Guest chef

Jo Wheatley

Jo baked her way into our hearts by winning The Great British Bake Off in 2011. Her cookbooks, Home Baking and A Passion for Baking, are full of easy cakes and impressive desserts to share with friends and family.

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Pimm’s cup traybake

  • Makes 24 squares
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Total time 1 hr 40 mins, plus cooling
3.4/5 rating (93 votes)
Pimm’s cup traybake
Pimm’s cup traybake

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 3. Grease and line a 18cm x 28cm rectangular tin with baking paper.
  • 2Tip all of the cake ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level with a palette knife.
  • 3Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until well risen, golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • 4Meanwhile, make the Pimm's syrup. Put the Pimm's and caster sugar in a small pan over a low heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes until syrupy and reduced by half, then pour the syrup into a small measuring jug.
  • 5Using a skewer, poke holes all over the warm cake, then pour 100ml of the syrup over and leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack. Set aside the remaining syrup.
  • 6Now make the buttercream. Place the egg whites and caster sugar into a large, heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water – ensuring the water doesn't touch the bowl. Using an electric whisk, whisk until the sugar dissolves in the egg whites. Test by rubbing some of the mixture between your thumb and index finger – you shouldn't be able to feel any sugar granules, and it should feel warm. Take the bowl off the pan and continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes on high speed. The bowl should be cool to touch at the end of this. Ensure the bowl is cool enough for the butter not to melt when you start adding it to the meringue.
  • 7Reduce the speed to medium and start adding the butter, one piece at a time, allowing each cube to be incorporated before adding the next. After half the butter has been added, the mixture may look curdled. But keep adding the butter and the buttercream will come together. This will take around 4-5 minutes. Continue to whisk until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Then add the Pimm's and chopped mint to taste.
  • 8Cover the top of the cold cake with the prepared buttercream. Toss the oranges, strawberries and cucumber with the remaining Pimm's syrup and sprinkle over the top of the cake with the extra mint leaves just before serving.
  • Warning: This recipe contains partially cooked eggs.

    Recipe photograph by Maja Smend

Get ahead

Make up to the end of step 5 up to a day ahead. Store in an airtight container.

You will need

  • 325g soft unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 medium egg yolks (reserve the whites for the buttercream topping)
  • zest of 2 large oranges (use the oranges for topping)
  • 150g dried apricots, chopped

For the Pimm’s syrup

  • 300ml Pimm’s
  • 100g caster sugar

For the buttercream

  • 2 medium egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp Pimm’s
  • a few mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • 2 large oranges, peeled, pith and seeds removed, diced
  • 300g strawberries, chopped
  • 2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and diced (optional)

+ Nutritional Information