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Great British Bake Off: Learn to Bake

A great cake for a party – just add candles! The sponge is a quick all-in-one mix with half flavoured with cocoa, the other with vanilla. The mixtures are piped in stripes into sandwich tins.

Makes 1 Large Cake


Extract from

Great British Bake Off: Learn to Bake by Linda Collister

Published by Ebury Press

The Great British Bake Off: Learn to Bake will bring baking to the heart of the family -- the parents, grandparents and children who watch The Great British Bake Off, but may never have baked before.

And it's a great way for the family to spend time together -- doing something fun, creative, learning a new skill -- and you'll end up with something delicious that you've all made together.

Learn how to make scones together, step-by-step, and then each choose your own way to customise them. See who can make the most tempting scones -- will the rest of the family choose the cheese or chorizo version that mum made, or the sweet cocoa and dried cherry scone that your brother chose. And if it's pouring with rain outside, you can easily spend a few happy hours making Giant Cookies and then decorating them as you see fit. The ingredients are store cupboard ingredients so you'll always have them to hand, and then use whatever else you might have to decorate. The important thing is to just get stuck in.

If you're throwing a bonfire party, why not get your kids to make our bonfire brownies. And the whole family can join in making pretzels - one to mix the dough, smaller hands good for kneading, and another to shape.

Here are 80 easy recipes to make, together with step-by-step techniques including creaming, whisking, rubbing in, all-in-one cakes, as well as informative reference pictures of key baking stages. The perfect baking book to kickstart your baking.

© 2016 Linda Collister / Ebury Press · Reproduced with permission. · The Great British Bake-Off: Learn to Bake by Linda Collister (published by BBC Books, £18.99)


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the soft butter and caster sugar into the mixing bowl. Add the eggs and flour. Beat everything together with the wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth and even in colour. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time so everything is thoroughly combined.

  • Step 2

    Divide the mixture in half. Scrape one portion into the medium bowl and stir in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

  • How to decorate a patterned cake. Zebra Cake - Step 3
    Step 3

    Fold down the top quarter of one of the piping bags. Scrape the vanilla cake mixture into the bag. Unfold the top quarter and twist the bag at the top to prevent the mixture from escaping. Leave the bag standing in a mug while you make up the choc mixture.

  • How to decorate a patterned cake. Zebra Cake - Step 4
    Step 4

    Add the cocoa and the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons milk to the rest of the cake mixture and beat in well. Fill another piping bag with this mixture.

  • How to decorate a patterned cake. Zebra Cake - Step 5
    Step 5

    Now you are ready to start piping! Snip the tip off each bag to make an opening 2.5cm across.

  • How to decorate a patterned cake. Zebra Cake - Step 6
    Step 6

    Twist the top of the bag of white vanilla mix to force the mixture down to the end. With one hand, hold the bag upright over one of the prepared tins; use the other hand to squeeze the bag and pipe a stripe of mixture straight down the centre of the tin. Do the same thing in the other tin.

  • Step 7

    Next pipe a line of chocolate on each side of the white stripe, so the mixtures just touch. Then pipe a white stripe next to each choc stripe. Keep doing this until the tin is filled, then go back and fill in any gaps. With luck, you should get 4 stripes of each colour in each tin.

  • Step 8

    Place in the heated oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until the vanilla sponge stripes are golden. To test if the sponges are cooked, use the fingertip test; if necessary, bake for a few more minutes, then test again.

  • Step 9

    Set the tins on a heatproof surface and cool for 5 minutes, then turn out of the tins onto the wire rack. Peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely.

  • Step 10

    Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the soft butter into the washed mixing bowl. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl. Beat together using the washed wooden spoon, or electric mixer on low speed (to avoid a cloud of icing sugar), until very smooth and paler in colour.

  • Step 11

    Scrape half the filling into the washed medium bowl. Add the vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Fill a piping bag in the same way as before.

  • Step 12

    Sift the cocoa into the rest of the filling, then add the remaining 2 teaspoons milk and mix well until evenly coloured and creamy. Fill the last piping bag.

  • Step 13

    Take a look at the 2 sponges (which are upside down on the wire rack). You want dramatic black and white stripes on top of the cake, so pick the sponge with the best-looking stripes for the top layer. Set the other sponge on a board or serving platter.

  • How to decorate a patterned cake. Zebra Cake - Step 14
    Step 14

    Snip the ends off the piping bags to make an opening 2cm across, then pipe stripes of icing over the bottom cake – in the same way as you did before. Set the other sponge gently on top. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.

    Dotty Cake:
    Use a medium spoon to drop alternate spoonfuls of the 2 mixtures into the tins in a
    random dotty pattern. Bake and cool exactly as in the main recipe. Make up both the
    vanilla and choc fillings and spoon in blobs rather than piping. Experiment with different edible food colourings – orange for tiger stripes or leopard spots.

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And you're done!


Anja R.
Anja R. · Redcliffe, Queensland, AU · 1 project
Luqsnat · 1 project
Wow! Great job mehnnn
isobel.l · Basingstoke, England, GB · 61 projects
mmmmm i need to bake this!
English Ginger
English Ginger · Newport, England, GB · 35 projects

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