A Bake in the Life: Chocolate Orange Swiss Roll

After watching the first episode in the new series of the Great British Bake Off, I was inspired to make my own version of a Swiss Roll! I decided to use a basic chocolate swiss roll recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book and adapt it with the addition of orange. Using 4 eggs gives the chocolate sponge a really light texture, and the filling can be changed depending on your favourite flavours or on what ever you have in the cupboard. I decided on using orange extract for a good flavour, mandarin oranges for sweetness and candied peel for decoration 🙂

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Chocolate Orange Swiss Roll

You will need:

4 Eggs

4 oz/100g Caster Sugar

2½ oz/65g Self Raising Flour

1½ oz/40g Cocoa Powder

2 Tbsp Orange Marmalade

10 fl oz/300ml Double Cream

1 Tsp Orange Extract

1 Tin Mandarin Orange

A few pieces of candied orange peel and icing sugar to decorate

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7/220ºC/425ºF, grease and line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) swiss roll tin with grease proof/baking paper.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and frothy.

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  • Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture and carefully fold until fully combined.

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  • Turn the mixture out into the prepared tin, ensuring it’s level before baking for about 10 minutes until the sponge springs back when touched.

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  • While the cake is cooking, place a piece of non-stick baking paper a little bigger than the size of the tin on the work surface and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Turn the cake onto the sugared paper and peel the paper off the bottom of the cake.
  • Roll the cake firmly from one end, with the paper inside and leave to cool.

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  • While the cake is cooling, warm the marmalade gently to make it easier to spread, drain the mandarins and pat dry on kitchen paper.
  • Whip the double cream until light and fluffy, then add the orange extract.

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  • Carefully unroll the cooled cake, remove the paper and spread with the warmed marmalade and whipped cream.

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  • Lay the mandarins over the whipped cream, then gently re roll in the paper and leave to set in the fridge for an hour.

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  • When ready to serve remove from the paper, sieve over some icing sugar and top with a few pieces of candied orange peel.
  • You are all done 🙂

I really like how the slightly bitter flavour of the cocoa powder and marmalade is well balanced with the sweet orange cream and juicy mandarins. I decided to top the finished swiss roll with a dusting of icing sugar and thin pieces of candied orange peel. It is easy to change this recipe to suit your own tastes, whether that’s a vanilla sponge instead of chocolate, raspberries instead of mandarins or jam over marmalade!

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Rolling the swiss roll is definitely the most difficult part, as if you let the sponge cool too much before rolling it into shape it may not hold it’s roll or it may crack. Roll slowly, while the sponge is still warm and with the grease proof paper underneath to ensure a good shape, and make sure the roll is fully cooled before adding the filling. I also found that chilling the swiss roll after filling it helps it to hold it’s shape! If you do have problems just sieve over some icing sugar to hide the cracks or cover with some buttercream icing – nobody will mind as long as it tastes delicious (Unless it’s Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood of course!) 🙂

A Bake in the Life…


A Bake in the Life: Double Orange Cake

Whenever I am browsing through cookery books I always seem to end up choosing a recipe that feeds my love for the taste of citrus! This cake caught my eye as I was looking through a Mary Berry recipe book while back home for a week in Oxfordshire. There is nothing quite like a traditional sponge cake, but I do like to try and liven it up a bit with a fresh taste that stops it from becoming too heavy and sickly. Originally this recipe was a one layer sponge with a simple orange juice icing sugar topping, however I decided to split the batter into two tins to make a double layered cake and top it with a cream cheese frosting instead 🙂


Double Orange Cake

You will need:

For a double layered cake

6 oz/175g Butter

6 oz/175g Caster Sugar

6 oz/175g Self Raising Flour

3 Eggs

1½ tsp Baking Powder

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

Cream cheese icing

10½ oz/ 300g Icing Sugar

2oz/ 50g Butter

4½oz/ 125g Cream Cheese

Grated zest of 1 orange


Let’s get started!

  • Pre heat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, and grease/line two 6in/15cm cake tins.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


  • Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder, stir to combine fully.
  • Beat together the eggs, then add the orange rind and juice.


  • Add to the dry ingredients and beat well until completely blended.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, spread flat and bake in the pre heated oven for 30-35 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
  • In a separate bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.


