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Hats off to Martha as she judges npower’s best bakes during Macmillan’s Coffee Morning

Today employees at npower’s Scarcroft and Limewood offices in Leeds, took part in a ‘bobble hat’ themed cake competition to raise funds for their charity partner of 12 years, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Employees based at both sites battled it out for the title of star baker – as selected by Martha Collison, the youngest ever contestant on BBC’s The Great British Bake Off and quarter finalist of the 2014 show.

npower is running the baking competition across its eight main sites to celebrate Macmillan’s 26th World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event and this year, the main event will be taking place across the country on Friday 30th Sept. npower enlisted  the help of Martha to inspire the nation to hold their own Coffee Mornings by cooking up an exclusive chocolate and lime hat cake for Macmillan – and the challenge has also been set for employees at each site to dust off their aprons and bake their own ‘bobble hat’ cakes, raising funds to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry.


In Leeds, Martha judged all the bakes based on how they met her winning criteria of taste, style and creativity.

The winning cake at the Scarcroft site was baked by Vicky Moore, a billing and collections senior analyst. Her classic three layer Victoria sponge with strawberry jam and butter cream was covered in plaited icing in Macmillan’s green and white colours to give the knitted bobble hat effect.

Vicky said: “This is my first attempt at piped icing and I’m thrilled at how it turned out - and winning the competition has literally been the icing on the cake! Having the chance to meet Martha was a lovely surprise too. Before today, I did lots of research to make my cake look as realistic as possible. The recipe is a family favourite - my mum's Victoria sponge. She's been baking since she was young and both mum and nan are all avid bakers, who were my inspiration for my winning cake.  

Talking of the winning cake, Martha added “The intricate plait decoration was so impressive and must have been so time consuming. The cake is neat, has perfect layers and a buttery sponge - I can't fault it in any way. All the cakes were delicious and I'm really impressed at everyone's efforts. It was really difficult to pick the best cake, but Vicky’s sponge was definitely a winner!”

During the baking competition, Martha commented: “It’s not every day that you get to encourage people to bake for such an amazing cause. Cancer can have such a devastating impact on people’s lives so any opportunity to create awareness, especially through baking, is a cause I’m incredibly proud to be involved in.”


Beth Gardner, Head of Community at npower, said, “Our employees really rose to the occasion, showcasing their baking skill in our cake competition. We’ve seen and tasted a whole range of cakes and bakes - and not a soggy bottom in sight! We’re proud to work with Martha to deliver such a fantastic event. We hope Martha’s exclusive cake recipe inspires people to hold their very own Coffee Mornings and raise vital funds for Macmillan to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone.”

To take part in this year’s Macmillan Coffee Morning, head to to register and upload your image at @npowerHQ

Notes to Editors


Martha Collison’s Exclusive Chocolate and Lime Bobble Hat Cake:

Butter, for greasing
125g plain flour
225g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
125ml buttermilk (cultured), or
110ml milk plus ½ tbsp lemon juice
60g butter, melted
1 large egg
125ml brewed coffee (or water)
Zest of one lime

For the decoration:
200g vanilla buttercream
550g fondant icing
Food colouring, colour of your choosing!

  1. You will need a pyrex (or other oven-proof) pudding bowl. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 then thoroughly grease the bowl with butter. Put the plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. If you don’t have buttermilk, pour the milk into a large jug and add the lemon juice. Leave to stand for five minutes until thickened.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk/acidified milk with the melted butter and egg, followed by the coffee or water, and the lime zest.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. Pour this carefully into the prepared bowl (it will be very runny).
  5. Bake for 50 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the bowl for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
  6. While your cake is cooling down, break up 500g of the fondant into a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add a small amount of food colouring and knead until the mixture is one uniform colour. You can also do this by hand, using your hands to knead.
  7. When the cake is cooled, cover the outside with a thin layer of buttercream and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  8. Roll out your coloured fondant icing using a rolling pin and then place over the top of the chilled cake. Smooth the edges using your hands or a cake smoother. Trim away the excess icing and roll into a long sausage shape. Flatten the sausage using a rolling pin and then trim off any rough edges before using water to stick to the bottom of the cake, making a rim for the hat. Use a toothpick to create a knitted pattern up the side and rim of the hat.
  9. Using the saved 50g of white fondant icing, mould it into a round ball and use a toothpick to ruffle the edges to create the bobble. Stick a toothpick into the top of the cake and balance the bobble on top. You can also make other shapes like flowers and stars to apply to the sides of the cake.


This recipe is taken from TWIST: Creative Ideas to Reinvent your Baking (HarperCollins), and given an exclusive *twist* for Macmillan’s Coffee Morning, 30th September 2016.


Notes to editors

About Macmillan Cancer Support

When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.

That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.

To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit