Hallmark Carehomes
Great British Bake Off finalist gives surprise baking lesson to Kew House resident

28 April 2017

Great British Bake Off finalist gives surprise baking lesson to Kew House resident

Great British Bake Off finalist, Andrew Smyth surprised resident John Sprakes, 90 by visiting him at Kew House, our care home in Wimbledon and arranging a private baking lesson.

The runner up from last year’s hit BBC show took his apron and Swedish apple cake recipe to our residential, nursing and dementia home as he popped in to cook with baking enthusiast, John on Wednesday.

The visit was arranged by management at Kew House as part of Hallmark Care Homes’ annual Christmas wish-granting competition called Lucky Star.

John who delivers weekly cooking demonstrations to fellow residents at the home, requested to a have a baking lesson from a top chef last December.

He said: “I had a wonderful day, I am so happy that I have been able to learn things from Andrew and I would like to thank the management here at Kew House for making this happen.

“I have been enthusiastic about baking ever since I came into the home and the management have been really good at encouraging me to practice. I now even have my own weekly baking class!

“Andrew was a wonderful teacher and I have learnt a number of things, like how to make homemade custard, and I cannot wait until I can show my family what I have learnt.”

Great British Bake Off finalist Andrew Smyth, 25 said: “It was an absolute pleasure to surprise John at Kew House for a baking lesson. He was hilarious and a real gentleman!

“We had great fun making a Swedish apple cake with homemade custard. Hopefully he’s picked up a few hints and tips and I’m sure he’ll continue to delight friends and family with his baking exploits.”

Customer Relationship Manager at Kew House, Jane Knight said: “I am so happy that Andrew came into Kew House to fulfil John’s Christmas wish!

“Andrew and John worked so well together and they instantly had a great relationship, which made the baking lesson so much more special. I would like to extend my thanks to Andrew for coming into the home and creating this lasting memory for John.

“John is such a kind and inspirational gentleman and I am thrilled that we can give back to him some of the joy he brings us on a daily basis.”

Watch a video of the pair baking together below!


To make Andrew’s delicious Swedish apple cake at home you will need the following!


For the cake

3 large eggs

150g golden caster sugar

250g plain flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

150g slightly salted butter

240ml water

2 bramley apples

20g unsalted butter (for brushing)

3 tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp ground sweet cinnamon


For the vanilla custard

290ml single cream

3 large egg yolks

30g caster sugar

½ dessert spoonful cornflour

1 tsp vanilla bean paste


 Kit List

10” diameter loose-bottomed cake tin

Digital Scales

Parchment paper


Chopping board

Paring knife

Vegetable peeler

Kitchen paper

3 Small mixing bowls

Electric hand whisk

2 Large mixing bowls

Hob (for melting butter for the cake and for the custard)

Silicone spatula


Pastry brush

Measuring spoons

Skewer / Cake tester

Large cooling rack

3 piping bags and a large baking sheet

Medium saucepan

Balloon whisk

Cake slice



  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160 C. Grease and line a 10” diameter loose-bottomed cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and core the apples and chop into small bitesize chunks. Set aside in a bowl and cover with some damp kitchen paper to slow the browning.
  3. Use an electric hand whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until thick and ribbony, around 5 minutes. Meanwhile melt the butter and water together in a bowl, either on a hob on low heat or in the microwave.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg & sugar mix and fold gently to combine. Add the melted butter and water and whisk briefly until fully incorporated, it should be a wet mix.
  5. Pour into the lined cake tin and scatter over the chopped apples. Melt a little extra butter and brush over the apples. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together then distribute over the top of the cake. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Whilst the cake is cooking, make the custard. Heat the single cream on a hob until it starts to steam. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla bean paste. Gradually add the hot cream whilst whisking constantly until it’s all added. Pour the whole mix back into the pan on a medium heat and keep stirring until thickened.
  7. Slice the cake whilst still warm and serve with lashings of custard!


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