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Karen's Bake off Challenge Week 1: Malt Loaf

Well it's that time of year again...Bake off is back. I can't claim to be a super fan but I got into it over lockdown last year and so this year I've decided to set myself the challenge of performing each week's technical challenge.

It's only week 1 and I am so pleased I've taken it on because the malt loaf I made was so incredibly delicious, it really is one of the tastiest things I've ever made! I was already making a second loaf as the first one neared the end!

Over the coming weeks I envisage a few obstacles, being vegan, I'm going to have to use a few substitutes but that shouldn't be a huge difficulty. The equipment I have available may be an issue but I have lots of people happy to lend me things (I always return the things I borrow...eventually!) Also, time is an issue...there is never enough! Also, I can't see through my oven door, although, to be honest, I haven't the patience to sit there looking through it so, as I learned in this first challenge, sometimes things get burnt! Ovens are all different I hear, well mine seems to behave differently on different days so I will just have to do my best.

I'll not include all of the recipe details, just the link to the Bake Off recipe webpage I used and I'll share any swaps I did and any advice about what to do (...and more likely what not to do!)


1 strong black tea bag

150ml just-boiled water

200g flame raisins (I used regular raisins)

100g soft, pitted prunes, finely chopped (I used dates)

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g malt extract, plus extra for glazing

40g black treacle (I used molasses)

100g dark muscovado sugar

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten (I used egg replacer powder)

unsalted butter, to serve (I used Naturli spread)

You'll also need a 900g loaf tin. Which reminds me, I must learn how to line a baking tin without the paper curling around and baking itself into the cake!


I followed the method in the recipe, soaking the fruit overnight and just had to substitute a few things to make it vegan and to make it without having to buy anything I didn't already have!

Tips based on my experience:

- Don't worry if you think the mixture is going to be too dry to fold in all the happens and then you add your egg replacement mix which makes getting it into the tin easy.

- My first one burned a little on the top when I checked it after one hour although the tester showed it wasn't cooked through yet. I would check it before an hour and place foil over it to finish it off if it looks like it's going to start to burn. I did this on my second attempt and it was perfect.

- It really does get better in flavour over the next few days although its so so hard to leave it alone!

This was sampled by myself, my husband, my parents, my mother in law and most of the team at Village Greens and it was a unanimous thumbs up. I've made malt loaf before but this was something else. So good, just like treacle toffee but in gooey cake form. Lovely! Well, I'm told I'm through to the next round so keep checking back and follow my progress.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the changing season everyone.


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