Maggie Richardson, aka Maggie the Seaside Baker, The Great British Bake Off's first ever Dorset contestant, won the technical challenge in the first episode with a perfectly baked malt loaf, here she shares a recipe for you to try at home

My bakes on the first week of the Channel 4 series The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) included chocolate mini rolls, and a gravity defying showstopper cake. For the latter, inspired by the Dorset seaside, I created an ice cream cornet with a bag above it pouring hundreds of thousands onto it. There is a considerable time between finishing all the challenges and the judging while the baking stations are cleaned down, and by lunchtime the temperature in that famous tent is warm. By the time my cornet was judged it had sagged in the heat - Prue said it looked more like a plant pot than a cornet… but it tasted delicious!

Most bakers dreaded the technical challenge, but I rather loved the frisson of excitement not knowing what it was going to be! You can, however, safely presume that in cake week it is likely to be some sort of cake. Matt or Noel will say: ‘The judges would like you to make a…’ then you remove the gingham cloth to reveal the ingredients and amounts, but there is no method to follow. The technical challenge for that first GBBO was malt loaf, something I had never made before. At that early stage of the competition, I was full of confidence. However, nobody was more surprised than me when I won that first technical challenge. It went rather downhill from there on in.

Surprisingly, some of the other bakers had never heard of malt loaf. Many of us, with children in our lives, know that the commercially made malt loaf in a little packet, is a staple of school lunch boxes. Not only is it delicious, it also keeps really well. So here is a recipe for you to make malt loaf at home and, just for you, a method!

Next month I will share my recipe for a unique Dorset-inspired pudding to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Happy baking!

Great British Life: Homemade malt loaf, easy to bake at homeHomemade malt loaf, easy to bake at home (Image:

Malt Loaf

This really doesn’t take long to make and it is so delicious. I serve mine sliced and spread with award-winning butter from Hollis Mead Organic Dairy which I bought at the Hollis Mead vending machine at Norden Farm in Corfe.


150mls strong black tea

180g raisins

120g pitted prunes chopped into smallish pieces

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150g malt extract

40g black treacle

100g dark brown sugar

250g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

honey or malt extract to glaze


1 Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment or use a pre-formed loaf tin liner. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3.

2 Put the tea, prunes and raisins into a saucepan and simmer for about 4 minutes. Stir through the bicarbonate of soda, take off the heat and leave to rest.

3 Put the malt extract, sugar and treacle into another saucepan, warm through stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolve. It burns really easily so keep an eye on it. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

4 Combine the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl, add the malt mixture and fruit mixture including the soaking liquid. Fold together, add the beaten eggs and mix well.

5 Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 60 -70 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and glaze the top whilst the malt loaf is still warm with honey or malt extract. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, glazed side facing upwards.

6 Wrap the cooled loaf in greaseproof paper and ideally leave for a couple of days to mature. Serve sliced with Dorset butter.

Click here for Maggie's recipe for Dorset apple cake

Click her for Maggie's recipe for gluten free carrot cake

Click here for Maggie's recipe for Simnel cake

Great British Life: Maggie Richardson aka Maggie the Seaside Baker with her homemade Simnel cakeMaggie Richardson aka Maggie the Seaside Baker with her homemade Simnel cake (Image:

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