A Slice of Birthday Fun(fetti)

So, this week brought Offspring#2’s eighteenth birthday (how did that happen?!?!) and of course, that meant cake!

A lot of my cakes start with the same base recipe. It originally came from a 1963 edition of a Brownie Guide cookbook, and so far it has yet to fail me!

The Recipe

This is a ‘weight of an egg cake’, you use the same weight of all your ingredients, obviously starting with your eggs!

For this particular cake, I used half a dozen eggs, weighing a total of 365g (it is important that you weigh whole eggs! Offspring#1 once made the mistake of weighing the contents, making the mixture too runny, and ended up with more of a raspberry quiche than a sponge).

  • Cream together butter & caster sugar.
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Alternate with a spoonful of your flour between each egg.
  • Fold in a third of the remaining sieved self-raising flour, repeat with the last two thirds.
  • Stir in 80-100g brightly coloured hundreds & thousands.
  • Split the mixture equally between two greased & lined tins.
  • Bake at 180°C for approximately 25-35 minutes.
  • Remove from tins, and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • When completely cool, split each cake in half horizontally; giving you four layers.
  • Sandwich together with buttercream & jam.
  • Decorate top with piped rosettes of buttercream and sprinkle with hundreds & thousands.

          Variations

          • Coffee & Walnut : whisk in a shot of coffee before folding in the flour and replace the hundreds & thousands with chopped walnuts. Decorate with coffee buttercream & walnut halves.
          • Lemon : add lemon essence & zest before folding in the flour, flavour buttercream with lemon, replace the jam with lemon curd and sprinkle top with lemon zest.
          • Chocolate & Raspberry : sieve 50g of cocoa along with flour, replace the hundreds & thousands with freeze-dried raspberries, or frozen raspberries; fill with chocolate buttercream & raspberry jam; decorate with fresh raspberries.

          Do you have a go-to recipe that never fails you? I’d love to hear about it!

          Thanks for stopping by; now, I’m off for a cuppa & the last slice of cake. 

          Crafty xx

          Carrot Cake

          Whilst tidying out the fridge prior to going shopping, I realized we had a surfeit of carrots (Like 2 kilo bags).

          I think the problem was heading to Tesco around 9pm one night and grabbing a bunch of reduced to clear veg….carrots were 5p, pairs of avocados 2p (we’ve been eating homemade guacamole by the bucketload).

          Anyway, as we also had a glut of walnuts (thanks to a previous haul of reductions!) I quickly concluded that a Carrot Cake was definitely the way to go.

          As it turned out there were still carrots left, so I popped the remainder through the food processor with the other veg that was lurking in the salad drawer, a few chillis, & a chunk of ginger and rustled up a pot of Asian-inspired soup.

          Now, usually I’m a weigher rather than a measurer. This may surprise you, given my proclivity for quick & easy shortcuts, but I just prefer scales to cups.
          My digital kitchen scales are ancient, I think I bought them the summer we moved in here (15 years ago) and I use them ALL the time; for cooking, baking, checking postage.
          The batteries have been a bit iffy recently and up until now I’ve got away with taking them out & giving them a quick rub (WHY does that work? Is there actual legitimate science behind it? Or is it just MAJYK?)

          Finally, today they just wouldnt start up; and unsurprisingly; the particular batteries it needed were the one type we didn’t have, so I found myself converting my metric amounts into cups – which felt pretty weird, as normally I’m doing it the other way round!

          Ingredients

          Cake:

          • 2 cups Self-Raising Flour (250g)
          • 2 cups Caster Sugar (400g)
          • 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
          • Vegetable Oil (350ml)
          • 4 eggs
          • 2 1/2 cups grated Carrots (350g)
          • 1 cup chopped Walnuts (120g)

          Frosting:

          • 1 cup Cream Cheese (225g)
          • 1/2 cup Margarine (110g)
          • 4 cups Icing Sugar (450g)
          • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
          • 1 cup chopped Walnuts (120g) (optional)

          Method

          1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4
          2. Grease & line 2x 23cm cake tins
          3. In a bowl; combine flour, sugar & cinnamon IMG_20150822_144050694
          4. Add oil & eggs IMG_20150822_145148686
          5. Stir in carrots & walnuts IMG_20150822_145846043
          6. Distribute evenly between the tins IMG_20150822_150503327
          7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer; inserted in the centre; comes out clean
          8. Remove from oven & allow to cool
          9. To make the frosting; whisk together the cream cheese, marg, vanilla & icing sugar then incorporate the additional nuts if using IMG_20150822_214427247
          10. If your cakes are firm enough, split them both in half horizontally, giving you four layers of cake to build with (on this occasion, mine were too crumbly)
          11. Spread one cake with a generous layer of frosting before sandwiching another on top and adding another layer of frosting.
          12. Repeat, finishing with a final layer of frosting and adding your choice of decoration:
          • additional walnuts
          • Marzipan or fondant carrots
          • Grated orange zest

          Do you have a favourite recipe for using up leftover ingredients? Please share in the comments!

          Also, I’d love to hear if you try this one! 

          And perhaps yours won’t collapse like mine did…

          I wasn’t going to add this picture, but in the spirit of honesty and to show that we all have shameful disasters in the kitchen; THIS is what happened as I went to take a picture:

          IMG_20150822_222357813

          😂😂😂😂

          It still tasted fantastic though!

          IMG_20150822_231900985

          I think I might turn the rest into cake balls & coat them in melted white chocolate.

          The answer is cake. What was the question?

          I love coffee & walnut cake, it’s one of my favourite cake flavours and this super easy recipe has never failed me.

          IMG_20150730_223714277

          The basic recipe comes from a Brownie Guide Cookbook, published in 1963.

          The measuring seems a bit strange to some people, essentially everything is weighed out to equal the eggs you are using. In fact, it is called “The weight of an egg” cake!

          Ingredients

          Cake

          • Eggs
          • Self-raising flour
          • Butter
          • Caster sugar
          • Coffee
          • Walnuts

          Buttercream

          • Icing sugar
          • Butter
          • Milk
          • Coffee
          • Walnuts

          Method

          1. Preheat oven to 180C
          2. Grease or paper line 2 tons
          3. Make some coffee & set aside to cool (1 tablespoon granules & 2 tablespoons water or 1 shot espresso)
          4. Weigh your eggs (I used 6 for a pretty large cake!)
          5. Weigh equal amounts of sugar, butter & flour
          6. Cream together butter & sugar
          7. Beat in the eggs (2 or 3 at a time)
          8. Whisk in the coffee
          9. Gently fold in the flour (a third at a time)
          10. Add crushed or chopped walnuts
          11. Split between tins & bake for around 30 mins
          12. Remove from oven & allow to sit in tons for 10 mins before removing from tons & allowing to cool on a wire rack
          13. To make the buttercream, whisk the butter to soften then beat in the icing sugar, stir in the coffee & whisk. You want it to be creamy but thick & spreadable. Beat in a little milk if required
          14. When cold, sandwich together with half the buttercream and top with the rest.
          15. Decorate with walnut halves.
          16. Eat a large slice with a mug of coffee

          Yummy!

          Leave out the coffee & walnuts for a plain sponge or for chocolate cake replace 50g/2oz of flour with cocoa.

          Do you have a go-to cake recipe that you use lots? Please share! I’d love to hear if you try this recipe!