  • Sift in the icing sugar and beat together for around 5 minutes until the icing becomes thick and fluffy.
  • Once the cakes are cool, fill and top with the cream cheese icing then decorate with grated orange zest or a slice of orange.
  • You are all done!

I really like that the orange zest gives this sponge cake tons of citrus flavour, while the juice keeps the cake moist. You could of course substitute the orange for another citrus fruit, but I love the colour orange zest/juice gives to this cake and the icing. The cream cheese icing complimented the cake well, and I would definitely recommend trying it out! Although I decided to make a double layered sponge cake I think this recipe would work well as cupcakes, topped with cream cheese icing and one of my favourite jelly oranges/lemons 🙂


A Bake in the Life…

A Craft in the Life: Chocolate Orange Fudge

When I was asked to make some chocolate based fudge, one flavour that I really wanted to use was orange. I wanted to ensure the fudge had a good orange flavour so I decided to use an orange extract, however I still wanted to use orange zest so that the fudge would have flecks of orange throughout. I decided to try out a different fudge recipe from my new recipe book – Sweet Things, which used evaporated milk, full cream milk and double cream. I modified the recipe to create a chocolate orange flavour and substituted milk chocolate for dark chocolate as I prefer the taste.

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Chocolate Orange Fudge

You will need:

18oz/500g Caster Sugar

6 fl oz/170ml  Evaporated Milk

4 fl oz/125ml Full Cream Milk

3 fl oz/75ml Double Cream

Pinch of Salt

1 tsp Orange Flavouring/Extract

3½oz/100g Milk/Dark Chocolate

2oz/50g Butter

2 tsp Cocoa Powder

Finely Grated Zest of an Orange

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Let’s get started!

  • Begin by greasing and lining a 17-18cm square/rectangular baking tray with grease proof paper.
  • Combine the caster sugar, evaporated milk, double cream, salt and full cream milk into a large heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar.


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  • Once the mixture is combined and smooth, bring to the boil (It will rise very quickly, so don’t be concerned but do make sure you are using a large enough pan to prevent spilling over or burning yourself).
  • When boiled, lower the heat and continue to cook stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or heat proof rubber spatula to prevent sticking and burning. Using a thermometer, ensure the mixture reaches 112ºC/233ºF (If you don’t reach this temperature your fudge won’t set properly when you chill it, so it is definitely worth investigating in a sugar thermometer to prevent unset fudge!).
  • While the mixture is reaching temperature, chop the chocolate and combine with the orange flavouring/extract, butter and cocoa in a large bowl.

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  • Take the pan of fudge off the heat and add the orange flavouring/extract, butter and cocoa mixture.

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  • Pour the fudge back into the large bowl and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
  • After this time add the orange zest and beat using a wooden spoon or spatula for around 1 minute until the fudge thickens and looses it’s glossy sheen.

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  • Pour the fudge into your prepared baking tray and spread level (Sometimes as the fudge is cooling very quickly you can end up with uneven fudge, just gently tap the tray onto the work surface to even it out before chilling).

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  • Chill the fudge until firm then remove from the tray and cut into pieces (I usually cover my fudge with a tea towel and leave it in the fridge overnight to ensure a good set).

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  • You are all done! 🙂

Compared to the first fudge recipe I used, this recipe is just as easy but does use ingredients which you may need to search out. However if you prefer a softer more creamy fudge this is definitely the recipe for you! The orange extract and zest worked really well together, as I hoped, giving a consistent orange flavour throughout with flashes of orange. I’m glad I used milk chocolate as it complemented the orange well without being too rich.

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I will definitely be using this fudge recipe again, as I would love to try out other recipes from the book, in particular: Chocolate & stem ginger, and maple pecan fudge! The hardest part of making fudge is ensuring that you reach that crucial ‘soft ball’ temperature while making sure not to burn your fudge. This may take a bit of practise, but with a good thermometer and some patience your fudge should be perfect 🙂

A Craft in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Mandarin Cheesecake

We celebrated New Year at ours this year and as friends came over we decided to make a big shared dinner and dessert. My mum usually makes a delicious White Chocolate, Rum and Lime cheesecake, however we decided to mix it up a bit and make my favourite cheesecake – Mandarin! This recipe is a combination of my mum’s original White Chocolate, Rum and Lime cheesecake and GoodFood Gordon Ramsay’s Mandarin Cheesecake.


