The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens tonight, Wednesday 5th August at 8pm on BBC1.

12 new bakers will don their aprons and head for the iconic tent in the heart of the British countryside. Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have created 30 new challenges that will test their baking prowess, creativity and skill in a bid to find the country’s best amateur baker. From Victorian classics to high-end patisserie, from chocolate sculptures to everyday staples, the bakers will need cool heads and even colder hands to make it to the final. With them every step of the way are Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, ready to lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on.

Starting with cake week, the bakers’ first signature challenge is to make a madeira cake. It’s a well-loved cake, but which of our bakers will try to impress by reinventing this classic, and who will play safe in a bid to get perfect madeira with its traditional crack?

12 new bakers, 30 new challenges.

Why not get involved with this delicious recipe.

On your marks, get set… bake!

Madeira Loaf Cake

175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

175g golden caster sugar

3 large eggs

grated zest 1 lemon

few drops vanilla extract

200g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

Method

1 Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter and line the base of a 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the lemon zest and vanilla. Now beat in the flour and almonds until you have a thick batter. The batter should be loose enough that it falls off a wooden spoon, if it’s too thick mix in a splash of milk.

2 Tip the batter into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 55 mins – 1hr until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven then leave to cool for 15 mins then remove from the tin, peel away the paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for three days.

Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com, January 2012

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at