Fresh takes on old favourites in these recipes from the Bake Off book


These recipes – based on the classics we all love to make – mean you can create a Signature Bake worthy of the GBBO tent, say judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

A note from Paul

I come from a long line of bakers. Not only does that mean that ‘baking’ and ‘home’ are words that, to me, belong together like ‘bread’ and ‘flour’ or ‘pastry’ and ‘filling’, it means that I’ve spent my entire life watching baking transform and innovate in front of my eyes.

The combination of old and new, familiar and fresh, classic and contemporary is at the core of The Great British Bake Off in 2023. 

Each year we discover incredible stories behind the bakers’ passions, but this year has blown me away. With a brief to add a fresh twist to the classic recipes we all know and love, the bakers created truly awe-inspiring signature dishes. 

Their creations don’t just update old favourites, but – like all the best bakes – reveal stories about the people behind them.

Bake Off judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood share their own top bakes below. While Paul's Caterpillar Cake will brighten up any birthday spread, Prue's Lemon and Thyme Bundt provides the perfect afternoon treat

This is the inspiration for our 2023 Bake Off book. You’ll find recipes for Signature Bakes that will sit proudly on the kitchen table, with crowd-pleasing appeal. What could be better than a collection of bakes that epitomise the joy of the kitchen? 

With biscuits and breads, pastries and patisseries, desserts, chocolate inventions and, of course, cakes, these are recipes we know you’ll want to make at home.

A note from Prue

I have judged The Great British Bake Off for seven years now, and you’d think I’d have had enough of eating cake! But the skill of the bakers and the effort, imagination and passion they put into their baking endlessly fascinates me. 

Year after year, our bakers are delightful and interesting, and they somehow quickly become a gang of friends. 

For the 2023 series, we concentrated on the classics, but, in true Bake Off tradition, we asked the bakers to adapt those classics as they wished, to give them an original twist. 

I had my doubts that some old favourites could be improved upon, but of course, the bakers rose to the challenge magnificently.

Of the three Bake Off challenges, I find the Signature Bake the most satisfying. The recipes are not as elaborate and time-consuming as the Showstopper, and they are based on the kinds of bakes we all love to make at home – which makes them eminently achievable. 

These recipes are Signature Bakes, each with a Bake Off twist. All you need to do is to follow them faithfully and, I promise you, they will not disappoint. You’ll have achieved a classic bake, worthy of a place in the Bake Off tent.


Silky chocolate buttercream and dark fudge frosting earn their stripes in this decadent chocolate extravaganza, which is laced with just a hint of coffee for extra richness.

Baker’s tip:  Chocolate is a must in baking. Dark chocolate, around 54% cocoa solids, is the kind most used as it gives a good balance of flavour. This recipe recommends 70% dark, which is a little less sweet.


  • 3 x 20cm round cake tins, greased, then base-lined with baking paper 
  • 2 piping bags, each fitted with a medium plain nozzle

SERVES 10-12 HANDS ON 2 hours + chilling BAKE 25 mins


  • 175g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 125ml hot strong coffee
  • 3 eggs
  • 125ml buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1tsp vanilla paste
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 260g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt


  • 175g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 125g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g condensed milk
  • 1tsp vanilla paste
  • A pinch of salt


  • 200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed and softened

Make the sponges

Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter with the coffee in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk to combine. Remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to beat the eggs, buttermilk, sunflower oil and vanilla until combined. Whisk in both types of sugar, then the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. 

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl and whisk until combined. 

Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. 

Leave the sponges to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the fudge frosting

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. 

Beat the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until pale and creamy. Mix in the condensed milk, vanilla and salt. 

Lower the speed and briefly mix in the melted chocolate. Cover and set aside.

Make the chocolate buttercream

Melt the chocolate as before. Put the sugar, egg whites, salt and 1tbsp water in a clean heatproof bowl set over the pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. 

Cook for another 3 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens enough to hold a ribbon trail. 

Spoon the mixture into a stand mixer and whisk on medium-high for 3 minutes, until doubled in volume and cold. 

Gradually add the butter, beating continuously until smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate, cover and set aside.

Assemble the cake

Spoon half the buttercream into one piping bag with a medium plain nozzle and half the fudge frosting into the other. Place one sponge on a serving plate, level the top if domed and pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edge. 

Pipe a ring of fudge frosting inside the buttercream, then pipe alternate rings to cover the cake. Top with the second sponge and repeat the piping. Place the third sponge on top and gently press down.

Refill the bags with the remaining frosting and buttercream. Pipe rings of the chocolate frosting up the side of the cake, then smooth it over using a palette knife, pressing the edge of the knife into the frosting to give texture. 

Pipe kisses of both fillings over the top of the cake. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.


These sophisticated flapjacks – packed with nuts, seeds and fruit as well as oats – are topped with caramelly, blonde chocolate. 

An oil-based food colouring prevents the chocolate from ‘seizing’, and gives a brighter colour for swirling.

Baker’s tip:  Soft dried apricots, as well as dried figs, cranberries, blueberries, sour cherries and dates, can replace vine fruits in many recipes. They add sweetness, which is useful if you want to reduce refined sugar.


  • 30 x 20cm brownie tin, greased, then lined (base and sides) with baking paper

MAKES 20 HANDS ON 30 mins BAKE 25 mins

  • 75g toasted flaked almonds
  • 350g porridge oats
  • 75g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 75g pumpkin seeds
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 10g freeze-dried raspberry pieces
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100g soft dried apricots, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 175g unsalted butter, diced
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 200g light brown soft sugar


  • 200g blonde chocolate (from larger supermarkets), chopped
  • Oil-based pink food-colouring gel
  • 2tsp freeze-dried raspberry pieces

Make the flapjacks

Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/ gas 4. In a large bowl, combine the flaked almonds, oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, ground ginger, raspberry pieces and salt. Set aside.

Add the apricots to a pan with the butter, golden syrup and light brown soft sugar and place over a low-medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. 

When the mixture starts to bubble, pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

Spoon the flapjack mixture into the prepared tin and level the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown, then leave the flapjack to cool and firm up in the tin.

Make the topping

Meanwhile, melt the blonde chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate until smooth and remove the bowl from the heat. 

Spoon 1tbsp of the melted chocolate into a small bowl, add a drop of food colouring and mix until you have an even pink colour.

Pour the remaining melted blonde chocolate over the top of the cooled flapjack and spread it level (with an offset palette knife, if you have one). Drizzle the pink chocolate over the top and use the knife to swirl the two together.

Crush the raspberry pieces in a mortar with a pestle, or use the end of a rolling pin, until you have a powder, and scatter these over the top of the flapjack. Leave the chocolate at room temperature to set firm. 

Using a warmed knife, cut the flapjack into 20 squares or bars, ready to enjoy. They will store for up to a week in an airtight box.


2023 contestant Saku says:

‘I believe the beauty of baking is being able to share the deliciousness with everybody. From celebrations to lunchboxes to an afternoon tea, my moist and fluffy vegan cupcakes are the perfect treat for every occasion.’

Baker’s tip:  Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar increase the lightness and volume of cakes and small bakes. Baking powder should be gluten-free, but some may contain gluten. Check the label.


  • 12-hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases 
  • Large piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle

MAKES 12 HANDS ON 25 mins BAKE 25 mins


  • 275g plain flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250ml plant-based milk (almond, soy or oat)
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp finely grated unwaxed lemon zest
  • 125g blueberries


  • 125g blueberries
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 250g vegan butter, cubed and softened
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tbsp freeze-dried raspberry pieces, to decorate

Make the cupcakes

Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar, coconut and salt and stir with a balloon whisk until combined.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the milk, oil, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Fold through the blueberries and divide the mixture between the lined holes in the muffin tin.

Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, until risen, golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting

While the cupcakes are cooling, tip the blueberries into a small pan, add the lemon juice and caster sugar and cook on a low-medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the berries are soft, juicy and jammy. 

Press the blueberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and leave the compôte to cool to room temperature.

Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the beater on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy. A third at a time, add the icing sugar, beating on low speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the blueberry compôte and mix again until you have a combined, even colour.

Spoon the buttercream frosting into the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle. Pipe a swirl of frosting on the top of each cupcake, then decorate with a sprinkling of freeze-dried raspberry pieces.


Iced party rings are given the retro tie-dye treatment to create an altogether modern take on this favourite treat.

Baker’s tip:  Use white icing sugar for icings, fillings and frostings that need to be pale or that are to be coloured with food colouring. Sift before use to remove any lumps so that your icing is perfectly smooth.


  • 7cm and 2cm fluted cookie cutters 
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper 
  • Small wooden skewers or cocktail sticks 
  • At least 4 small piping bags, each fitted with a small writing nozzle

MAKES 20 HANDS ON 30 mins + chilling and setting BAKE 12 mins


  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 200g plain flour
  • 30g cornflour
  • 1tbsp malted milk powder
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt


  • 500g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra if needed
  • 1 egg white
  • At least 3 different colours of food-colouring paste (use your favourites)

Make the biscuits

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the inside of the bowl from time to time, until pale and creamy. Mix in the egg until incorporated.  

Sift in the flour, cornflour, milk powder, baking powder and salt and mix on low for 30 seconds, until just combined. 

Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disc, and wrap and chill for 2 hours, until firm.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to about 3mm thick. Using the 7cm cutter, stamp out biscuit rounds and arrange them on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little space between each one. 

Using the 2cm cutter, stamp out circles from the middle of each round. Gather the dough offcuts into a ball, then re-roll and stamp out more 7cm rounds, and stamp out the centres, to make about 20 biscuits in total. 

Chill the biscuits for 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Bake the biscuits for 12 minutes until the edges are lightly golden. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the icing

While the biscuits are cooling, using a balloon whisk, beat the icing sugar with the egg white and 3tbsp water in a large bowl for 2 minutes, until the icing is smooth and holds a ribbon trail for 5 seconds when you lift the whisk. You may need more water or icing sugar for the right consistency.

Divide the icing equally between four or more bowls (one per colour, and one for the white). Tint three or more of the bowls of icing using the food-colouring pastes, adding it gradually on the point of a wooden skewer to your desired shade. 

Leave the icing in the remaining bowl white. Spoon 2tbsp of each icing into a small piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle.

Decorate the biscuits

Two biscuits at a time, dip the top of each one into your chosen bowl of icing to coat evenly, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl, then place the biscuits back on the cooling rack. 

Pipe fine lines or concentric circles around the top of each biscuit in contrasting colours, then, working quickly, drag a clean wooden skewer or cocktail stick through the icing in alternate directions to create a feather pattern. 

Continue to decorate the rest of the biscuits, two at a time, then leave the icing to set for 2 hours before serving. The biscuits will keep in an airtight box for up to 2-3 days.


2023 contestant Tasha says:

‘Milk bread is one of my favourite breads. This malty loaf makes for great sandwiches and you can boujee it up with anything sweet or savoury. If you don’t eat it all straight away, it makes the best French toast when it goes stale.’

Baker’s tip:  A tangzhong, used in this Cinnamon & Raisin Milk Bread, is a cooked roux of flour and liquid that is added to bread dough. It makes the finished bake softer and helps it stay fresh for longer.


  • 900g loaf tin, greased then lined (base and ends) with a strip of baking paper

MAKES 1 large loaf HANDS ON 1 hour + rising BAKE 30 mins


  • 75ml whole milk
  • 30g strong white bread flour


  • 350g strong white bread flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 20g dried milk powder
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 8g fast-action dried yeast
  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125ml whole milk, plus 1tsp
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 100g raisins

Make the tangzhong

In a small pan, whisk the milk with 75ml of water and the flour until smooth. Set the pan on a low heat and cook, whisking continuously, for 30 seconds, until it is a thick, smooth paste. Spoon the tangzhong into a small bowl and leave to cool.

