Bake your way to success

Image credit: Lucy Roxburgh

Are you a fresher? Are you worried about making friends? Then remember this simple adage: to make friends, bake cake. Whether you fancy yourself as the next Bake Off champion or you're brand new to baking, mastering a classic carrot cake and perfecting the chocolate chip cookie are valuable skills. Watch out Nadiya. 

Carrot Cake 


  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 300g grated carrot (N.B. grate them before you start!)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g chopped walnuts and sultanas in your preferred ratio (I’d go 50:50)


  • Line a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 170⁰C.
  • Whisk the sugar, eggs and oil together ‘til pale and thick (or your arm gets cramp). If you’re making this at home and have an electric whisk it will make things much easier but it can be done by hand. 
  • Sift in the flour and mix in along with the spices and baking powder.
  • Stir in the carrots and vanilla essence, then the chopped walnuts and sultanas.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer (or knife) poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Turn out onto a rack to cool.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister and I spent a long time perfecting our cookie recipe and have come to the conclusion that simple is best. We tend to prefer to make these cookies rather large, in which case the recipe below makes about 10, but if you anticipate having more than 10 freshers’ week friends you could certainly make them smaller (or double the recipe!)


  • 75g softened butter (
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 175g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 150g chocolate chips 


  • Grease two baking trays and preheat oven to 180⁰C.
  • Cream (mix with a wooden spoon) the butter and both types of sugar until there are no more streaks of butter.
  • Beat the egg with the vanilla essence.
  • Gradually add the egg into the creamed butter and sugar, mixing well.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir until smooth.
  • Stir in half of the chocolate and all of the dried fruit.
  • Use two teaspoons to put blobs of the mixture onto the greased trays and flatten a little. Top with the remaining chocolate.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until your preferred cookie colour is achieved.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
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