Hello! I’m back with the ‘F’ of my A to Z of Baking challenge, and after attempting thw following recipe I discovered that I could think of many words beginning with ‘f’ to sum up this week’s concoction, not many of which are positive words!
A little bit of a disclaimer…
Before I get into telling you about my escapades with the letter ‘f’, I must firstly apologise for my absence last week on the baking front and explain the reasons why. When I first undertook this A to Z of Baking challenge a few weeks ago, I pledged to bake a new recipe each week. Six weeks in, I realised that this timescale was a little ambitious and a little too demanding on both my time and my purse (I tell you, the next batch of Tesco Clubcard discount vouchers are going to be for nothing but icing sugar, unsalted butter and cocoa powder!). I wanted to take on the challenge to expand my baking repertoire, improve my confidence with baking and improve my presentation skills. When I’m rushing to fit baking into my week, it defeats the object altogether. Plus, there is only so much cake I can palm off on my family, friends and colleagues and doing so week on week has been leaving people looking a bit green around the gills, me included!
So, with this in mind, I have had to re-think my timescales and I have instead decided to cut my baking back to once every two weeks. I really appreciate all the support I have had so far on the blog with regard to my baking challenge and do hope you will continue to stick with me on this sugar-soaked journey.
Anyway, back to the baking! I found a lovely looking recipe in one of my books for fondant fancies at the beginning of the challenge and thought that it would be a good test of my developing skills. What a test indeed…
All was going well with the baking of the cake. It was when I came to load it with buttercream and ice the bugger that the test really began. Although I spent time carefully cutting the cake in half horizontally as instructed, it still ended up lopsided with one half clearly thicker than the other (any tips on how to cut better and more evenly gratefully received!). Then, the recipe called for the icing to be drizzled over the top of the fancies, but when they made fancies on Great British Bake Off, they dunked them in the icing so I was skeptical that this approach would work but I equally didn’t ‘fancy’ (geddit?!) trying to dunk the squidgy, messy things in icing!
So, I drizzled away and was left with the rather embarrassing cakes as shown in the pic above, along with a whole load of gloopy icing, buttercream and jam to scrub off my wire rack and chopping board. All in all, not a successful experience and one I won’t be repeating. Don’t worry Mr Kipling, your job is safe! 😉
Although the cakes look dire, they are actually very tasty. They’re very sweet so are best served straight from the fridge so that they hold together better and don’t taste quite as sickly as they would do if they were warm.
Whilst the cakes may taste very nice, they certainly don’t look it so if anyone other than my boyfriend is to try one of these creations, it will most certainly be served with a very apologetic disclaimer from myself.
The recipe I followed…
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 175g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of raspberry jam
For the buttercream
- 75g unsalted butter
- 150g icing sugar
For the icing
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 450g icing sugar
- 1 to 2 drops natural pink food colouring
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F/Gas 5). Grease the cake tin (I used a 9″ round tin). Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Set aside.
Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla extract in another large bowl. Add about 1/4 of the egg mixture and one tablespoon of the flour to the butter mixture and beat well, then add the rest of the egg, a little at a time, beating as you go. Sift over the rest of the flour, add the milk, and fold in with a metal spoon.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool upside down on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter with the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
Slice the cake horizontally and spread the jam on one half and the buttercream on the other. Sandwich together, then cut into 16 equal squares.
To make the icing, put the lemon juice in a measuring jug and fill it up to 60ml with hot water. Mix this with the icing sugar, stirring continuously and adding more hot water as required until the mixture is smooth. Add 1 to 2 drops of pink food colouring (I used paste) and stir well.
Use a palette knife to transfer the cakes to a wire rack placed over a board or plate to catch the drips, then drizzle the icing over the cakes completely, or just cover the tops of the cakes and allow the icing to drip down the sides so the sponge layers are visible.
Decorate as you please and leave to set for about 15 minutes.