npower’s Macmillan Coffee Morning 2016

This year we’re supporting Macmillan Cancer Support’s Coffee Morning to raise vital funds for people affected by cancer.

Over 1 in 3 people diagnosed with cancer in the last two years say they feel the cold more [i], so Npower and Macmillan are working together to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry. This year we’re challenging you to make a bobble hat cake. It can be any colour, size or shape you like – as long as it’s a bobble hat!

We’ve teamed up with Martha Collison, the youngest ever contestant and quarter finalist on The Great British Bake Off, to create a chocolate and lime bobble hat cake – the perfect treat for a Coffee Morning! Martha will also be visiting npower sites across the country to judge our employees’ bobble cake efforts.

Martha Collison’s Exclusive Chocolate and Lime Bobble Hat Cake:

“Chocolate cake absolutely has to be two things: dark and moist. To make sure it is sticky and dense I use buttermilk. This might seem a curious ingredient to include, but it is completely necessary to guarantee a moist and tender crumb. Essentially cultured sour milk (not the same thing as soured, spoiled milk that has gone off), its acidity reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to give this cake its rise. If you can’t find buttermilk, use milk mixed with a little lemon juice as described in the recipe: the juice will make the milk curdle, but don’t worry about this.

Adding coffee to chocolate cakes really brings out the flavour in the cocoa, but if you don’t like coffee or are baking for children, you can use boiling water instead.”

butter, for greasing
125g plain flour
225g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
125ml buttermilk (cultured), or
110ml milk plus ½ tbsp lemon juice
60g butter, melted
1 large egg
125ml brewed coffee (or water)
Zest of one lime

For the decoration:
200g vanilla buttercream
550g fondant icing
Food colouring, colour of your choosing!

  1. You will need a pyrex (or other oven-proof) pudding bowl. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 then thoroughly grease the bowl with butter. Put the plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. If you don’t have buttermilk, pour the milk into a large jug and add the lemon juice. Leave to stand for five minutes until thickened.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk/acidified milk with the melted butter and egg, followed by the coffee or water, and the lime zest.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. Pour this carefully into the prepared bowl (it will be very runny).
  5. Bake for 50 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the bowl for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
  6. While your cake is cooling down, break up 500g of the fondant into a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add a small amount of food colouring and knead until the mixture is one uniform colour. You can also do this by hand, using your hands to knead.
  7. When the cake is cooled, cover the outside with a thin layer of buttercream and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  8. Roll out your coloured fondant icing using a rolling pin and then place over the top of the chilled cake. Smooth the edges using your hands or a cake smoother. Trim away the excess icing and roll into a long sausage shape. Flatten the sausage using a rolling pin and then trim off any rough edges before using water to stick to the bottom of the cake, making a rim for the hat. Use a toothpick to create a knitted pattern up the side and rim of the hat.
  9. Using the saved 50g of white fondant icing, mould it into a round ball and use a toothpick to ruffle the edges to create the bobble. Stick a toothpick into the top of the cake and balance the bobble on top. You can also make other shapes like flowers and stars to apply to the sides of the cake.
  10. This recipe is taken from TWIST: Creative Ideas to Reinvent your Baking (HarperCollins), and given an exclusive *twist* for Macmillan’s Coffee Morning, 30th September 2016.

How you can get involved:

Fancy having a go at recreating Martha’s cake (or your own bobble hat creation)? Tweet us your photos over at @npowerHQ using the hashtag #coffeemorning. To hold your own Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning on 30th September, visit for your free Coffee Morning kit.

Supporting Macmillan

Find out more about our 12 year partnership with Macmillan, helping those living with cancer keep warm without the worry.

[i] Source: Macmillan/YouGov online survey of 1,266 adults aged 18 and over in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork conducted between 22nd December 2015 and 5th January. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the living with cancer population. Results in this report are based on the 503 respondents were diagnosed within the last two years.