Sponge Cake – Basic pound cake with a delicious buttery flavour

sponge cake

We all know that in everything we do, the first few steps matter a lot.  If our first step  goes exactly as planned, it will boost our confidence, which in turn catapult us to be a bit more adventurous.

This  wonderfully-buttery cake with outer golden crust, is the  first cake that every aspiring cake-maker must get right, as it  gives a clear insight into all the baking techniques.

Master the art of making this simple but heavenly sponge cake and you will be baking most glorious varieties of cakes in no time!

All the tips and techniques are given, wrapped with love,  in this recipe so nothing can go wrong.

Happy baking !

You will need the following items:

Self Raising flour 250 g
Margerine or Butter under room tempreture 250 g
Caster sugar 250 g
Eggs under room temp 4
Milk 1/4 cup
Lemon juice and Vanilla essence 1  tsp each
Salt 2 pinches
Baking powder 1 tsp

Let’s make it: Set the oven to 180 C .

Oven temperature conversion:

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/oven-temperature-conversion/

Cream it

  • Cream butter and sugar together until creamy,  using an electric hand mixer.  Go clockwise.  (Time : 5 mins)
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Make sure you beat  after each addition. (Time :  Beat 15 seconds after each egg)
  • Add vanilla essence,  lemon juice, salt and finally, cream all together (Time : 1 min) 
  • Mix baking powder to flour and sieve onto the cake batter, holding the sieve well above it, allowing the air to escape.
  •  Fold the flour gently with a wooden spoon until everything turns into a creamy batter. Do not use the electric mixer at this point.
  • Add milk and mix well.

Tray it

  • Line up a baking tray with parchment paper and spoon the batter into the baking tray and flatten with a spatula.
  • Lift up the tray and drop it twice onto your kitchen-top gently, allowing the batter to spread and settle evenly on the try.

Oven it

  • Pop it in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 mins or the top turns golden yellow (Never open the oven door in the first 10 mins)

Check it

  • After 20 mins, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes clean,  your cake is ready.
  • Take it out from the oven and let it rest for 10 mins.
  • Slowly remove from the tray and place it on a cooling rack.

Taste it

  • Dip a knife in hot water, wipe clean and cut the cake into dainty squares
  • Enjoy the lovely spongy texture wrapped with the buttery sweetness

Other easy delicious cakes :

Vanilla cupcakes

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/plain-vanilla-cupcakes-supersoft-delicious-cupcakes-ever/

Chocolate cupcakes

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/chocolate-cupcakes-pretty-chocolate-cupcakes-to-brighten-up-your-party/

Chocolate cake with butter icing

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/chocolate-cake-with-butter-icing/

 

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Cake tips, Equipment and Techniques

cupcake cases  cupcake cases- silicon 419IsK3Gc1L__SX355_ cup cake tray cake tin620078salter-60-minute-clockwork-timer233692337   flour   stork

