Bake Off Bake Along
Comments 29

I Cheated, Don’t Tell Mary | #bakeoffbakealong

At this point in the show, I’m sad every time someone leaves. It’s been just over a month, I’ve gotten to know ’em and I’ve gotten to love ’em.

Particularly Ugne, a badass baker and bodybuilder who brought amazing things to the table every time. That teacup made with a balloon and melted chocolate that one time? Inspired.

Highlights from this weeks show..

    • Alvin making the simplest god damn cake known to man and getting away without a single comment on it, despite Ian’s beautiful flower-covered creation being dubbed “a bit simple” by the Hollywood.
    • Nadiya getting all emotional about how proud her family was going to be and how proud she was of herself. I won’t lie to you guys, tears were shed.
    • The bakers trying to knead a dough that was essentially liquid. This serves as a reminder of why I’ve gone for a sugar-free cake this week..

Kneading Gluten-Free Pittas | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

OK, so, about that sugar-free cake. I think I’ve really cheated this week.

It’s the first time I’ve cheated, and it’s only because I was stranded at my Nan’s house which has limited access to anything even remotely sugar-free (ever tried to find molasses in a village? Yeah, good luck with that).

I haven’t actually used actual refined sugar, but the key ingredient here is most definitely made of the stuff. I mean this is just a half cheat, right? It’s still a syrup. It’s just not an all-natural syrup, you know?

I’m trying here, cut me some slack.

Gourmet Mulling Syrup | #bakoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

The syrup I have used, though, is the most. autumnal. thing. ever. I found it right at the back of a kitchen drawer here. (Sidenote: is it just my Grandparents that seem to have stockpiled enough canned food to last a decade? The stuff you find in those drawers, man!).

It went out of date in 2012 but really, it’s just sugar and spices, what could go wrong? Pretty much nothing.

I was using this Martha Stewart recipe as a really rough guide. When I say “really rough”, I say it because I substituted most of the ingredients and altered the majority of measurements. It was really just there for comfort, you know?

Dried Out Orange Slices | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

I wanted to make it look really special, this is my first autumn bake after all. So I took to Pinterest in search of inspiration (my autumn Pinterest board is my new bible, fact).

I decided pretty quickly that dried orange slices would be f***ing perfect and followed these instructions the night before making the cake. They were still a little sticky, but they looked the part.

Making a cake without any actual sugar was interesting.. particularly trying to cream butter and syrup.. maybe I should have done it differently. I was super happy with the batter when it went in the oven though.

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

It took a gazillion times longer in the oven than the recipe stated because I was using a deep, round cake tin as opposed to a relatively shallow square one. But, my god, the smell! It was amazing, officially the most perfect bake to get us all into the autumn spirit.

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

I was super happy with how it (eventually) came out. I decorated with some cream cheese and maple syrup frosting and those badass little dried orange slices.

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

What do you think, gang? Can you forgive me for my small (and totally necessary) cheat? Did I pass this week?

Mulling Syrup Cake | #bakeoffbakealong | Cate in the Kitchen

If you want to check out some proper free-from baking from people who aren’t stranded cheaters like me, you’ll be glad to know the guys and girls at Pure have a few awesome recipes for you to take a look at – the video kind! Check em out, there’s a whole playlist.

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This post was supported by Pure Dairy Free, thanks for supporting the brands that help me do my thing! 


  1. Oh, that’s not cheating at all! They let people have maple syrup and honey and everything on the show and, if you ask me, that means all the cakes still have sugar in them anyway. I mean, mine was covered in fruit and fruit is full of sugar. Your cake looks great! x

    • Yeah I did think that whilst watching, I kept being like “but there’s so much bloody sugar in dates!”

      Also thank you I am kinda pleased with this one 🙂 x

    • Oh really did they say that? Ha, I’m not as much of a cheater as I thought, just a REALLY bad listener!

      Thanks Katy, I love the orange slices too! Definitely gonna do that again for cake decorating, cheap way to get a really nice look..

      C x

  2. adales8 says

    I don’t think it’s cheating either! Your cake looks SO autumnal! Perfection! xx

  3. Your cake looks amazing Cate! Before I realised I’d already put icing sugar on the top of mine soooo you’re safe I think! x

  4. Oh lord, that syrup sounds divine!! Your cake is beautiful. You should go on Bake Off.
    Alvin is my favourite so I was mortified when he made the most boring cake on earth. How’d he get away with that??

  5. YES to all of your GBBO observations. I thought they were going to tear Alvin to shreads… not that I wanted them too… I just thought they were.
    Your cake looks great and maple cream cheese frosting sounds amazing! Perfect for fall! I am a total rules purist (I know, noooo fun) but when you haven’t got the right ingredients, whatcha gonna do 🙂

  6. I don’t think it’s cheating. However I think I might keep Tate and Lyle in business with the amount of sugar I use.

    Oh and my parents stockpile tinned food as well. If there’s ever a Walking Dead style apocalypse, I’ll be going there first to stock up on supplies!

  7. I don’t count that as cheating, it looks AWESOME! I love love love the orange slices to decorate and that mulling syrup is probably the closest thing to tasting a season, where did they even find such a treat?! This bake looks wonderful, and your photos, as ever, are beaut! Alice xx

  8. I won’t tell Mary if you don’t. I used brown sugar in my brownies so they’re only “white sugar free” hahah which is an even bigger cheat

  9. Great bake! I love the oranges on top – definitely pinterest worthy. I have the exact same bottle of mulling syrup in a cupboard, probably out of date too. I did like Alvin’s cake but he didn’t exactly push himself did he.

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