During Bake Off season, there is a period of a few weeks in which I bake all the time. I enjoy baking, and do so whenever I can, but never do I find myself so up to my neck in cake than in those few weeks. This year, to kick off baking season, I made my coeliac friend a gluten-free birthday cake.

This was not the first time I have undertaken such a venture (last year, I made a gluten-free Victoria sponge, which I practised for days beforehand, with passion fruit butter icing – it was a hit), but it was the first time I had made a chocolate cake. I used a trusty BBC Good Food recipe, because they haven’t failed me yet, and it had excellent reviews, but in doing this I did not make things easy for myself. I began my mission at ten in the morning, armed with six eggs and absolutely no flour, and finished at five, slightly high strung from the highs and lows of my attempts towards perfection.

Anyone that has ever attempted a gluten-free cake will know they notoriously don’t rise very well (that could be – I don’t know – the lack of gluten, maybe?), and in this particular recipe, all the air you were getting into the cake came from whisked egg whites, which of course made me nervous, having never before whisked egg whites (although the sense of achievement when I held the bowl over my head and they stayed put was one my favourite baking moments). It turned out well, though! In fact I was surprised by how well it rose and was glad to see it didn’t ‘crack and sink’ as I was warned may happen. The slight crumbling that took place when I cut the cake in half was a minor disaster when put into perspective (nothing that plenty of icing, a separate recipe to the one the cake recommends because I felt this one worked better, couldn’t fix), and my only real issue was a slightly close texture in the centre of the cake, but this could be accounted for by my using a cake tin a couple of centimetres too small, so the cake was inevitably denser. So it goes without saying that whenever possible, not just with gluten-free cakes, use the correct size tin. Otherwise, the flavour was good and my friend certainly enjoyed it.

Overall, I preferred using the egg whites and ground almond recipe to last year when I used gluten-free flour, because it did rise much more successfully. If you bake gluten-free cakes regularly and haven’t tried this, I would give it a go, and if you just fancy a change, you could do a lot worse. I hope Bake Off inspires other people to bake themselves happy – Mary Berry would be proud of the effort, and surely that’s enough to motivate anyone.