I've always been fascinated by different kinds of cakes. And I really envy them who succeed in making that perfect rich and moist cake everytime, and those too, who make that perfect icing which always has that perfect ratio of all the ingredients. Well, I am not one of those God-like super human beings! Almost all my cakes get ruined one way or the other. Either they get a bit charred, or a bit bitter than usual, or the whole thing collapses while i struggle to get them out of the baking tin! And my fate doesn't get any better with the icings either...
My daughter loves cakes, as would any child of her age. So I decided to make a simple Vanilla Sponge Cake with cream icing for her a a special Valentine's Day treat. It gave me a chance to open my new butterfly cake/jelly mould too which i bought from the poundshop a few weeks ago. Ater an hour of undiverted dedication i finally achieved what a normal(not one of those God-like super humans) person could call a ''Good Cake''! I tried my hand on this cream icing for the first time too, inspired by my friend and a great cook Shobhna. So here's a glimse of the end product after an hour of complete self torture(ignoring toddler tantrums, stress of using a jelly mould instead of a normal tin and above all THE superhuman like perfect icing!)...
Classic Victorian Spongecake with Cream Icing
What U need :
For the Cake :
Self-raising flour - 200gm
Golden caster suga/Granulated normal sugar - 200gm
Softened unsalted butter - 200gm
Baking powder - 1tsp
Eggs - 2-3 medium
Vanilla flavouring - a few drops
For the Icing :
Whipping cream - 200ml
Icing Sugar - as per taste
Vanilla Flavour - a few drops
Get your apron and get ready :
Heat the oven to 200C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and base line a big cake tin or you can use fun shapes like I did. Beat the butter and eggs together in a large bowl until stiff. Gently fold in the flour and beat until smooth. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are well risen and spring back when lightly pressed(best way to check is to insert a scewer). Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack/plate and peel away the paper. Cool completely.
I normally follow the next few steps from Betty Crocker's Howdini website - http://www.howdini.com/. This website has excellent tips for baking and icing!
1. Put the cake in the freezer straight away after it has cooled down a bit. Keep it in the freezer for 10 mins which helps it to set really well. Making it a bit firm in the freezer allows you to cut it horizontally if you want to sandwich it. It also helps you to do the next step which is essential for good levelled icing.
2. Using a bread knife gently slice off the top risen part of the cake so that there is no awkward bulges on the cake. As I've mentioned earlier, this helps in an even nice icing.
3. In the mean time prepare the icing. Take the cream in a bowl with the few drops of vanilla extract and start whipping it with an electric hand mixer. Quickly add the icing sugar and keep whipping till it's stiff and peaks rise. (Add the sugar as per your taste).
4. Now you can start icing either facing it down with the sliced off portion at the bottom or the same on the top. I did it faced down.
5. Place 3 strips of grease proof paper under the sides of the cake so that the icing looks neat and doesn't spread on the plate.
6. Start icing with a spatula. Cover the whole cake with the icing and decorate with coloured icing tubes(you can make them at home by adding different food colours to the left over icing. Decorate with beads/jelly beans/ smarties etc.
The steps might look scary but I assure you it's not as scary as you think. And it doesn't take much time too, as I've said earlier it took me about an hour to to the whole thing. And believe me if I can bake and decorate a decent cake, ANYBODY can. :)