Well, I did say we would be making Hattie another cake and here it is in all it’s pink and princessy glory! I am absolutely chuffed with it as it is the first ‘proper’ cake I’ve had a hand in. I have to take my hat off to Kate she knows her way around a cake and I have learned a lot from her today.
There is a lot of stuff I needed to buy before I even started – luckily there is a specialist cake decorating shop not far from where I live (especially lucky as I had to make two trips!) where I could pick it all up. Ready to roll icing, the princess decoration, ribbon and a cake board were on the shopping list. First off, of course, I had to make the sponge. We went with a basic Madeira Cake, quantities are for a 7 inch cake tin. I used two sandwich tins and shortened the cooking time which turned out fine but I have since learned that it is easier to shape one large cake and cut it in half where you want it so next time I will be doing that –
- 225g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 4 Medium Eggs
- 3 tbsp Milk
- 300g Self Raising Flour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs with the milk in a separate bowl. Gradually beat the eggs and milk into the creamed mixture, alternating with the flour.
Turn the mixture into a greased and lined tin. Level the surface and bake for 50-60 mins at 160C/Gas 3. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 mins then transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
Once the cakes were done it was time to move onto the filling. We made a (mmm unbelievably scrummy!) buttercream. This is to go inbetween the sponge and also around the outside as a fixer for the icing –
- 150g Unsalted Butter, softened
- 250g Icing Sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp hot water
Beat the butter with a little of the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and the hot water until pale and creamy.
Now it was time to put it all together. First we evened out the shape and size of the cakes, which was tricky.
Then we spread one with buttercream and the other with seedless raspberry jam and – hey presto – sandwiched them together!
Next we covered the whole cake in a thin layer of buttercream, ready for the icing. We used three packs of ready to roll icing, Kate kneaded them all together before rolling using a technique like you would for pastry, rotating the icing a quarter of a turn.
Phew! Once the icing was on the hard bit was over. We smoothed it down with a smoother. I had to buy the smoother today as well as apparently Kate ruined her last one smoothing down a snowman last winter, but that’s another story…
I had loads of bits and bobs in the cupboard (marshmallows, white chocolate stars, silver balls and purple sprinkle topping were all overlooked) and eventually we decided on this pattern of jelly diamonds, which we stuck on with buttercream, to offset the princess. Isn’t she beautiful? I really enjoyed doing this and am going to do it all over again soon for Nelly’s birthday next week. Icing Owls perhaps?
Today my youngest daughter Hattie is four and she requested this family favourite, a lemon sponge, as her cake for the day. It is only her first cake (she is a princess after all!!) there will be another, fancier cake produced at the weekend. Kate (the cake master) is going to show me how to ice it properly and we should have some good pictures for you! But for today this will do nicely and we’re all looking forward to eating it. The method used is a traditional one (first seen by me on River Cottage, thanks Hugh!) where you first weigh four eggs and then use exactly the same weight of well softened butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour to make up the cake. It’s fun, let the eggs lead you! First cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and the juice and rind of a lemon. Spoon into greased, lined cake tins and bake at 180c/Gas 4 for 20-25 mins. You want a skewer poked in the middle to come out clean. Cool on a wire rack and when cool slather about a third if a jar of lemon curd between the two sponges. Yum! Happy Birthday Hattie xxxx