Make your Earth Hour last all year

Posted by Neil Harrison on 19th March 2017

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour, which falls at 8.30pm on 25th March, Ian Cumming, well-known TV baker and travel photographer, has pledged to make his Earth Hour last all year. He’s come up with some easy, try-at-home resolutions to encourage others to do the same, using feedback from his smart meter as inspiration, and also developed a new energy saving recipe with the help of his smart meter.

From being innovative with natural heat sources, to using his smart meter to help reduce energy waste, Ian’s Earth Hour resolutions show that getting smart about climate change starts with small, thoughtful changes at home.

Earth Hour is the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change, and an inspiring reminder for people to take action on reducing their own carbon footprint.

Asking your energy supplier to upgrade you to a smart meter is an easy step. Smart meters show you how much gas and electricity you’re using in pounds and pence, giving you the information you need to make positive changes and reduce energy waste at home.

Ian’s resolutions for making Earth Hour last all year are:

  1. Be wise about warmth. I’m going to be more resourceful with heat this year – leaving the oven open as it cools, melting butter and defrosting bread in natural sunlight or on top of a radiator, and making use of steam generated from cooking.
  2. Cook smarter. This year I’m focusing on integrating lots of small energy saving tricks I’ve discovered with my smart meter, such as cooking pasta in pre-boiled water with the heat switched off, using pans with a bigger surface area, cooking whole meals in my slow cooker, and whipping up cakes and bakes in the microwave.
  3. Mind your miles. I’m a travel photographer so it’s important I plan trips carefully to minimise air miles, and I use my bike or my own two feet as much as I can.
  4. Reduce waste. I think small habitual changes are most impactful, so I’m trying to knock a minute or two off my shower time, avoid leaving things on standby, update to LED light bulbs as the old ones run out, and use an electric blanket in the bedroom instead of a fan heater.
  5. Be resourceful. Creativity is key when it comes to making positive changes, and enjoying the great outdoors is a good place to start. This year I’m going to experiment with some outdoor cooking methods, as well as continuing to dry clothes outside and growing my own vegetables when I can.

Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB, said: “Ian’s resolutions for Earth Hour are really imaginative and I’m thrilled that his smart meter has helped to inspire and inform him along the way. I’ll definitely be trying the energy saving mojito cake at home.

“More than eight in ten people with smart meters have taken steps to reduce energy use, so Earth Hour is a great opportunity to contact your supplier about arranging your upgrade.

“Smart meters lay the foundation for smarter energy grids, as well as being a unique platform for innovation across the industry. Embracing digital technology means we can all look towards a cleaner, greener Great Britain, with an efficient and intelligent energy system, and a reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Ian’s energy saving mojito cake 

To enjoy during Earth Hour itself, Ian has developed a green-themed mojito microwave cake, which is the latest mouth-watering treat in his ongoing series of energy saving recipes.

The cake has an energy cost of 2p, and takes just two minutes to make in the microwave.

Ian has used his smart meter to help him accurately test which cooking methods and techniques use the least energy and to give every one of his energy saving recipes its own energy cost.


For the cakes
60g self-raising flour
80g caster sugar
30g ground almonds
70ml veg or sunflower oil
1 egg
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes (keeping 2tbsp to one side)
2 tbsp rum

For the lime drizzle topping 
30g Demerara sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime

For the mint cream to serve
75ml double cream
10g caster sugar
3 tsp finely chopped mint
2 tsp rum (optional)
Sprigs of fresh mint to serve  

1. Combine the self-raising flour, caster sugar and ground almonds in a bowl.Then add the rum with the lime juice and zest.
2. Beat in the oil and the egg until you have a smooth batter.
3. Divide the mixture into two portions (approx. 160g) and pour into deep mugs, or wide coffee cups.
4. Cook each cake separately in an 800Watt microwave, on high power, for 2 mins. Adjust the time according to the power of your microwave.
5. Meanwhile, mix the Demerara sugar with the remaining lime juice and zest to make a drizzle topping.
6. As soon as each cake is cooked, spike it a few times with a skewer and evenly pour over half the lime drizzle.
7. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
8. Combine the double cream, caster sugar and chopped mint with the optional rum for an extra kick. Whisk until just going stiff.
9. Serve the cakes with a dollop of mint cream and a sprig of fresh mint.