Delicious Desserts, GBBO - Season 13

GBBO Season 13 – Week 1 Signature: Mini Sandwich Cakes

The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 13 Challenges.

Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).

So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!

Week one is cake week! And the first challenge felt like something simple; mini sandwich cake! Delicious! But what idea did I want t start with? Carrot cake is always a classic that I love doing. I also really liked the idea of a lemon cake with a raspberry filling.

But my final decision was a cinnamon cake with a chocolate and hazelnut filling. Seemed like a great cake to make! And I don’t get to have cinnamon cake that often. i sat down and started scribbling ideas for a recipe. It turned out deliciously! And I want more!

Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!


I wanted this cake to be light and spongey, so I decided to lean into the acidic activation that comes from baking soda. But I may have still relied on a bit of help from adding some baking powder as well.

The three key ingredients for flavors are cinnamon (for the cake), hazelnuts, and chocolate. I use some extra hazelnuts and chocolate for decorating the cakes as well. Since this is a bake-off challenge, I wanted to focus on taste and presentation. 


The Cinnamon Sponge

The cinnamon sponge was something I was very excited to make. A Cinnamon cake is nothing something I have seen often. And it seemed like a great base for a mini sandwich cake!

For this recipe, I had three main mixtures. The first began by creaming together the sugars and butter to create a light and creamy mix. I like beating this mix a little longer than normal because I tend to under whip it normally.

Once the mixture has reached a smooth consistency, I added in the egg a little bit a time. Each addition of egg made the mixture more and more liquid. Again, I like mixing the ingredients until well combined and a bit of air has been whipped into the mix.

The next mixture is the dry ingredients. This is a very simple step of whisking together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. The flour can be sifted if the flour tends to be chunky.

The last mixture is also very simple. It’s just a mixture of buttermilk and sour cream. Whisking this mixture took a little more elbow grease since the textures of the two ingredients are different. But the sour cream does smooth out and mix well.

The it’s time to add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mix into the main butter mixture. This is done is steps, where a third of the dry ingredients go in and are mixed, then a half of the buttermilk mix goes in. Then repeat until all ingredients are in and completely combined. I’m sure there is a better way to say that, but I am not great at talking.

Then it’s time pour the cake batter into a pan! I used a sheet tray and baked as a large bake. This seemed like an easier approach; make one big cake and cut out the mini cake rather than make a ton of mini cakes. After the cake was finished baking, I let it cool before cutting out each slice. One sheet cake resulted in twelve cake slices to make six mini cakes in total.

The Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

I have been changing my frosting recipe constantly and I have a new iteration once again! My dislike of the buttery taste in frosting has caused me to remove the butter all together! I have two fats in the frosting instead, vegetable shortening and hazelnut paste.

The hazelnut paste ended up being a bland of vegetable oil and hazelnuts. Nothing too fancy! Too help cream together the paste and the vegetable shortening, I also added in some milk. After the ingredients cream together, I added in chocolate powder and vanilla extract.

Then it’s time to add the obscene amount of powdered sugar. I know this is a need ingredient, but it always feels like an abundant amount. But the powdered sugar does make this frosting creamy and smooth! Ugh, absolutely delicious.


I prepped two decorations: chocolate circles and hazelnut crumb. The hazelnut crumb is just crushed hazelnuts to have those chunks on top. The chocolate circles are made from melting chocolate and allowing the chocolate to set.

I pushed the chocolate between two silicone mats to get a smooth surface on both sides. I used a circular cutter to cut out chocolate circles when the chocolate was still slightly warm and not fully set. This helps the chocolate have a cleaner cut.  

Assembling the Cake

Now it’s time to assemble the mini sandwich cake! First is a layer of cinnamon cake, then a layer of the chocolate hazelnut frosting, and then a layer of cinnamon cake.

On top, I make a row of frosting rosettes and sprinkled some the crushed hazelnuts on top. Finally, I placed a chocolate circle standing up on top directly against the rosettes.


This was an enjoyable mini sandwich cake to make but it was absolutely too delicious for its own good. I ended up eating too many cakes and they were gone very very quickly. I was proud of how this one turned out mainly because I took more time to come up with this recipe from my experience and relied less on cobbling together recipes.


Just Jump Right in!

When creating a recipe, not everything is going to go perfectly off the bat. But the best way to combat this is to jump right in a try it! If it works, that’s awesome! If it doesn’t work, then you have something to learn about and are able to find way to make it better. Not trying to create anything won’t yield anything though. I’m sure it’ll be delicious!


Cinnamon Sandwich Cakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

These are moist cinnamon cakes with a rich chocolatey hazelnut frosting are the perfect mini bites!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 Mini Cakes


  • 1 Food Processor or Blender


Cinnamon Sponge

  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Butter softened
  • 3 Eggs Beaten
  • 1 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Cup Sour Cream
  • ¼ Cup Buttermilk

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

  • Cup Hazelnuts approximately 50g
  • ¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  • ¼ Cup Hazelnuts
  • ½ Cup Milk Chocolate


Cinnamon Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Line a sheet tray with baking parchment or a silicone mat and leave aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and creamy.
  • Slowly add eggs and mix until well incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and buttermilk.
  • Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture into the main bowl. Mix continuously during this process, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Pour batter into the prepared sheet tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a flat surface. Let cool completely.

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

  • In a food processor, combine hazelnuts and vegetable oil until it becomes a paste.
  • Cream together the hazelnut paste, milk, and vegetable shortening.
  • Add in the chocolate powder and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until smooth. For a stiffer frosting, add more powdered sugar. For a more fluid frosting, add more milk. 

Decorations and Assembly

  • With a pastry ring, cut out 12 circular slices of the cinnamon cake. Spread the hazelnut chocolate frosting on the top of 6 of the cake slices and sandwich the frosting with the remaining six slices.
  • With the left-over frosting, decorate the top of the cakes with mini frosting rosettes.
  • Using a food processor (or blender), crush the hazelnuts until they have reached a crumb like consistency. Sprinkle hazelnut crumb over the frosting.
  • Melt the chocolate, either over a double-boiler or in the microwave, to 87° Fahrenheit (tempering temperature)and spread over a sheet of acetate or silicone. Allow to set slightly before cutting it out small circular discs.
  • Place one disc on top of each mini cake standing up.
  • Enjoy!!

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