Great British Bake Off 2016

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week – 6 – Botanical Cake

Bake Off

Week six arrived in the Bake Off tent, bringing with it, a new category, ‘Botanical Week’.

The 3 bakes were 

Signature: Citrus Meringue Pie

Technical: Fougasse (Leaf Shaped Bread)

Showstopper: 3 Tier Floral Cake


Part of me thought about making the bread as it would have been the easiest option but after being rubbish last week, I thought I had better make an effort and so I went for the showstopper.

3 tiers was one tier too many though. I thought that I would just make 2 large cakes, slice both in half and make one very tall cake, but it didn’t go to plan. That’s what happens when you experiment.

I was looking for inspiration for a botanical flavour and I happened upon these tea bags from Tesco. Tom had used Camomile tea in his cake and so I could do similar couldn’t I? Yes I could. Doesn’t mean it will taste good though.


Bake Off Botanical


One thing that surprised me was that there was no honey on the Bake Off program and so I decided that I would incorporate that too. 

So, I started with my failsafe Victoria Sponge recipe (which is actually Mary Berry’s recipe) and made it in slightly smaller tins than usual so that I would have big fat cakes that I could slice in half.

I used half the amount of sugar that was required and then substituted honey for the other half. Apparently you need less honey than sugar when you are converting and so as the recipe called for 225g of sugar, this equates to one cup. So I used half a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of honey. 

I opened 3 tea bags, took out the bigger twigs and added a little bit of hot water – just enough to wet all the ‘tea’ and set it aside. 

I made the rest of the cake as normal and then added the wet tea bag contents, mixed it and put them to bake.


Bake Off Botanical


I wanted a type of jam to go in the middle and so when I spied the two old cooking apples I had on the side, I naturally decided to chuck them in the cake too. I chopped them and softened them in a pan with a teeny splash of water and then reduced it down to a thick paste. 

Now I began to make some honey frosting. I made this with 225g soft butter, 115g honey and 3 cups os icing sugar. When it was really thick and at the stage where I would usually add some milk, I took a big ‘blob’ and mixed it with the cooled apple. I decided to use this apple buttercream to sandwich the slices of cake together.


Bake off Botanical


They came out of the oven looking lovely and as the original recipe usual looks. However, 10 minutes later and they had deflated (no doubt down to the water that was in the tea) and were certainly not going to cope with being cut in half. Oh balls! 


Bake Off Botanical Bake


I quickly made a half batch of the normal cake and made two small cakes to make a tier on top (and some cupcakes). 

When all was cooked and cooled, it was time to ice. I sandwiched the two big cakes together with the apple buttercream and the smaller with some plain buttercream and a little raspberry jam. I then crumb coated both of them with the plain buttercream. 


Bake Off Botanical Crumb Coat


Time to decorate. The fun bit. Last week, when trying to source edible flowers, I came across Herbs and Flowers, a company selling beautiful Borage flowers. I looked for their number as I wanted to check that they had them as I didn’t know if they were in season or not and low and behold, they were a local company, just around the corner. I got some Borgae flowers, Viola’s, Cornflowers, Dianthus and a herb called Sweet Cicely. I chose this as it has lovely fern like leaves. It has a mild aniseed taste which for someone that doesn’t like aniseed, was perfectly acceptable.


Edible flowers herbs unlimited


I first wanted to try a ‘naked’ cake. They are all the rage and indeed Benjamina made one in the tent. 

This was simply a case of scarping off some of the crumb coat carefully and then decorating with the Borgae flowers. They are simply stunning little flowers and I think make a really nice classic look. 


Bake Off Botanical Naked Cake


Next, I wanted to use the green from the sweet cicely. I added more buttercream, chilled and added another thin layer until I got the smoothest look I could. 


Bake Off Botanical


Finally, I went for the full on floral look for a fun cake.


Bake off Botanical Edible Flowers


This is the first time that I’ve ever decorated with edible flowers and I think I will always choose to in the future as it’s such a simply yet stunning way to decorate. 

Now it came down to the taste. All I can say is that it is ‘interesting’! It’s nice, just different. I think I like it, I’m just not sure! My little boy certainly liked it though. I think the ‘tea’ flavour is just a little too strong. In hindsight, I think just one or two tea bags would have been enough to add a gentle flavour. 

To recap the botanical elements in this cake:

  • Honey in the cake and Icing
  • Apple, Elderflower & Pear Tea containing Apple, Apple Pomace, Elderberry Flower, Sweet Blackberry Leaves, Chicory Root, Sunflower Petals and Pear Pomace.
  • Fresh Apple in the Buttercream
  • Fresh, edible flowers

If you want to see my other Bake Off bakes:

Week 5 Cinnamon Rolls

Week 4: Baked Churros

Week 3: Chocolate Cherry Bread

Week 2: 3d Gingerbread Story (I won star baker!)

Week 1: Triple Chocolate Mirror Glazed Giant Jaffa Cake


hannah spannah

Linking to:
Mummy Mishaps


  1. Wow Hannah, they are sooo pretty! I too have never decorated a cake with actual flowers before, but I’ll certainly give it a go the next time I need to bake for somebody where flowers is appropriate…they really make the cake look so pretty!
    Angela x

    1. Thank you Lucy. I had so many beautiful flowers that it seemed criminal not to x

  2. i have never tried edible flowers before – do they taste nice? I don’t like parma violets and thats what i fear they would taste like.
    Your cakes look so pretty – those flowers really make such an elegant decoration. Your flavours sound lovely and what a shame the sponge sunk! BUT the finished cakes look beautiful – you would not know about the issues you had
    thank you for linking up xx

    1. They didn’t have much taste to be fair- I ate some of them without the cake and they just tasted a bit like a nice lettuce!
      Thank you x

  3. Oh the last floral cake is just fab!! I really do love it and the sound of the tea just makes me think mmmmm… Perfect for an Alice in Wonderland theme I think!

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