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‘Free From’ Bake Off with Holland & Barrett

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Last Sunday I was running like a mad woman, no I wasn’t running a race, I was running because I was late for a very important date. The ‘date‘ in my diary was a ‘Free From‘ Healthy bake off with Holland and Barrett, a group of super friendly bloggers and Ugne from the Great British Bake Off.

Before I knew it I was being welcomed into ‘Cactus Kitchen’, meeting a group of friendly faces. All whilst taking in the stylish surroundings of Michael Roux Jnr’s Cookery School. After a much-needed coffee and group introductions, we were led up to the very ‘Pinterest worthy‘ kitchens.

I don’t know about you, but when I watched the ‘Bake Off’ I never truly understood the pressure of baking within a set time or the anticipation of having my baking judged. Also, I didn’t expect that my tummy would start tying in knots at the prospect of having to bake a recipe I’d never made before, in a hour, in a completely new (to me) kitchen.

Perhaps I should have taken a moment to proof read the recipe first? That would have been the sensible choice; Yet in true ‘Katie Style’ I started baking in a way that was, not unlike a bull in a china shop…

Soon I found myself relaxing, chopping fruit and chattering away to other bloggers and Ugne, as if we’d been baking together for years.  Between you and I,  there were moments when I was wondering if it would be socially acceptable to spoon a bit of the cashew butter into my mouth or taste test the cake mix?

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While our cakes were baking Ugne gave us a demonstration of her Apricot, Chestnut and Coffee Cake with rum icing, and answered some of our questions. When Ugne put her cake into bake we settled down for a delicious ‘Free from‘ lunch..

I have to say that was the tastiest ‘Gluten Fee‘ bread I’ve ever tried and I really enjoyed relaxing with the girls over lunch. I was fortunate to sit near Ugne who is wonderfully down to earth, seriously strong and eat’s 3,000 calories a day (a woman after my own heart!). It’s really refreshing to be with like minded people who don’t fear going for second servings and live the good but balanced life.

After lunch we all presented our cakes to be judged, I made a dreamy chocolate and cashew butter ganache using Free From Chocolate, Meridian Cashew Butter and Maple Syrup. My joy was short lived as mine was the most under baked, on the other hand, this was a common theme and all the cakes looked amazing. Ugne was tactful and kind about every bake and as I’m gluttonous I was mostly looking forward to trying the cakes baked by the fellow bloggers.

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Once we had nibbled some of the bakes (I found it so hard to be polite and not to start stuffing my face) we enjoyed another coffee and a slice of Ugnes heavenly cake. Are you seeing a pattern? I ate a lot cake! The ‘Saturday Kitchen’ is filmed at Cactus Kitchens so we all posed in the famous kitchen before heading home.


If you fancy trying some healthy or ‘free from‘ baking I firmly recommend Holland and Barrett. I’m a existing customer and I’ve not been asked to say this, but the points card is excellent for earning money off voucher’s if you are regular customer.

Have you ever tried ‘Free From baking? or is this something you do often?




I want to say a huge thank you to Holland and Barrett for providing us with such a wonderful goodie bag and day out. I also want to thank the organizers, fellow bloggers and Ugne – Honestly I think this is one of the most enjoyable event’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

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  1. It sounds like a great event, if a little scary (the time pressure!).
    I think often I bake dairy free as I am not a huge fan of dairy, and I did do a bit of gluten free baking as a friend has coeliacs, but as my kitchen is not gluten-free it always made me very nervous indeed.

    1. Ahhhh it was such a lovely event – However, I can confirm that I am most certainly not good under time pressure! I find Gluten Free can be tricky as some GF flours behave so differently to others. Plus you are right, if there is Gluten Traces around the kitchen you can risk making someone unwell, so I agree that it is nerve racking territory. x