CAKES AND TEA BREADS:
Vanilla Butter Sponge
Ingredients: 250g (9oz) self-raising cake flour 250g (9oz) caster sugar 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened, 4 eggs, beaten 2-3 tablespoons milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Line 23-25cm (9-10 inch) round cake tin; or 2 × 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins with silicone baking paper, or foil, or grease and flour. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat with an electric beater for about 30 seconds. Add the butter. Mix the eggs and two tablespoons of milk together and add about three-quarters of this mixture to the flour, sugar and butter. Beat for about 90 seconds till the mixture becomes light and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining eggs, milk and vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if necessary. Pour into prepared tin(s). Bake a large cake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Bake sandwich cakes for 25-30 minutes. Cool in the tin(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.
Coat with Chocolate Cream Icing: Break up 200g (7oz) best quality plain chocolate and put it into a bowl. Put 200ml (7fl oz) double cream into a pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the chocolate and blend in. Stir till smooth. Leave to cool slightly, or until it begins to thicken a little, but not too much. Put the cake on a rack. Pour chocolate on top of the cake and spread evenly with a large spatula over the top and sides. Shake before it sets to make a smooth surface. For a rough surface beat the mixture with an electric beater till thick and creamy then spread over cake.
Make the basic cake mix, flavouring with the grated zest of a lemon. Bake in one large cake tin. Decorate on top with a slice of crystallised lemon.
Make the basic cake mix; flavouring with 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest. Shortly before the cake is ready, boil 75g (3oz) granulated sugar with the juice of 2 lemons. When the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over the top with a skewer and using a pastry brush, coat the top of the cake with about half the syrup. Leave to cool in the tin. Remove and invert the cake. Prick all over the base and brush with syrup, then brush sides with syrup. Allow to cool before wrapping in clingfilm. Store for 24 hours to allow the syrup to distribute evenly.
Make the basic cake mix. Bake in two sandwich tins. Fill centre with:
(1) 250ml (8fl oz) whipped cream, 3–4 tablespoons jam or flavoured butter cream. Dust top with caster sugar.
(2) 100g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, softened 125g (4½ oz) icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons milk
or 2 tablespoons liqueur, rum or brandy
or 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice or 25g (1oz) cocoa powder 2 tablespoons boiling water
TO MAKE FILLING (2): Put the butter in the mixing bowl and beat till soft and fluffy. Add the flavourings and beat till mixed in. Add the icing sugar gradually until light and smooth. Spread on one half of the cake. Place the other half on top.
Date and Walnut Chocolate Loaf
Ingredients: 25g (1oz) best quality cocoa powder 3 tablespoons boiling water 3 large eggs, beaten 125g (4½ oz) self-raising cake flour 150g (5½ oz) caster sugar 150g (5½ oz) butter, softened 125g (4oz) dates, stoned and chopped 125g (4oz) walnuts 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Icing sugar for dusting
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Line 20 × 10cm (8 × 4 inch) loaf tin with silicone baking paper, or foil, or grease and flour. Whisk the cocoa powder and hot water together until smooth, then beat in the eggs. Sift flour into a separate large bowl and add caster sugar. Whisk for about 30 seconds using an electric beater. Add all the butter and two thirds of the egg and cocoa mixture to the flour and sugar and beat for about 90 seconds to develop the cake’s structure. It should become light and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining egg and cocoa mixture, plus the vanilla, and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides again and beat for another 30 seconds. Reserve a few walnuts to decorate the top and chop the rest roughly. Add with the dates and mix through.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Place the walnuts on top and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack. Dust lightly with icing sugar and allow to cool before wrapping in clingfilm to store.
Ingredients: 6 large eggs 175g (6oz) caster sugar 175g (6oz) plain fine cake flour, sifted Filling: 300ml (10fl oz) whipped cream 250g (8oz) fresh fruit in season
Mehtod: Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas 7. Use 2 × 25cm (10 inch) round cake tins or 3 × 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins and line with silicone baking paper, or foil, or grease and flour. Put the sugar into the mixing bowl and break in the eggs. Mix at top speed until the mixture turns white and creamy and you can see the trail of the whisk marks in the mix. The mixture should triple in volume. With a large metal spoon, fold in the flour gently with a cutting and folding movement until all the flour is mixed in, then pour into cake tin(s).
Bake for 20-25 minutes. To test for readiness, the top should be golden brown, firm and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin. When cool, remove from the tin and cool on a rack.
