How to Make The Simplest of Cakes
I am always taken aback by how impressed some people are that I can actually bake at all, as though it is some sort of terrific achievement – it is not. Baking is simply a matter of ingredients and order. By ingredients I mean real ingredients, not sachets and jugs of water – boxed cake mixes offend me! lol
I have baked since I was a child and so it’s become almost second nature to me. In recent years I have become more serious about honing my skills, experimenting with recipes from all over the place including some of my own inventions.
I implore all you baking virgins to have a go! If your cakes don’t look right they will still taste nice and if you have a complete disaster…well then it’s only flour and eggs!
Here is the simplest of all cake recipes, the one on which all other recipes are loosely based, as taught to me by my Mother a very long time ago (which is my excuse for why it is in ounces).
This mix makes around 10 small Fairycakes or 1 half of a Victoria sponge cake.
2 medium eggs (room temperature)
4oz caster sugar
4oz baking margarine (we use Stork)
4oz self raising flour
Vanilla essence (not flavouring – yuk!)
* The basic premise of this recipe is that for every egg you use, you use 2 oz of every other ingredient. This formula can be used to make as many cakes as you need*
- Pre-heat your oven to Gas mark 3 / 160
- Either grease your large tin (coat with a fine layer of margarine) or put cake cases in a fairycake tray
- Combine the margarine and sugar and beat until the mixture becomes slightly paler
- Add around a teaspoon of vanilla essence
- Whisk in the eggs quickly. if the mixture starts to separate – whisk harder!
- Seive the flour over the mixture.
- Using a metal spoon, very slowly fold the flour into the mixture. the easiest way is to stir using a figure of eight movement.
- Once all of the flour is combined do what Mrs Beale, my lovely Food Technology teacher used to call a ‘plop test’.
- Hold a spoon full of the cake mix around 30 cm over the bowl and let the mix fall off. It should be of a consistency that falls off easily and makes a ‘plop’ sound.
- If the mixture is too thick add a little milk (very little!), stir and try again. If it is too runny, add a tiny amount of flour.
- Spoon the mixture into the cases or tin immediately. When cake mixture is allowed to sit before use, the end product is not as nice 🙁
- If making fairy cakes, take care to ensure that you put an equal amount of mixture in each case, otherwise the cakes will cook at different speeds and try hard not to get any mixture on the edges of the cases as this will burn and look nasty.
- Bake your offerings on the middle shelf.
- Fairy cakes need to bake for around 15 mins until golden brown, larger sponge cake for a little longer.