Home Made Cakes
Cakes: to serve with tea and coffee; cakes for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and Christmas. Cakes, just because!
Tips for Successful Cake-Making
Follow the recipe! Attention to detail is one of the key points for making good cakes, which, although it sounds obvious, is where mistakes are most likely to be made. Cake ingredients can be temperamental, so a basic understanding of how the different components react to each other is helpful.
In simple terms, cakes are made with either fat or sponge. The different methods that are used to combine ingredients together affect the consistency and type of cake made.
Using the right sized tin for the cake is crucial. Your cake mixture may be perfect, but, if it’s put in the wrong sized tin it may not rise.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
This is a great recipe to start with-it doesn’t even need cooking!
- 225g chocolate (plain or milk)
- 25g caster sugar
- 100g butter (unsalted)
- 225g crushed digestive biscuits
- 1 egg
- 1 orange
- Brandy! This is optional, but if you are going to use it, you’ll need about 4 tablespoons.
First job is to prepare the cake tin. Use a 20cm loose-bottomed round tin for this cake. To prevent the cake getting stuck to the tin, first grease the tin (butter wrapper is good for this) then line it with greaseproof paper by cutting a strip as long as the tin is round (circumference) and 5cm wider than the depth of the tin. Along one of the long edges, make a fold 2.5 cm deep and cut this at intervals of 1.25cm up to the fold. This strip can then be curved round the sides of the tin. Put the cut side downwards to lie flat against the base.
The base of the tin should be covered with a circle of greaseproof paper, slightly smaller than the actual base, to fit in over the cut paper. This can then be greased with a pastry brush dipped in melted fat.
Squeeze the juice from the orange and finely grate the skin (zest). Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heavy-based pan. In a bowl that fits over a pan of warm water (but away from the heat) beat the sugar, egg and orange skin together with a whisk. The mixture will soon hang from the whisk in thick ribbons. This part can be done by machine.
Pour the chocolate and butter mix into the egg, sugar and orange skin mix, stirring well. Add the orange juice, brandy and crushed digestive biscuits. Stir well. The mixture can now be poured into the cake tin and left overnight in the fridge to set. That’s it!
Pear & Ginger Cake
Preheat the oven to 180c
- 450g sweet ripe pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced.
- 175g self-raising flour
- 175g caster sugar
- 200g softened unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
Grease and line the base of a deep 20cm cake tin.
Whisk together 175g of the butter with the flour, sugar, eggs and ginger until lump-free and smooth in texture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and gently level the surface with a flat knife.
Place the pear slices over the top of the mixture and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Dot the remaining butter over the pear slices.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes by which time the cake should look a rich golden colour and feel springy to touch.
If you’re the patient type, you’ll leave the cake to cool. If it’s just too good to leave, serve it warm with a dollop of ice cream.
Farmhouse Fruit Cake
This is the sort of cake that makes you think of village fetes and picnics. Preheat oven to 170c.
- 100g each of sultanas and raisins
- 3 tablespoons chopped mixed peel
- 225g wholemeal flour
- 225g plain flour
- 1 level tsp each of mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda
- 175g butter
- 225g brown sugar
- 300ml milk
- 1 egg
Sift the flours, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl. Rub in the cubed butter (or whizz it in a food processor) add the sugar, fruit and peel.
Beat the egg with a little of the milk. Make a hollow with your spoon in the middle of the flour and fruit mixture and pour the beaten egg mixture into this hollow. Mix well, slowly add more milk, and keep mixing. When all the milk has been added and stirred in, the mixture will be moist but not sloppy. It should drop slowly from your spoon.
Place mixture in lined, greased tin and bake for about 2 hours. Use a skewer to test the centre of the cake before turning out to cool.