Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Vanilla Sponge Cake

For the Sponge
6oz caster sugar
6oz unsalted butter, softened
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
6oz SR flour
1tsp baking powder

For the Filling and Topping
Unsalted butter, softened
Icing sugar
Vanilla Extract

1.  Preheat oven to 160'C fan.
2.  Grease and flour sides of two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases.
3.  Mix together the flour and baking powder.
4.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract (I use an electric hand-held whisk) until light and creamy.
5.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.  To prevent the mixture from splitting add a spoonful of the flour as necessary.
6.  Add the remaining flour and beat well.
7.  Divide equally between the two tins and level.
8.  Bake in centre of oven for approximately 18-20 minutes, until risen and lightly golden.  When cooked the sponge should spring back when lightly touched.
9.  Leave to cool in tins for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack.
10.  Once completely cool, beat together the butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar for the filling and/or topping.  I haven't given quantities for this as I never measure out my butter-cream.  Traditionally it is roughly half butter to icing sugar, but I prefer less butter and I often add a splash of milk.
11.  Smooth a layer of butter-cream onto one of the sponges.  Spread jam over the butter-cream and top with the other sponge.  Decorate top as you wish.
For special occasions I make a larger sponge base by adding another 2oz of butter, sugar and flour and an extra egg to the above ingredients.
The mixture can then be divided into three
or four layers.
To colour sponge, divide mixture equally into 3 or 4 basins and add food colouring.
I only have two sandwich tins, so I bake the mixture in batches. 
If making four layers the sponges are slightly thinner and may take slightly less time to bake.
Top can be dusted with icing sugar and sprinkles.  I think a little edible glitter looks good for special occasions.  Of course the sponge doesn't have to be flavoured with vanilla; I have also used lemon, orange and almond extract.  Also some of the flour can be replaced with cocoa powder.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Gingerbread Cake

225g SR flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tbsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground mixed spice
115g unsalted butter, cubed
115g dark muscovado sugar
115g black treacle
115g golden syrup
200ml milk
1 medium egg
1tsp icing sugar (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 150'C fan and grease and line a 20cm round, deep cake tin.
2.  Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
3.  In a large saucepan heat together the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat.
3.  Beat the egg into the milk (whole or semi-skimmed) and stir into the liquid mixture.
4.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
5.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 50-55 minutes, use a skewer to test if cooked (it should be clean when removed from centre of cake).
6.  Leave to cool completely in tin.  Can be dusted with icing sugar using a sieve.