Make the dough

Mix both types of flour with the milk powder, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, on medium speed, until combined. 

Warm the 125ml of milk in a small pan and add it to the mixer bowl with two of the eggs, the butter and the cooled tangzhong, and mix on low speed to combine. 

Scrape down the inside of the bowl, increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth, glossy and elastic. 

Tip out the dough onto the work surface and shape it into a ball. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise at room temperature for 1-1½ hours, until doubled in size. 

Lightly flour the work surface and tip out the dough again. Add the raisins, then knead gently to incorporate.

Shape the dough

Divide the dough into four equal portions. Roll one piece of dough into a 20cm square and fold in the left and right sides to meet in the middle, forming a rectangle roughly 20 x 10cm. 

Starting from one of the shorter sides, roll up the dough into a neat spiral. Pinch the edge to seal and place, seam-side down, at one end of the prepared loaf tin. 

Repeat with the remaining dough pieces, so you have four neat rolls in a row, running the length of the loaf tin. 

Loosely cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 1½ hours, until doubled in size and the dough has risen above the sides of the tin.

Bake the loaf

Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Beat the remaining egg with the 1tsp milk and brush over the top of the loaf. Bake for 30 minutes, until risen and golden. 

Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then lift it out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.


2023 contestant Josh says:

‘This fruit crumble is a firm family favourite. I bake it throughout the summer, using a variety of fruits fresh from my kitchen garden. Pecans provide a crunchy addition to the buttery crumble topping. There is simply no beating it.’

Baker’s tip:  A recipe will tell you whether to use butter chilled or softened at room temperature. Cubed butter enables you to add small amounts at a time and makes it easier to combine with other ingredients.


  • 30 x 23cm baking dish, about 5-6cm deep, or individual dishes

SERVES 6 HANDS ON 20 mins BAKE 30 mins


  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 45g demerara sugar
  • 45g golden caster sugar
  • 35g porridge oats
  • 85g pecans, roughly chopped


  • 500g rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm chunks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-3cm chunks
  • 500g mixed berries, such as strawberries, halved or quartered (raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries are also good)
  • 1tbsp cornflour 


  • Custard, ice cream or double cream

Make the crumble topping

Put the flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and there are only very small pieces of butter remaining. 

Add both types of sugar, the porridge oats and the pecans and mix to combine. Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5.

Make the filling

Put the rhubarb in a large, wide pan, add half of the caster sugar and 2tbsp of water. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, until slightly softened, then add the apples and the remaining sugar. 

Stir to combine, half cover the pan with the lid and simmer for a further few minutes until the apples start to soften. Mix in the berries and cook for 2 minutes, until slightly softened.

Assemble the crumble

Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to the baking dish (or small dishes if you’re making individual crumbles). 

Add the cornflour to the fruit liquid in the pan and mix it in to form a paste. Pour this into the dish with the fruit and mix lightly to combine.

Spoon the crumble topping evenly over the fruit, place the dish on a baking tray and bake the crumble for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden, and the fruit juices start to bubble around the edge. (Alternatively, if you’re making individual crumbles, bake them for just 15-20 minutes.) 

Serve the crumble warm with custard, ice cream or double cream.


Hooray! A caterpillar cake has come crawling into The Great British Bake Off!

 This is a chocolate Swiss roll evolved into a gorgeous birthday treat… The question is: what will you call yours?

Baker’s tip: Nozzles range from wide, round tips for piping choux pastry to star shapes for icing, to small writing tips for delicate work. Set the nozzle in the bag, stand it in a jug for support, then fill.


