Piece of carrot cake and fork on a plate

Three awesome ideas for the workplace bake off

If your company has decided to hold its very own baking competition, then now is the time to release your inner Mary Berry. You mightn’t be able to create something quite as beautiful as Jane’s chocolate orange mirror glaze cake windmill or as ingenious as Candice’s gingerbread pub, but you can still impress your work colleagues with a cake that both tastes and looks amazing.

Here are three great ideas you might want to try:

Piñata cake


Why not surprise everyone by baking a delicious Mexican inspired chocolate cake? It might look quite simple from the outside but when cut, it’ll reveal an inside filled with smarties and other sweet treats. It’s really simple to do, you just need to slice your sponge so you have a base and a lid, then cut out a circle in your base and remove. Fill the hole with sweets, place the lid on top and get decorating!

Ingredients


Chocolate Cake:

  • 75g dairy-free sunflower spread

  • 60g dairy-free natural cacao powder *

  • 115g dark muscovado sugar

  • 225g gluten free white self-raising flour *

  •  tsp gluten-free baking powder

  • ½ tsp gluten-free bicarbonate of soda

  • 140g dairy-free sunflower spread

  • 85g golden caster sugar

  • 3 medium eggs, beaten

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract *

  • 50g dairy-free chocolate, melted

  • 50g gluten-free chocolate chips *

Butter Cream Icing:

Filling:

  • Something from our sweet * page
* Available at Holland & Barrett

Method


Step 1
Heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line the bases of 2 x 19cm springform cake tins with baking parchment.

Step 2
Place the cacao and muscovado sugar in a heatproof bowl and add 240ml boiling water, mix well and leave to cool.

Step 3
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate into a bowl. In another bowl, cream the spread and caster sugar until light and fluffy, using an electric whisk.

Step 4
Gradually whisk in the beaten egg, and then beat in the vanilla, half the flour mixture and half the cacao mixture for 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining flour and cacao.

Step 5
Fold in the melted chocolate and chocolate chips then divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins.

Step 6
Bake for 30 minutes until risen and springy. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Step 7
To make the icing, melt the chocolate. If you are including the alcohol, put this in with the broken pieces and melt it, then stir together – you can do this in 10-second bursts in the microwave or set in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.

Step 8
Put the spread, icing sugar and cacao in a bowl and beat using an electric whisk (you may want to start off mixing with a wooden spoon as it can get quite dusty!). Fold in the melted chocolate (and alcohol if using).

Step 9
When the cakes are cool, take them out of the tins carefully and place them on a clean surface. Using a sharp knife, cut out a circle in the centre of each sponge. Going only half way down each sponge, scoop out the centres- just don’t be too vigorous and go all the way to the bottom.

Step 10
Ice around the edges of the cut out sponges and then fill the base cake with your preferred sweets. Remember to leave some to decorate the top.

Step 11
Place the top sponge on the base with the scooped out section facing downwards. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing and then get decorating.

3D biscuits


Why not try to make a scene from your office or work place out of biscuits? The key to a bake like this is your imagination and icing skills as baking the actual biscuits is the easy part. You could choose to bake shortbread, ginger biscuits or stick with the office theme and have coffee or tea flavour biscuits. The question is, will you be brave enough to make a biscuit version of your boss?

Ingredients:


Ginger bread biscuits

* Available at Holland & Barrett

 Icing

  • 50g icing sugar
  • A splash of water

Decorate your 3D biscuit scene with melted chocolate, sweets, nuts and other delicious treats.

Method:


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.

Step 2
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together gently.

Step 3
Sift the flour and spices into a bowl with a small pinch of salt and then stir in the melted butter mixture and mix well until you have a stiff dough.

Step 4
Allow the dough to cool and then roll out on a floured surface until it is about 5mm in height. Using your choice of biscuit cutters, create your shapes and place them on lined baking sheets. Remember to leave a gap between each shape otherwise you’ll end up with one giant biscuit.

Step 5
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until firm and golden. Allow to cool while you make the icing.

Step 6
Combine the icing sugar with a very small amount of water, gradually mixing until you have a stiff icing that runs but holds its shape when drizzled.

Step 7
Place the mixture in a piping bag and decorate your biscuits. You can also use sweets, melted dairy-free chocolate and other decorations too.

Step 8
Use the icing to stick biscuits together when constructing your 3D scene. Decorate the final creation and, very carefully, transport it to work.

Gluten free carrot cake

If you have a colleague who can’t eat anything with gluten in it, maybe you should consider making your cake gluten free. There are lots of great gluten free recipes to choose from and picking up the ingredients you need is easier than you think. A good carrot cake always goes down well and if you decorate it in your company’s colours or logo, you might end up earning bonus points.

Ingredients:


Carrot cake:

* Available at Holland & Barrett

Icing:

  • 25g softened butter

  • 150g full-fat cream cheese

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Nuts or fruit to decorate

Method


Step 1
Heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Grease a 19cm springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.

Step 2
Put the oil, sugar and the juice from the tin of pineapple in a large bowl and add the beaten egg. Using an electric whisk, blend everything well.

Step 3
Chop the pineapple pieces finely and add to the oil mixture. Stir in the carrot, zest and sultanas.

Step 4
Sift the flour, baking agents and spices into the bowl and mix everything together. Scrape into the prepared tin and put in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Step 5
Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 6
To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together, then gradually sift in the icing sugar and beat well.

Step 7
Decorate your cooled cake with the icing and any other nuts or dried fruit on top.

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