Beat the cream till stiff and spread half on top of one cake. Cut the fruit up finely and place evenly on top. Spread the remaining cream on top of the fruit. Cover with the other cake half and dust on top with icing sugar.
Ingredients: 5 large eggs 250g (9oz) unsalted butter 250g (9oz) caster sugar 300g (10½oz) plain fine cake flour 75g (3oz) ground almonds 1 lemon, zest 1 orange, zest 350g (12oz) sultanas, washed 50g (2oz) crystallised orange peel, finely chopped (or 2 tablespoons thick cut marmalade) 3 tablespoons milk
Topping: 50g (2oz) whole almonds, blanched and halved Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Line round cake tin 20cm (8 inch) with silicone baking paper or foil. Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs in four separate additions, beating well in between. Add a little flour if the mixture curdles and beat well. Gently fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds. Add orange and lemon zest, sultanas and orange peel or marmalade. Mix in with milk to dropping consistency, then pour into a prepared tin. Cover the top with halved blanched almonds and bake for about one and a half hours. Test for readiness – a skewer should come out clean. Cool, wrap and store in an airtight tin.
Ingredients: 250g (9oz) plain flour 1 heaped teaspoon each of ground ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 50g (2oz) soft brown sugar 125g (4oz) butter, softened 1 egg 125g (4oz) treacle 125ml (4fl oz) dark beer 50g (2oz) currants 50g (2oz) sultanas 50g (2oz) candied peel
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Line a 20 × 10cm (8 × 4 inch) loaf tin with silicone baking paper, or foil, or grease and flour. MIXING: Sift the flour, spices, soda and sugar into a bowl. Beat with an electric beater for about one minute to mix. Make a well in the centre and add the butter. Mix the egg and treacle together with the beer. Add about three quarters to the flour mixture and beat for about one minute or until the mixture lightens a little and becomes creamy. Add the remaining liquid and beat for another minute. It should be a soft dropping consistency. Add more beer if necessary. Add currants, sultanas and candied peel and mix through. Pour into a loaf tin. Bake for about an hour. Test for readiness by inserting a skewer which should come out clean. Cool on a rack. To store, wrap in clingfilm and/or foil.
Ingredients: 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, chopped small 275g (10oz) soft dark brown sugar 175g (6oz) black treacle 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 4 eggs, beaten 275g (10oz) regular plain flour (not for cakes), sifted 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted 75g (3oz) crystallised ginger, finely chopped 200ml (7fl oz) buttermilk OR fresh milk soured with the juice of a lemon OR natural yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Grease and line a round 23-25cm (9-10 inch) cake tin. Put the butter, sugar, treacle and spices into a pan and heat gently to melt the butter and soften the treacle. Take off the heat and when cool, beat in the eggs. Then stir in the flour sifted with soda. Mix together. Finally add the ginger and soured milk/yoghurt and mix in. It should make a fairly runny consistency. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-60 minutes. Test by pressing on the top. It should spring back easily when ready. Allow to cool in the tin and wrap in clingfilm and/or foil to store.
Ingredients: 300ml (10fl oz) hot water 150g (5oz) soft or dark brown sugar 75g (3oz) unsalted butter 350g (12oz) mixed dried fruit 2 teaspoons mixed spice 150g (5½ oz) plain flour, sifted 150g (5½ oz) self-raising flour, sifted 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted 2 eggs
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4. Grease or line a 21 × 11cm (8 × 5 inch) loaf tin. MIXING: Put the water, sugar, butter, dried fruit and mixed spice into a pan. Simmer for three minutes then leave to cool. Add the flours and bicarbonate of soda along with eggs and mix to a soft dropping consistency. Pour into a baking tin. Bake for about one and a half hours. Test for readiness with a skewer, which should come out clean. Cool in the tin. To store, wrap in clingfilm or foil.
Ingredients: 225g (8oz) self-raising plain flour 75g (3oz) butter 50g (2oz) caster sugar 1 egg 75g (3oz) currants 50ml (2fl oz) milk 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glazing 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Method: Preheat the oven to 470°F/230°C/Gas 8. Grease trays lightly with oil or use silicone paper. Sieve the flour into a bowl. Rub in the butter (or mix in a blender) till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg, currants and most of the milk and mix to a fairly stiff dough. Add more milk if necessary. Drop buns onto the tray in spoonfuls, spacing well. Glaze with the beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Rough up the sides with two forks. Bake till risen and browned, 15-20 minutes.