Mandarin Cheesecake

8oz/225g Digestive Biscuits

4oz/110g Butter

14oz/400g Mascapone

1 Vanilla Pod (Split open with a knife and scrapped for seeds)

3½oz/100g Icing Sugar

Zest of 1 Orange

10fl oz/300ml Double Cream

Tin of Mandarin Segments

Let’s get started!

  • Lightly grease and line a 20cm/8″ spring form cake tin.
  • Drain the mandarin segments, placing them onto a piece of grease proof/kitchen paper to dry.


  • To make the cheesecake base, weigh out digestive biscuits into a sandwich bag and using a rolling pin crush into fine crumbs.


  • Melt butter in a saucepan and then add in crushed biscuits, stirring until combined.


  • Transfer the mixture into your cake tin, using a spoon to spread out and press down until compact.


  • Chill in the fridge until ready to top.
  • Beat together mascapone, before adding in the vanilla seeds and combining.


  • Sift in the icing sugar and add the orange zest.


  • In another bowl whisk double cream until stiff peaks are formed.
  • Fold the double cream into the mascapone mixture gently.


  • Spread over the biscuit base and level out before chilling in the fridge to allow the mixture to firm up.


  • When ready to serve, carefully top with mandarin segments.
  • You are all done! 🙂

I really enjoyed making this cheesecake 🙂 The recipe requires no baking, just melting the butter and chilling in the fridge – which makes it quick and simple to make. The orange zest and mandarins can easily be replaced with another fruit: Blackcurrant, lemon or cherry would definitely be interesting to try. The mascapone and double cream give a beautiful light texture, while the biscuit adds a great crunch with a lovely orange flavour throughout. I particularly like the mandarin segments on the top, which could be combined with a sugar syrup to give a glossy covering over the fruit. I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try, whether that is for a party or just all for yourself!

A Bake in the Life…

A Craft in the Life: Orange and Clove Pomander

Now I am back home in Witney for the Christmas holidays nothings gets me more in the Christmas spirit than working on all things Christmassy! As well as putting up Christmas decorations that we have had for years, I have also been making some of my own handmade decorations. After a suggestion from my mum I decided to have a go at making very traditional orange and clove pomanders. Although I’m pretty sure everyone made one when they were in Primary school, this is the first time I have made one since then!


Christmas Orange and Clove Pomander

You will need:

Large oranges (How many will depend on how many you want to make! You can use smaller oranges/clementines/satsumas however the skin may be thinner and cloves will go through into the fruit)

Jar of Cloves



Cocktail sticks


Let’s get started!

  • Start by selecting your orange, ribbon and a cocktail stick.
  • You can use your selected ribbon to decide where you would like to place your cloves. Once you have decided where you want your cloves to go, you can mask the area off using masking tape as a guide.
  • Alternatively you can just do it free hand – which is what I choose to do.
  • Using your cocktail stick pierce the skin of the orange in your desired pattern leaving a small gap between each as the fruit will shrink when dried (I decided to try two designs, one in a cross and the second half a cross).


  • Once completed and happy with the placement of the holes, insert the cloves.


  • When you have finished, you can either get the oranges fresh and re attach your ribbon or you can dry them out to make them last longer.


  • To dry them out, preheat an oven to a very low setting – 130ºC/250ºF/Gas Mark ½.


  • Remove the ribbon/masking tape and dry out in the oven on a wire rack for 5-6 hours – checking occasionally to make sure they aren’t cooking!
  • If you have time and plan in advance you can also dry them out in a loosely closed paper bag in a warm dry place for 3-4 weeks.
  • Once dried, re attach the ribbon using pins to hold.


  • You can create a bow or loop for hanging and can also attach cinnamon sticks/star anise for more Christmas scent and decoration.
  • You are all done! 🙂

I really enjoyed making these pomanders! They are simple to make, make everything smell amazing and look really great around the house or on the Christmas tree. Everything you need for this craft is fairly cheap and easy to find – you can find oranges, cocktail sticks and spices in most supermarkets and you can just use scrap/recycled ribbon. The only part which takes time is drying them out, however once you get them in the oven you only need to check them occasionally so they are pretty low maintenance. You can of course change up the fruit you use, maybe keeping to citrus fruits (Lemons, Limes/etc) and change the spices (Cinnamon, Star anise/etc). I would definitely recommend giving this craft a go!


A Craft in the Life…