Tag Archives: cake

Victoria sandwich – the all-in-one method

It is my Mum’s birthday, which of course means a cake. My choice would, of course, be chocolate, but it wouldn’t be my mum’s so a Victoria sandwich fits the bill nicely.

This one is very easy and quick to make. You can have the cake in the oven in minutes.

I have taken the advice of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Fizz Carr in their excellent Family Cookbook and weighed the eggs in their shell and then used the same weight of butter, sugar and flour. I have not followed their creaming method though which calls for the butter and sugar to be beaten first and then the eggs incorporated and then the flour folded in.  Instead, I have used the all-in-one method as used by Mary Berry in her The Aga Book. For the all-in-one method to be a success it is crucial that the butter is soft, so you must remember to bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to make the cake. It is also important to add a teaspoon of baking powder to the self-raising flour as you won’t be beating in as much air with this method.

It is delicious with raspberry jam and softly whipped cream but you could sandwich it just with the jam of your choice or lemon curd or even a buttercream.

4 eggs – weigh them in their shells and then use the same weight for the sugar, flour and butter.  (My four eggs from my lovely hens weighed exactly 200 grams so I used 200g butter, 200g sugar and 200g of self-raising flour for the cake above).
soft butter
caster sugar
self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
a splash of milk

The jam of your choice
150ml double cream, softly whipped
1 tsp icing sugar to dust the top of the cake

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°c (gas mark 4).  Grease 2 sandwich tins with a smear of butter and line the bases with greaseproof paper.

Put the butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and sieve the flour and baking powder in. Add the vanilla extract and a splash of milk.  Using an electric whisk on medium speed whisk the mixture until all combined.  Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread evenly.

Place in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes until golden and springs back when touched lightly.

Turn out onto a cake rack and allow to cool completely.

Spread one of the cakes with the jam and then the cream (or the filling of your choice) and then place the other half of the cake on top.  Dust lightly with icing sugar.

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Chocolate and coffee cake

It was my husband’s birthday yesterday and the girls wanted to make him a cat themed birthday cake.  They are both a bit obsessed with cats it has to be said.  So this is it.  The cake is Nigel Slater’s Chocolate Espresso Cake (from Real Food), which always works wonderfully and is popular with everyone who tries it. It is rich and fudgy and very moreish.  The cat is a whipped ganache and complements the cake very well.

For the cake:

180g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp espresso (very strong coffee)
140g butter, cut into small pieces
5 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
90g plain flour

Topping:
100ml double cream
50g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into small pieces

Method for the cake

You will need a 20cm springform tin, lined with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water.  Be careful that the steam does not make contact with the chocolate and make sure the water doesn’t boil.  Too much heat will seize the chocolate. When the chocolate begins to melt add the warm espresso and leave to continue to melt.  Add the diced butter, (the smaller the better), and stir gently until it is all melted and combined.

Whilst this is happening beat the 5 egg whites in a very clean bowl until stiff and then fold the sugar in as gently as possible.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the 5 egg yolks, then slowly fold this into the egg whites, trying to be as careful as possible to retain as much air as you can.

Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder together into the mixture and fold in until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180° c (gas mark 4) for about 30 minutes, until it is springy to the touch.  Leave it in the tin to cool completely.  It can be served like this, dusted with cocoa powder.  It is lovely with double cream poured over it. However if you want to recreate the topping read on.

For the topping, beat the cream until it’s aerated but still soft, (adding the chocolate will thicken it up quite a bit so you don’t want it to be thick at this stage). Melt the chocolate gently over a pan of barely simmering water.  Add the chocolate to the cream and stir to combine. Spread onto the cake and if you want it to look like  a cat then use jelly tots and spaghetti to decorate.

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Chocolate cake – gluten free

choc cake

My sister is gluten intolerant so whenever she is coming to our house we try to bear this in mind.  She was expected at the party at the weekend and as there were other chocolate cakes available I thought it only fair to prepare one that she could eat.  The chocolate cake is one of Nigella’s recipes and is absolutely delicious.  I bought her Feast book (2006, Chatto & Windus) after my very good friend Annalin served us Nigella’s Espresso Martinis at a gathering at her house last Christmas. The martinis are unbelievably good.  However, I don’t think the martini recipe is in Feast after all, but there is a whole chapter called the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame which has more than made up for that disappointment. The chocolate cake below is Nigella’s Chocolate Orange Cake, which is moist, orangey and gorgeous.  I topped it with some cupcake frosting that I had left over after making Peggy Porschen’s cupcakes from the October 2009 edition of the Sainsbury’s magazine. The combination of cake and frosting is very good and as a result of my sister forgetting about the party I had the terrible situation where I was left with cake to finish up…

For the chocolate cake:
2 oranges, weighing about 375g in total
200g ground almonds
250g golden caster sugar
50g good quality cocoa
1 heaped tsp baking powder (make sure this is gluten free!)
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 eggs
Method
You will need a 20 cm cake tin, buttered and lined.
If you can plan ahead then it is wise to start this the day before you want to make the cake as you need to place the oranges in a pan, cover with water and bring to a simmer and then simmer for two hours until soft.  You then need time for the oranges to cool.

Once the oranges are cool, cut in half and remove any pips.  Place the oranges in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Don’t overdo as it is nice to find little chunks of orange in the cake and you are going to be using the blade with the rest of the ingredients. Add all of the remaining ingredients and pulse again until just combined.

Scrape this into the cake tin and level the surface. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, gas mark 4) for 45 mins – 1 hour until it’s springy to the touch and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Leave it to cool completely in the tin.  You could leave it undecorated and it will last for days, but I have to say with the chocolate frosting it is even more of a winner.

finished choc cake