It’s my party and I’ll eat cake if I want to.

After spending the day with some close friends at Leysdown-on-sea yesterday I got thinking about all the other occasions that we’ve had get togethers and in all of them we usually have cake of some kind.
So, today’s blog is all about cake. Again. This time, shaped cakes.

Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time watching Ace of Cakes and I mean, a lot of time. I’ve always enjoyed baking and since I found the Hairy Bakers Victoria sponge recipe I haven’t used another. The recipe is really simple. Depending on how large you want the cake depends on how many eggs you use as this gives the weight for the rest of the ingredients.

Ingredients (for a 9″ circular tin)
3 eggs (weigh these with shells on to get the weight of the flour, sugar and butter)
Butter (I use stork SB margarine)
Caster sugar
Self raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method
1. Set the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2.Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until soft, using a wooden spoon.
3. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and then beat with the vanilla essence using a fork until the yolk, white and essence are combined.
4. Alternately sift in the flour and pour in the egg, but use a metal spoon to combine the ingredients.
5. Turn the oven to 180 degrees celsius and pour the mixture into 2 cake tins and bake for 20+ minutes, checking after 20 and cooking until a skewer comes out clean and the top is a golden brown colour.
6. When cooled spread jam and butter cream or whipped cream to ‘stick’ the two layers together and then dust with icing sugar.

A really basic recipe that I hope I haven’t missed anything from. The metal spoon and changing of the oven temperature have always produced really successful cakes so I haven’t changed it since discovering these two ‘tricks’.

The fun bit comes once you’ve made the cake and it’s cooled. Below are some of the designs I’ve produced for friends. None are perfect but they have all been received with amazement. For these cakes I’ve always used a large rectangular tin and used around 6 eggs.

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The Stitch cake took the longest at 7 hours including baking time. I was covered in blue and pink icing for days after but it was well worth the effort! My aim for next summer is definitely to attend some cake decorating classes to try to perfect the icing as my technique isn’t quite there yet. I’m being given a new cake making challenge soon, to produce a cake to a design but without icing… I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to meet this challenge yet, so eyes peeled in September for the results!

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