Franny’s #GBBO Bakeathon Challenge – Week 1 (Carrot Bûche)

I realise this is a week late but THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF IS BAAAAAACK! 

I’m delighted. We have a whole new set of bakers complete with familiar faces Mary, Paul, Mel & Sue. From now on, Wednesday nights are all booked up (except for tonight as it’s my boyfriend’s birthday… he wasn’t best pleased with my obvious disappointment that he didn’t want to curl up and enjoy the show).


To celebrate the return of this charmingly addictive show, I am planning to commit to the #GBBO Bakeathon Challenge. That’s right. Each week, I’ll be giving one of the bakes a go adding a personal touch. It’s going to be tough fitting this in amidst Man Booker reading, social events and, oh yes, my job, but I will try, dear readers. I hope they may extend that Bake Off magic beyond the hour we enjoy in the tent each week. 

Last Wednesday we saw the bakers dozen try their hands at swiss rolls. The often underrated swirly sponge was a dab hand for some whereas others, despite various techniques and wizardry, just couldn’t hit the standards expected by the judges.


I did sympathise with this lot. I mean, I’m a keen baker (just in case I hadn’t made that clear) and I’ve never made a swiss roll before! So, I felt the pressure whilst avidly watching the screen. I felt it even more so in the kitchen as I decided my efforts for this week would have to centre on this quaint bake. I wanted to bring some of my own ideas and flavours into the mix, so I decided on a carrot cake swiss roll. But that doesn’t sound so great, so Trish and I, after a few pensive minutes, borrowed the language of our French friends over the channel and went for Carrot Bûche. I love that word. Bûche. Just the fun of your lips pursing and the ‘sssh’ noise – delicious.

SONY DSCWith the decision made, it was time to formulate a recipe and get to it.

I can safely say that the humble swiss roll is not my speciality. I have to admit that this was my second attempt having failed miserably last Thursday. I cannot provide photographic evidence of the pile of mush that I presented Trish and my colleagues with the following day… the shame is too great. Most of it was inedible but the edges that did survive received compliments – so I thought it was worth another shot.


As you can see, it’s not perfect. Our tin was slightly too small resulting in a too-thick sponge. I suffered from some cracks and, having been caught short on the icing sugar front, my filling was comparatively sparse BUT I think it has carrot-ter (yes, I went there) and the marzi-carrots are a simple but endearing addition.

Recipe below sized appropriately to a 10×15″ tin and all ingredients stocked up. I do hope you give it a go or even come up with your own flavours and designs – there have been some brilliant ones flying around under #SwissRollSunday hashtag on Twitter. My favourite is the giraffe one – stupendous.

If you have had a go or are trying your own bake-along challenge do let me know! It will be great to see how my fellow bakers are getting on… and remember: even if your bake is raw or soggier than a wet moggy, just give your pride a few days to recover and you’ll be back in the kitchen whipping up a lip-smacking treat in no time.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Bake Off is back tonight. I’m particularly excited for 3D biscuits and am already contemplating what I shall be baking this weekend. I’ll keep you posted on my progress but until then… On your marks, Get set, BAKE!

– Franny

Carrot Bûche Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn allspice (or ginger & nutmeg)
  • 2 tspns cinnamon
  • 400g plain flour
  • 2 medium carrots (grated)
  • Icing sugar (for rolling!)


  • 170g cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence

Decoration (advise you to make these in advance – instructions at the end)

  • 1x marzipan pack
  • 1 x Orange and 1 x green food dye (or, as I did – pink and yellow = orange; blue and yellow = green)



  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Grease a swiss roll tin (10×15”) pan with butter and flour and line with baking paper
  • Beat eggs at with an electric whisk for 5 minutes – it becomes thick and airy – almost billowing.SONY DSC
  • Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla essence
  • Mix salt, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and flour together.
  • Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just blended.
  • Add carrots, sultanas and pecans
  • Spread in prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly to all cornersSONY DSC
  • Bake for 15-20 mins – this is longer than a normal swiss roll but the mixture is wetter and denser so it needs that extra time otherwise the middle won’t bake!
  • As you wait for the cake to bake, put a clean kitchen towel out on your work surface. Dust the top with plenty of icing sugar – this will (hopefully) stop your swiss roll from sticking.
  • Once your cake is baked, turn it onto the kitchen roll, remove baking paper
  • Roll the sponge, starting at the short end, using the tea towel to help. BE BRAVE. Don’t be afraid of potential cracking. Just roll swiftly and surely and you will have a better chance of achieving that perfect swirl.SONY DSC
  • Leave to cool for 1-2hrs
  • To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and softened butter together.
  • Add the vanilla essence and icing sugar and beat once more
  • This is the hardest part – unroll the towel – carefully trying to prevent cracks but removing the tea towel from the spiral’s innards
  • Spread the filling on the top evenly and then re-roll as tight as you can.SONY DSC
  • Chill until it firms up a bit, at least thirty minutes to one hour. (I wasn’t that patient…but I recommend that you are!)
  • Dust with icing sugar and then lay your marzi-carrots on top.
  • Slice and enjoy!



  • Decide how many carrots and what size you would like and judge how to divide your marzipan accordingly.
  • Add orange food dye to marzipan and roll/knead until the colour is evenly absorbed. Repeat with green food dye for the stalk marzipan.
  • Form a ball of each, wrap in clingfilm and leave for a few hours for the colour to develop.
  • I used my fingers to shape each carrot – it was relatively simple but if you have cutters or want to use a rolling pin that’s also fine!
  • Use a cocktail stick to score the marzipan and make them look more carrot-like.
  • Get used to admiring praise from onlookers. These marzi-carrots steal the show!

4 thoughts on “Franny’s #GBBO Bakeathon Challenge – Week 1 (Carrot Bûche)

  1. Your swiss roll looks delicious.
    Another Austrian/German trick that should prevent the roll from cracking is to do the following right after you take it out of the oven:
    – lay it flat (upside down) onto a clean kitchen towel.
    – remove the baking paper.
    – cover the cake with another clean but damp kitchen towel.
    – let it cool.
    This should keep the moisture inside the cake and when you roll it, it should be elastic.

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