Get creative and enter our Christmas baking competition

gingerbread figures_81417

We have a baking bundle from Robert Dyas, worth £250, to give away to the best Christmas baker.

Whether you’re crazy about cakes, barmy about bread, or particular about pies, you’ll be cooking up a storm in your kitchen and be the envy of all your friends with this huge range of goodies! Along with essentials like nesting bowls, scales, a cooling rack, measuring jugs, and a rolling pin, you’ll be able to unleash your creative side with a piping set and pastry and batter cutters. Essentially everything you need to give Mary Berry a run for her money!

What do I need to do?

We’re asking you to either build your own 3D gingerbread farming scene or bake a tasty sticky apple and chocolate meringue cake.

How do I do that?

Miranda Gore Browne has provided us with the recipes and some tips to help guide and inspire you, but let your imagination run free. 

Skip down to the gingerbread farming scene, or get going with a sticky apple and chocolate meringue cake.

How to enter

Once you have baked your cake or constructed your 3D structure, take some photos and email them together with a brief description to: bG9ybmEubWF5YmVyeUBuZnUub3JnLnVr. Entries will be collated and sent to Miranda Gore Browne for the final judging. Her decision will be final. The closing date is 19 December 2021. Terms and conditions apply.

Good luck and happy Christmas baking!

Biscuit farming scene

gingerbread figures_81417Create a 3D farming scene out of biscuits and let your imagination run wild. We aren’t looking for perfection or Paul Hollywood handshakes; make your own shapes and templates, show us your creativity, get the children involved and have fun! 

Here’s a little chocolate biscuit barn that Miranda Gore Browne made to inspire you, but feel free to experiment, make your own design and weave in your own flavours, quirkiness and structural supports. 

Miranda Gore Browne said: "I always use royal icing to stick my biscuit creations together, but you might prefer to use a different kind of edible adhesive! You may find it easier to do this project over a couple of days. Day 1: make the dough and leave it to chill and rest, day 2: cut out the gingerbread house shapes, rest again and then bake, day 3: decorate and build.


Milk chocolate gingerbread:

  • 100g milk chocolate, melted
  • 400g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 720g plain flour
  • 80g cocoa
  • 1 tsp of ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Royal icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of water

1 x 500g packet of roll out icing to cover your base
1 x 500g packet of pre-mixed royal icing sugar


    For the chocolate gingerbread:

    1. Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave, then put to one side to cool a little.
    2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
    3. Add the melted chocolate and golden syrup then mix again to combine.
    4. Beat the eggs in a jug with a fork and then add to the mixture, mix gently.
    5. Add all the remaining ingredients (sift the cocoa if it looks lumpy).
    6. Mix gently until a dough forms. It will be quite sticky but that’s how it should be at this stage.
    7. Shape the dough into two fat discs and wrap each one in non-stick baking paper. Pop the dough into the fridge to rest for at least 3-4 hours, or you can leave it for a couple of days.
    8. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out between two pieces of non-stick baking paper. Return to the fridge to chill for about an hour.
    9. Lay the templates on top of the flat dough and cut around carefully with a craft knife, lift onto a lined baking tray and put back into the fridge. Chilling the pieces at this stage will ensure they keep their shape during baking.
    10. Bake for about 20 minutes at 170 degrees then turn the oven down and bake for another 30 minutes at about 120 degrees. You need the biscuit shapes to be very dry and hard and this extra time in the oven really is essential so your construction will be sturdy enough.
    11. Leave to cool before sticking together with the royal icing sugar and creating your farming scene.

    For the royal icing:

    If you are making your own:

    1. Use a whisk attachment to beat together the icing sugar, egg whites and lemon juice and beat until stiff peaks form before adding the water.
    2. Homemade royal icing should be kept in a bowl with a clean damp cloth over the top and can be refrigerated for about 5 days, you may need to whisk it again if it goes a bit runny.


    1. Use 500g premixed royal icing sugar mixed with a little water and whisked for about five minutes to make stiff peaks.

    To build the gingerbread house, you will need:

    • A pizza cutter or sharp knife
    • Ruler
    • Non-stick baking paper
    • A board as a base (I used a chopping board)
    • A piping bag for the icing (or a food bag with the corner snipped off

    gingerbread cutout_81415

      Sticky apple and chocolate meringue cake

      sticky chocolate apple almond cake_81418Use an 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin, lined with a cake tin liner or non-stick baking paper.


      For the cake:

      • 200g unsalted butter
      • 200g soft brown sugar
      • 3 eggs
      • 150g ground roasted hazelnuts or ground almonds
      • A pinch of salt
      • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon or mixed spice
      • 170g self-raising flour
      • 30g of cocoa powder
      • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
      • 100g milk or dark chocolate chopped into small chunks
      • 400g British baking apples, peeled and cored then chopped into small pieces

      For the meringue layer:

      • 4 egg whites
      • 200g caster sugar
      • ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar


      1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
      2. Cream together the butter, sugar and mixed spice or cinnamon.
      3. Beat the eggs in a jug and then add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
      4. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, ground nuts and salt.
      5. Add the chopped apples and chocolate chunks and carefully fold in. Scrape into the lined tin.
      6. Stand on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven, set a timer for 30 minutes.
      7. Whilst the cake is in the oven, make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, then add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until it’s smooth and glossy.
      8. When the cake has baked for 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 170 degrees and then carefully lift the cake out of the oven onto a heatproof surface. Pipe or spoon the meringue on top and return to the oven on a low shelf to bake for a further 30 minutes.
      9. Leave to cool a little, then remove from the tin and put onto a pretty cake stand.
      10. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream, crème fraiche or thick yoghurt.

      Last edited: 10 December 2021 at 15:01

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