Birthday cake. As promised.

Ok, so let me say it now. Celebration cakes are Not My Thing.

I don’t take pleasure from the precision of baking. It’s a science, not an art. Or maybe a scientific art. I don’t know. What I like (as you by now probably know), is the kind of cooking that requires more imagination than discipline.

But I LOVE this cake. It has never, EVER failed me.

The basic recipe is:

Four eggs. Weigh them (this bit is important). Crack them into a mixing bowl.

Whatever they weigh, add in equal amounts of sugar (I particularly like golden caster sugar), butter and flour (I use Marriage’s organic light brown SR flour). If you have any cornflour to hand, substitute 25g of the flour (it seems to make a lighter sponge), oh, and throw in 1 tsp of baking powder for luck!

Mix well. Add a splash of milk if you feel it is needed (I rarely do). Then you have your base for any cake.

Now essentially this is a Victoria sponge, however, I adapt it in many ways:

– add a few drops of flavouring ie: vanilla / orange / rose – for a lightly flavoured sponge

– add some cocoa powder (around 25g should do, but taste the mixture first and adjust accordingly) – for a chocolate sponge

– add a handful (or more!) of berries – raspberries are particularly good as they kind of explode. Any cooked hard fruit would work as well, or even tinned mandarin segments etc

– add chocolate chunks/ chips

– it is endless

For this cake, however, I used whole strawberries, stalks removed. A small punnet. gently folded into the cake mixture.

This mixture will provide enough batter for an 8″ sandwich (ie one big beast or two 8″ cakes sandwiched, if you see what I mean!)

An oven pre-heated to 180º should suffice, and cook the mixture in greased tins for around 25-35 mins – check whether a skewer comes out clean (when it does, it is ready!) That’s the cake done.

Now for the buttercream. I use double the amount of icing sugar to butter – so if just sandwiching the cake I’d use 75g butter and 150g icing sugar, however, I like to also ice the cake with buttercream as well, so use double that – 150g butter and 300g icing sugar. I also add in a whole punnet of fresh raspberries – thrown into the mixer at the same time as everything else and they are obliterated into a wonderful pink mess of icing and raspberry flavour. Yum.

The joy of icing a cake with this is that it kind of doesn’t matter how bad you are at icing.

And the joy of eating it is not only in enjoying the deliciousness, but also in the knowledge that it is kind of good for you (ok, don’t quote me on that, but it DOES have lots of fruit in it so surely must count towards your five a day?)

ps. don’t judge Mister Tumble! He made Boy O very happy!!

photo (1)

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