Ready, Set, Bake!

As Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, 2015 finalist Ian Cumming creates a selection of recipes using natural, fresh ingredients

Ian Cumming, finalist from 2015’s Great British Bake Off, was well know on the show for his passion of all things natural, many ingredients he used he grew or foraged for himself. Ahead of the show’s 2016 run, he has teamed up with Belvoir Fruit Farms to create a wonderful selection of summer bakes using fresh, natural ingredients.

Honey cake with elderflower icing
Makes two-layered 20cm cake


220g unsalted butter (room temp)
140g light muscovado sugar
140g honey
½ tsp of salt
4 large eggs
280g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
3 balls stem ginger
3tbsp milk
2tbsp Belvoir Elderflower Cordial.

100g double cream
200g mascarpone cheese
50g Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
100g icing sugar


  1. Grease and line two x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  3. Finely chop the stem ginger.
  4. Using an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, salt and honey for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. One by one beat in the eggs making sure each is well and truly mixed in before adding the next.
  6. Sift in the flour and baking powder and carefully fold in.
  7. Carefully fold in the stem ginger.
  8. Finally fold in milk.
  9. Split between the two tins and bake for approx 25 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle.
  10. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out from tins and placing on cooling rack.
  11. Pour 1tbsp of cordial over the top of each cake.
  12. Meanwhile put the double cream in a mixing bowl and whisk until just starting to thicken. Add remaining icing ingredients and very briefly beat until combined – be careful not to overbeat.
  13. Place one of the cakes on the plate on which it is going to be served.
  14. Put approx a quarter of the icing in a freezer bag or in icing bag. Snip off corner and then pipe 1 to 2 cm circles all around the edge of the bottom cake. Pipe the rest inside the circles and then use up to another quarter of the icing to cover the rest of the cake.
  15. Gently place other sponge on top. Spread remaining icing over top. Pipe rosettes around edge if you have the necessary piping bags / nozzles.

Elderflower and strawberry panna cotta
Makes 4 standard (150ml) sized ramekins


100ml Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
1 gelatine leaf
3 ripe strawberries

400ml double cream
150ml Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
1tbsp lemon juice
50ml milk
½ tsp salt
50g caster sugar
3 gelatine leaves


  1. Start with the jelly. Chill ramekins in fridge. Soak a leaf of gelatine in cold water for a few minutes.
  2. Gently warm the elderflower cordial to approx 50C. In a microwave this should take 30 – 40 seconds.
  3. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and dissolve in cordial. Divide between 4 ramekins.
  4. Cut the strawberries into small pieces and divide between ramekins.
  5. Chill ramekins in fridge until the jelly has set. (This should take about an hour.)
  6. Meanwhile start on the cream. In a small saucepan gently heat the cream until it is barely simmering and then turn off the heat. Dissolve in the caster sugar and salt.
  7. Soak the 3 leaves of gelatine in cold water for a few minutes.
  8. Meanwhile stir in the cordial, lemon juice and milk to the pan.
  9. Squeeze out the gelatine and stir it into the pan.
  10. Allow the pan to cool until it barely feels warm. (The temperature of it needs to be somewhere between 15 and 35C.) Then gently pour onto the jelly in the ramekins.
  11. Chill in the fridge for a couple more hours.
  12. To release the panna cottas from the ramekins run a blunt knife around the edge of them. Quickly dip the base of the ramekin in some very hot water then turn out onto a plate. (You may need a blunt knife to nudge them away from the side of the ramekin when they are upside down to release the vacuum.)

Poached pear frangipane tart


120g unsalted butter (room temp)
70g icing sugar
25g ground almonds
pinch of salt
1 large egg
220g plain flour
1tsp ground ginger

3 reasonably firm conference pears
200ml raspberry and lemon cordial

75g raspberry jam
140g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
120g caster sugar
pinch of salt
140g ground almonds
1tsp almond extract
50ml raspberry and lemon cordial
20g flaked almonds


  1. Beat the butter with a wooden spoon until soft. Beat in the icing sugar until it is fully incorporated.
  2. Beat in the salt and ground almonds until they are also incorporated.
  3. Beat in the egg. It won’t mix in much but don’t worry!
  4. Mix in the flour and the ginger and bring together. Briefly knead before wrapping in a bag or cling film and chilling in the fridge.
  5. Peel the pears and put them in a small saucepan. Pour in 200ml cordial and enough water to cover the pears. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until reasonably tender.
  6. Drain the liquid from the pears into a large pan and bring this to a boil. Reduce this liquidto about ¼ of its original volume. It should be a sticky syrup once it has cooled. Be careful not to overcook it and turn it into caramel.
  7. Meanwhile lightly flour a worktop and roll the pastry into a circle approx 35cm in diameter. Carefully lift it and drape it over a large loose-bottomed tart tin (approx 11 inches.) Trim the edges and then chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 200C.
  9. Cover pastry with baking parchment and then fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for about 5 minutes before carefully removing and then baking for another 5 minutes. The pastry should be just turning golden. Remove and allow to cool.
  10. Reduce oven to 180C.
  11. Cover base of pastry with raspberry jam.
  12. Start on the frangipane. Beat the butter with the sugar and salt until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time along with the almond extract. Fold in the ground almonds. Finally fold in the cordial until it is a soft, dropping consistency.
  13. Dot the mixture over the jam and then smooth it out until the whole tart is covered.
  14. Meanwhile chop the pears as you like. They will be quite soft so treat them carefully. Halve them and then core them. You can then either chop the halves into 3 long strips and arrange them like spokes on a wheel or cut across them and lay them out from the centre.
  15. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.
  16. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a rich golden colour.
  17. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  18. Briefly warm the reduced syrup from the pears so it isn’t too thick. Using a pastry brush carefully brush the top of the tart.

About Ian Cumming

Ian Cumming, 2015 Great British Bake Off finalist, forager and photographer has spent the past year teaming up with brands we know and love to bring a fresh and natural approach to family baking.

For more information about the Belvoir products used in these recipes visit Belvoir Fruit Farms.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 10:25 am Food & Drink