in the food processor and whizz quickly – or mix with a wooden spoon. It doesn’t need to be very smooth.

Spread this mixture over the base of the tin, then scatter half the raspberries over the top. Sprinkle with the coconut mixture and bake for 45 mins. Dot the remaining fruit over the surface and cook for a further 15 mins, until firm to the touch. Cool in the tin and cut into slices, squares, whichever shape you want.

They will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

Classic Victoria Sponge



200g caster sugar

200g softened butter

4 eggs beaten

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

For the filling

100g butter softened

140g icing sugar, sifted

drop vanilla extract (optional)

half a 340g jar good-quality strawberry jam (we used Tiptree Little Scarlet)

icing sugar, to decorate



  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper.

    In a large bowl, beat 200g caster sugar, 200g softened butter, 4 beaten eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp milk together until you have a smooth, soft batter.

    Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

    Bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed.

    Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

    To make the filling, beat the 100g softened butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in 140g sifted icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract (if you’re using it).

    Spread the buttercream over the bottom of one of the sponges. Top it with 170g strawberry jam and sandwich the second sponge on top.

    Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

Fruit Scones


350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g butter, cut into cubes

3 tbsp caster sugar

175ml milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

squeeze of lemon juice

100g sultanas

beaten egg to glaze, jam and clotted cream, to serve


Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.

Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and sultanas and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.

Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. You may need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four.

Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.

Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/140C fan/gas 3) for a few mins to refresh.

Marble Banana Bread



3 very ripe medium bananas

3 large eggs

100g soft light brown sugar

150ml vegetable oil

275g white self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cocoa powder



    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or use a loaf tin liner.


    1. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork. Tip into a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, sugar and oil. Use a fork or whisk to combine.


    1. Add the flour, and baking powder and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour half the mixture into a different bowl and stir in the cocoa powder until fully mixed


    1. Alternately spoon the different mixtures into the prepared tin until it’s all used then using a cocktail stick carefully swirl the mixture (be careful not to mix it too much as it may combine) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


    1. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold in slices.

Lemon Drizzle Cake



4oz Butter

6oz Caster sugar

6oz Selfraising flour

2 large eggs

4 Tablespoons milk

Grated rind of 1 lemon


For the topping

4 rounded tablespoons Icing suger

4 tablespoons lemon juice


Mix all cake ingredient together and beat

Put into a prepared 2lb loaf tin, Cook at 180Cfor 50/60 minutes

Meanwhile combine the lemon juice and icing suger.

When cooked, whilst still warm and in the tin pour, the lemon juice and icing suger mixture over the cake.

Leave to cool .

Chocolate Flapjack Squares


215g plain flour

  • 150g rolled oats
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 250g plain chocolate
  • 5 tablespoons double cream


  1. Grease and line 32cm x 23cm Swiss roll tin (or similar).

    1. Put the flour, oats and bicarbonate of soda into bowl and mix.


    1. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together, pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon into the tin and press down.


    1. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C or gas mark 4. Leave to cool.


    1. Melt the chocolate, beat the cream and then spread over the flapjack. Allow to cool then cut into squares.

Chocolate Brownies



Makes: maximum of 48


375 grams soft unsalted butter

375 grams best-quality dark chocolate

6 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500 grams caster sugar

225 grams plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

300 grams chopped walnuts


You will need a tin measuring approximately 33 x 23 x 5½cm / 13 x 9 x 2¼ inches

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line your brownie pan - I think it's worth lining the sides as well as the base - with foil, parchment or Bake-O-Glide.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan. In a bowl or large wide-mouthed measuring jug, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.

When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the nuts and flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes. When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey. And even with such a big batch you do need to keep alert, keep checking: the difference between gungy brownies and dry brownies is only a few minutes; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.

No Yeast Pizza


350g plain flour

2 ¾ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

additional toppings of your choice



  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

    Mix together 350g flour, 2 ¾ tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl, add 1 tbsp oil and 170ml water then stir until it forms a ball. If stiff, add more water, it should be soft but not sticky.

    Knead on a floured surface for 3-4 mins. Roll into 2 balls, then flatten out.

    Add toppings and bake each on a baking sheet for 15 mins.


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