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Four fab recipes to try for The Big Bake 2021

The Big Bake 2021 is in full swing, with bakers up and down the country connecting over cake for our annual excuse to spread the love for a good cause. And the great news is, it’s not too late to join them!

We know times are challenging, but lockdown doesn’t have to stop us baking up a storm – there are tons of fun and easy ways to hold a virtual Big Bake. Check out some ideas on our Big Bake page, and when you sign up, you’ll get even more inspiration in your very own free fundraising guide.

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If you’ve signed up already, or you’re feeling tempted, the recipes below are sure to tickle your taste buds. We recently asked our staff to share some of their favourite recipes for baked treats and goodies. From muffins and pavlova to cookies and biscotti, check out their delectable recommendations below.

White chocolate and raspberry muffins

Recommended by: Amie, Volunteer Development Manager

These delicious muffins from the BBC Food website are quick and simple to make – a great choice for kids to help with or for a bake-a-long with friends over Zoom.

Ingredients – makes 12

  • 300g/10½oz plain flour
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100ml/3½fl oz milk
  • 100ml/3½fl oz soured cream
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 150g/5½oz frozen raspberries
  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/180°C Fan/Gas 5 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and mix to combine.
  • Whisk the milk, soured cream, eggs, sunflower oil and vanilla together in a jug or bowl until well combined.
  • Pour the milk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix, using a large metal spoon or spatula, until just combined.
  • Add the frozen raspberries and chocolate chips and mix until only just combined – do not over mix or the raspberries will break up.
  • Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Best eaten on the day of making!

Find the recipe online here.

Very chocolatey salted caramel and hazelnut pavlova

Recommended by: Helen, Talent Development Manager

A true showstopper from Sainsbury’s Magazine that’s sure to turn heads. I made this last year, and to say it went down well would be an understatement!


For the pavlova:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the filling and decoration:

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 15 Lindt Lindor chocolates, some halved
  • 100g Maltesers, some halved
  • 40g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 50g Nutella
  • 50g Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference salted caramel sauce (from a 260g jar


For the pavlova:

  • Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/gas 1, and line two baking sheets. Draw a 20cm circle on each.
  • In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Gradually whisk in the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, whisking well between each addition. When all the sugar has been added, keep whisking for a few minutes until it is really thick and glossy.
  • Mix the cornflour and cocoa, sieve over the top of the mix, and add the vinegar and chocolate. Fold in with a metal spoon until just incorporated.
  • Pile the meringue mixture evenly onto the two circles, bringing it to the drawn edge and smoothing the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the meringues are crisp on the outside and lift away from the paper. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and let the meringues cool completely – leaving them overnight is ideal.

For the filling:

  • Beat the mascarpone to loosen it. Add the cream and icing sugar; continue to whisk until you have soft peaks.

To serve:

  • Place one of the meringues on a cake stand or plate. Spoon half of the cream filling on top and scatter over a third of the chocolates, Maltesers and hazelnuts.
  • Drizzle with half the Nutella and caramel sauce (microwave for 20 seconds first to loosen).
  • Put the second meringue on top; repeat with the cream and the remaining chocolate, nuts and sauces.
  • Serve immediately.

Find the recipe online here.

Fruity biscotti

Recommended by: Ellie, Internal Communications Manager

These biscotti, from the BBC Good Food website, can be made in bulk and kept in an airtight container for up to a month – the perfect treats to deliver to guests, in exchange for donations, once it’s safe to do so!

Ingredients – makes about 72

  • 350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Coarsely grated zest 1 orange
  • 85g raisins
  • 85g dried cherries
  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 50g shelled pistachios


  • Heat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Put the flour, baking powder, spice and caster sugar in a large bowl, then mix well.
  • Stir in the eggs and zest until the mixture starts forming clumps, then bring the dough together with your hands – it will seem dry at first but keep kneading until no floury patches remain.
  • Add the fruit and nuts, then work them in until evenly distributed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 pieces.
  • With lightly floured hands, roll each piece into a sausage about 30cm long.
  • Place 2 on each tray, spaced well apart.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dough has risen and spread and feels firm. It should still look pale.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack for a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then turn down the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1.
  • Using a bread knife, cut into slices about 1cm thick on the diagonal, then lay the slices flat on the baking sheets.
  • The biscuits can be cooled and frozen flat on the sheet at this point, then bagged and frozen for up to 2 months.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes (20 minutes if from frozen), turn over, then bake again for another 15 minutes until dry and golden.
  • Tip onto a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight tin for up to one month.

Find the recipe online here.

Salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookies

Recommended by: Sarah, Senior Children and Families Officer

These tasty cookies from the NY Times are the best ever!

Ingredients – makes 12

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp/255 g salted butter, cold (room temperature if you’re using a handheld mixer), cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup/100g granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup/55g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups/325g plain flour
  • 6oz /170g semi-sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (not too fine; you want chunks, not little shards)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Demerara sugar, for rolling
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  • Heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the butter, both sugars and vanilla on medium-high till it’s super light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes for a stand mixer; 6 to 8 minutes for a hand mixer).
  • Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, followed by the chocolate chunks, and mix just to blend.
  • If necessary, knead the dough with your hands to make sure the flour is totally incorporated. At this point, the dough should be smooth and feel like Play-Doh with no pockets of flour.
  • Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap.
  • Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting all sticky.
  • Using your hands, form the dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out, but don’t worry about getting it totally perfect. Each half should form a 6-inch (15 cm) log, 2 to 2¼ inches (5 to 5¾ cm) in diameter.
  • Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours.
  • Brush the outside of the logs with the beaten egg and roll them in the demerara sugar.
  • Using a serrated knife, carefully slice each log into ½-inch (1¼ cm)-thick rounds (if you hit a chocolate chunk, slowly saw back and forth through the chocolate).
  • Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch (2½ cm) apart (they won’t spread much). Sprinkle with flaky salt.
  • Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before eating them all!

Find the recipe online here.

Tempted to get involved?

Join us in spreading the love (and the frosting) by taking part in The Big Bake this February!

Connect virtually with those you love, raise some dough and help us find a cure for brain tumours faster.