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  • Use the right equipment : To cream up the cake batter, use an electric hand mixer for best results.  Traditionally, a wooden spoon was used, but now, this machine does a quicker and easier job.
  • Measure ingredients accurately :  For a beautiful cake, all ingredients should be measured with 100% accuracy as specified in the recipe.  The best equipment to facilitate this particular need is a digital scale rather than a normal kitchen scale.  For a volume of 1Kg cake, for instance,  you need, 250 g butter, 250 g sugar, 250 g Self-raising flour and 4 eggs.
  • Use the best ingredients :  Using good brands for your cake is very important for the best results.  The brands that I have been using for the past 15 years are shown above.  All ingredients should be kept at room temperature, before making the cake batter.
  • Mixing the cake : Make sure you beat the batter, clockwise with your electric hand mixer in order to get the right consistency – never side to side or counter clockwise.  Mixing will take for about 3 – 5 mins at high speed.
  • Eggs :   Make sure you use Class A medium eggs that are kept at room temperature.  Take out from the fridge 1/2 hour early or if you are in a hurry, drop them in a bowl filled with lukewarm water for 10 mins. 
  • Butter : I personally do not prefer using butter, as the cake goes stiff after  a few hours in cold climates.  Before using, however, you need to soften up the butter, which gives you an extra task to attend to.  There are very good spreads available in supermarkets, especially made for baking purposes, which are naturally creamy and stay creamy in the fridge too. I use Stork, especially for cakes tub, which has never let me down; it rather helped me bake such glorious cakes.
  • Sieve the flour :  Use self-raising flour for cakes, unless suggested otherwise in the recipe. For some cakes, a blend of both self-raising and plain flour are used.   Swift the flour and baking powder together,  holding the sieve, well above the cake batter.  This will allow the air to escape from the flour, giving a very light, soft texture to your cake.  Make sure you use a wooden spoon to co-ordinate flour and batter together, never the electric hand mixer.  Lightly, fold flour bringing from the sides and dropping to the middle and going around gently until all comes together as soft batter.
  • Sugars :  Use Caster sugar, which is  ideal for cakes.  The mixing time will take up to 1-2 mins for caster sugar as it dissolves very  quickly.  However,  you can use granulated sugar, which gives the same results.   The only difference is that you have to extend the mixing time up to 3-4 mins, up until the sugar granules breaks down and dissolves.
  • Baking powder :  Baking powder is a key ingredient,  as it helps the cakes to rise.  Use a good brand and never use too much.  Excessive baking powder will make the cake taste bitter, leave a sunken cake and a wrinkled  surface.
  • Baking tray :   Choose the right size for your cake.  If you have a large tray, you can divide it by using a thick strip of a cardboard to fit for a smaller quantity of batter.  Remember, never to fill the trays to the brim as the cake doubles it’s volume while rising.  So, fill the tray – 2/3  or half.  ( 8″ x 10″ Oblong tray for 1 Kg cake). For cupcakes, use cupcake trays to place the cupcake cases filled with batter so that they do not spill out and stay intact.  Silicon cupcake cases are great for handling and they could be re-used after a quick wash with warm water.
  • Lining the tray : Use parchment paper to line up the tray.  Do not worry if you have run out of parchment paper; you can use  white blank sheet papers, cut into the shape of the tray and brush butter all over,  dust the surfaces with flour and shake off the excess.  
  • Vanilla essence : Use a good brand of natural vanilla essence.
  • Lemon juice      : Dropping just 1tbsp of lemon juice to your cake batter will make a big difference.  It will give a very pleasant aroma  as well as taking the taste to the highest limits.
  • Salt :  Most of the modern recipes do not include salt in theirs.  Yet, salt used as a vital ingredient for baking since Victorian times.  Just a pinch or two salt will help blending the flavours and heightening the taste.
  • Oven : Set the oven to 180 C , 20 mins before you pop the cake in.  Depending on your oven, the self that you place the cake on differs.  It should be either in the middle self or the bottom.  It’s very important to be in tune with your oven. Bake a few small cakes and check the exact place which bakes your cake to perfection.  Do not open the door of the oven in the first 10 mins of baking as it will drop the cake in the middle.  Baking time varies according to the set ups in ovens.  Normal baking time is 15 – 25 mins.
  • Wooden skewers :  Use a thin wooden skewer to insert in the middle of the cake after 15 mins of baking time.  If the skewer comes clean, your cake is ready!!!! If the skewer is damped with a few bits of batter, shut the door and bake for another 5 mins.
  • Cooling :  Leave the cake in the tray for 5 mins to cool off.  If you try to take it out, the cake can break in several places.  Slowly pull from the sides of the parchment paper and take the cake gently out to leave it to rest on a cooling rack for about 10 mins.
  • Cutting the cake :  Dip the knife in hot water, wipe clean before cutting the cake to prevent it from crumbling.
  • Serve the cake  :  Now, serve your cake with a big SMILE !!!     Store the left overs in an air tight container.  When serving next day, microwave the cake pieces on a plate just for 5 seconds and everyone will think  that they came straight from the oven – so soft, nice and warm!!

Continue reading “Cake tips, Equipment and Techniques”

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Cup Cakes – A homemade delightful array of cupcakes for parties

  cupcake-cases-1-247x300 cup c

 These home made cupcakes are a real feast to the eyes and to  taste buds alike.  Kids  love the colours and the spongy taste beneath the icing topping.   Great for parties!

              You will need: cup-cake-tray-300x300cupcake-cases-1-247x300

 Self raising flour 250 g
Butter or Stork spread 250 g
Sugar 250 g
Eggs 4
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
lemon juice 1 tsp
Milk 4 tbsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt 2 pinches
 Paper cupcake cases and a muffin tray

Let’s make them.

  • Set the oven at 180 C/ 350 F / Gas mark 4.
  • Beat sugar and butter together with an electric hand mixer until it gets creamy.
  • Beat eggs – one at a time. Add vanilla and lemon juice.
  • Add salt.  This is a must as salt blends all flavours and gives a balanced taste.
  • Mix flour and baking powder together and sieve into the mixture. Gently fold flour with a wooden spoon; finally add milk and vanilla and fold everything together.
  • Now the batter is ready. Fill batter into cupcake cases, just below the brim and arrange them in a muffin tray.  This will allow the cupcake cases to stand steady without wobbling down.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20 mins; To check, press down the middle with a finger to see whether the it springs back. Do not open the oven door in the first 10 mins or else cakes will flop from the middle.
  • Let the cupcakes rest for 5 mins and arrange them on a wire rack to let them cool completely.

Make the vanilla icing topping now. You will need,

  • Icing sugar- 300 g
  • Butter- 150 g
  • Lemon juice- 1 tsp
  • vanilla- 1 tsp
  • Milk- 1tbsp

Sieve icing sugar in to a bowl and add Stork spread. Beat until it becomes smooth with an electric hand mixer. Then, add some lemon juice. You can divide the icing into separate bowls and add separate colours. Top the cupcakes with coloured icing and spread on thickly with a palette knife  or pipe on a large swirl using a piping bag . Decorate with silver balls,  or sprinkles. See  the beauty that stems from it! IMG_0189-300x192

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