Catching the baking bug

Chocolate, Cherry and Orange Friands
Chocolate, Cherry and Orange Friands
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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If you haven’t caught the baking bug yet, chances are you haven’t seen The Great British Bake Off.

Since 2010, sales of bakeware – cake tins, muffin trays, wooden spoons and the like – have risen by 39 per cent at Sainsbury’s, and in the past year alone sales of Union Jack cupcake cases at the supermarket have shot up by a whopping 2,050 per cent.

The TV baking contest, which has returned for a third series, is thought to be one of the driving forces behind our love affair with all things doughy. The programme, fronted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, sees 12 amateur bakers battle it out to produce the best cakes, breads and pastries.

But the bakers’ love of good baking had to come from somwhere, and many learnt the tricks of the trade at home.

Rosemary Moon is a food writer who’s written 18 cookbooks and teaches about food in Chichester. She says: ‘I think people are baking more. Part of it is to do with the Bake Off, but for so long we’ve lived in an age where you just buy ready meals.

‘Baking re-contructs what our mums did for us. It’s one area of cooking that really screams family. It’s a skill and it’s satisfaction.’

Many people assume that baking just makes fatty treats that are bad for you, but it’s not the case.

Rosemary says: ‘There are lots of people who say it’s sugary fatty food, but it’s about loving people. Mary Berry would be the first to say that you’re giving people some of your love.

‘Baking is closely associated with family, but then afterwards the kids can go outside and run about. Also, you know exactly what’s going into it.’

But it’s not just sweet cakes you can make, with now being the perfect time of year to make a courgette cake.

She says: ‘You can make one using a carrot cake recipe, you just use courgettes instead. It’s also using up any produce you have around and it will feel like a healthy cake.’

Go to for more of Rosemary’s recipes.


n Ingredients

85g plain flour

150g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

30g cocoa

100g ground almonds

5 egg whites, lightly whisked

50g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

200g unsalted butter, melted

Zest of 1 orange

100g dried cherries

n Method

You will also need a 12-hole friand or muffin tin, buttered and lightly dusted with plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.

Sift the flour, icing sugar, baking powder, cocoa and ground almonds into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Next, stir in the egg whites.

Fold in the chocolate and melted butter, using a metal spoon or spatula, then stir in the orange zest and cherries until thoroughly combined.

Spoon into prepared friand tins, and bake for 20 minutes or until the mixture springs back when touched.

Cool in the tins for 3-4 minutes then turn out onto a wire cooling rack and leave to stand until cold. Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.

A Passion For Baking by

Jo Wheatley is published by Constable, priced £8.

Available now exclusively

from Sainsbury’s