  • 33 x 23cm Swiss roll tin, greased, then lined (base and sides) with baking paper
  • 3 small piping bags, each fitted with a small star nozzle 
  • Baking sheet, lined with baking paper 
  • 7cm round cutter or ring lined with acetate 
  • Small flat plate, lined with a disc of baking paper 
  • Small piping bag fitted with a small plain writing nozzle

SERVES 8-10 HANDS ON 1 hour BAKE 1 hour


  • 5 large eggs
  • 125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 80g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Green food-colouring paste
  • Red food-colouring paste
  • Yellow food-colouring paste


  • 200g 54% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 300ml double cream


  • 75g white chocolate
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted
  • Black food-colouring paste
  • Cornflour, for dusting
  • 10g red fondant
  • 10g white fondant


  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

Make the sponge

Heat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, on high speed for 2-3 minutes, until it is pale, thick and leaves a ribbon trail in the mixture when you lift the whisk. 

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and gently fold it in using a large metal spoon, taking care not to beat any of the air out of the mixture, until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread it evenly into the corners with a palette knife, if you have one. 

Bake the sponge on the middle shelf for 10-12 minutes, until it is well risen, firm to the touch, and starts to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 120°C/fan 100°C/gas ¾.

Place a sheet of baking paper larger than the Swiss roll tin on the work surface and sprinkle with caster sugar. Carefully invert the cake onto the paper and remove the lining paper. 

Score a line 2cm in from the edge of one of the short sides, making sure you don’t cut all the way through the sponge. 

Starting from the scored short side, tightly roll up the sponge using the paper to help, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the meringue decorations

Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, to soft peaks. A spoonful at a time, add the sugar, whisking to incorporate, then continue to whisk until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

Place half of the meringue in a bowl, add a few drops of green food colouring and fold it in with a metal spoon to an even colour. Divide the remaining meringue between two bowls and colour one batch red and the other yellow. 

Spoon each coloured meringue into a small piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. (If you have only one nozzle, then work with one colour at a time, washing the nozzle in between.)

Using the red, yellow and green meringue, pipe 7 small meringue kisses of each colour, about the size of a hazelnut, onto the lined baking sheet. 

Using the green meringue, pipe six legs in an ‘L’ shape, measuring about 2 x 4cm, and six legs in a reverse ‘L’ shape.

Pipe two green curved antennae, each about 4cm long, then use the remaining meringue to pipe flowers to decorate the serving plate or board. 

Bake the decorations for 45 minutes, until dry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Make the ganache coating

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Pour the cream into a pan and slowly bring it just to the boil. 

Pour it into the bowl with the chocolate and butter and leave the hot cream to melt them slightly for 1 minute, then stir until smooth and glossy. Leave the ganache to cool and thicken before using.

Prepare the caterpillar face

Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring until smooth. Place the 7cm cutter in the middle of the lined plate and pour in the melted chocolate, then leave it to cool and set.

Make the chocolate filling

Beat the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on low speed for 1 minute, until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for a further 3 minutes, until pale, creamy and smooth.

Assemble the caterpillar

Unroll the cooled Swiss roll and remove the baking paper. With one of the short sides facing you, make 13 vertical cuts, 1.5cm apart and 15cm long into the sponge, so you now have 14 strips of sponge that look like the keys on a piano. 

Cut the top of each alternate strip to remove seven sponge fingers (blitz or crumble these to make ‘soil’).

Spread the filling over the sponge and re-roll the Swiss roll tightly from the other (non-cut) short end (the strips will make the ridges on the caterpillar body). Transfer the sponge to a wire rack set over a sheet of baking paper. 

Carefully pour the thickened ganache over the sponge roll to coat it smoothly, then gently transfer it to a serving plate or board. 

Arrange the coloured meringue kisses on the ridges of the caterpillar’s body, then set the legs and antennae in place.

Decorate the face

Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of water and the black food-colouring paste to make a thick icing, then spoon it into the small piping bag fitted with the writing nozzle. Remove the set white chocolate disc from the mould.

Dust the work surface with cornflour and roll out the red and white fondants until 3mm thick. Cut out two white ovals for the eyes and roll two tiny white balls for the pupils. 

Using the red fondant, cut out two circles for the cheeks and a small tongue shape. Dampen the back of the fondant eyes with a little water and press them in place on the white-chocolate face.

Using the black icing, pipe an iris onto each eye, then pipe a mouth. Dampen the fondant cheeks and tongue and stick them in place on the face. Press a white fondant ball onto each iris.

Press the caterpillar face onto the thick end of the Swiss roll – the ganache will help it stay in place. Arrange the meringue flowers and chocolate soil on the serving plate or board, to finish.


This is no ordinary lemon sponge. Combining lemon juice with thyme gives the bundt a heady, botanical quality. 

Don’t hold back on the thyme – the recipe calls for a lot, and (because of it) the results are out of this world.

Baker’s tip: A long-handled zester is the quickest way to remove the zest from citrus fruits (use unwaxed citrus fruits for zesting). Pick one that’s sturdy and easy to hold. For strips of peel, use a potato peeler.


  • 23cm 10-cup bundt tin 
  • 1 baking sheet, lined with baking paper

SERVES 12 HANDS ON 1 hour BAKE 40 mins


  • 325g unsalted butter, cubed and softened, plus extra melted for greasing
  • 325g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 4tbsp thyme leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 100g caster sugar
  • A small bunch of thyme


  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 5 thyme sprigs


  • 150g icing sugar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon

Make the sponge

Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Generously grease the bundt tin with melted butter, making sure you brush it between the grooves to prevent the sponge sticking when you turn it out. 

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a beater, on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the inside of the bowl from time to time, until the mixture is pale and creamy. 

One at a time, add the eggs, beating well between each addition, and adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix on a low speed until combined. Add the lemon zest and thyme leaves and mix until combined. Stir in the lemon juice to give a thick dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared bundt tin and, using a spatula, gently push the batter into the grooves and up the sides of the tin, then smooth the top. Tap the tin on the work surface to release as many air bubbles as possible. 

Bake the sponge for 35-40 minutes, until risen and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Make the lemon-thyme syrup

While the sponge is baking, pour the lemon juice into a small pan, add the sugar and bring to the boil. 

Add the thyme, turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a syrup consistency.

Pass the syrup through a sieve into a bowl and leave it to cool. Discard the thyme.

Make the crystallised lemon

Using a potato peeler, peel the lemon in strips, running from top to bottom, then cut the lemon peel into matchsticks. 

Place the peel in a small pan, cover with water and bring the water to the boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pass the water through a sieve. 

Tip the lemon matchsticks back into the pan and repeat the boiling and draining process once more to get rid of any bitterness in the peel.

Place the drained lemon matchsticks in a pan with the 100g caster sugar and 100ml water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 15 minutes, until the peel strips are translucent and soft. 

Pass through a sieve, then spread the strips out on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with sugar. Toss to coat each piece of peel in sugar.

Make the crystallised thyme

Pour the egg white into a shallow dish and lay the thyme sprigs in it. One by one, remove the sprigs and wipe them almost dry with kitchen paper. Place them next to the lemon peel and sprinkle with sugar. 

Leave the sheet in a warm place for the thyme and lemon peel to dry and crystallise for at least 2-3 hours.

Meanwhile, remove the bundt from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack.

While the sponge is still warm, use a thin skewer to prick holes over the surface and brush with the lemon-thyme syrup. Be patient and allow the syrup to sink into the sponge before adding more, then leave the bundt to cool completely.

Make the icing

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to mix to a stiff, but pourable icing (you may not need all the juice). 

Spoon the icing over the bundt cake, leaving it to drip down the ridges, and then decorate with the crystallised lemon and thyme.

The Great British Bake Off ®: Kitchen Classics, published by Sphere in hardback, £22, is out now. 

Text and recipes © Love Productions 2023.

To order a copy for £19.80 go to or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £25. Promotional price valid until 02/12/23. 

Recipe photography © Little, Brown Book Group, 2023. Additional photography © Love Productions, 2023, Ant Duncan, Mark Bourdillon, Smith & Gilmour 


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