Posted by: makebakeandsew | October 3, 2010

Garden Girl’s birthday cake

Girl’s garden birthday cake

6″ inch round cake. To make this cake extra deep I cooked a 3″ deep cake and a 1.5″ cake and split the 3″ so the cake had 3 layers. Raspberry jam in one and butter cream in the other.

After stacking and covering in marzipan and pale pink sugar paste, I created the garden by first covering the board in green sugar paste. Then will the left over green I rolled a 2cm strip and cut into in all along the one edge to create the grass, securing it to the cake with a little water. Roll out a thin length of sugar paste for the stalks and cut out a few small leaves.

For the flowers, mix a small amount of flower paste with some pale blue sugar paste. Cut out 4 large blossoms and 4 small. Run a cocktail stick over the edges of the petals and pipe the centre with yellow royal icing. Secure the flowers onto the cake with a little extra royal icing.

Posted by: makebakeandsew | July 5, 2010

Chocolate Cricket Birthday Cake

Cricket Birthday cake

9″ sponge cake with buttercream filling. Covered with chocolate flavour sugarpaste and cricket design.

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 24, 2010

In the Night Garden Iggle Piggle Birthday Cake

In the Night Garden Iggle Piggle Birthday Cake

I have done this cake for a colleague’s Nephew – just finished! Phew!

8″ Vanilla sponge with Strawberry Jam and Buttercream filling

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 22, 2010

The Perfect Victoria Sponge Cake – Top tips!

It’s happened to the best of us. despite your best efforts in baking, your cakes are just not turning out right.

I hope some of my tips below will help you with some of the most common problems I hear.

Sinks in the middle:

Either you didn’t preheat the oven to the correct temperature or the oven door was opened during the first half of the cooking time. Preheating the oven is really important for baking as the oven needs to be at the correct temperature when it goes in or the cake won’t cook evenly. This can take 10 mins for a gas oven but up to 30 mins for an electric oven. Try not to open the door on the oven whilst cooking at least during the first half of the cooking time or there is the risk it will sink.

Domed cake:

Possibly too much raising agent used.  Some recipes suggest using baking powder as well as self raising flour.  There isn’t really a need if you are using a good flour.  I find McDougalls Self Raising flour the best – and I’ve tried most! If you are still getting a domed cake, make sure the mixture is spread evenly in the tins and right up the edge and as flat as you can with a palette knife.  Finally, a shallow tray/tin of water placed on the bottom of the oven whilst cooking keeps the moisture in the air surrounding the cake and helps it stay more even.  This is particularly good for deep fruit cakes that are in the oven for a long time but it does work with sponges too.

Cake comes out more like a biscuit:

Most common error here is using medium sized eggs and not large ones.  A large egg without it’s shell weighs about 2oz.  So for a recipe with 8oz of the other ingredients, 4 large eggs will also give you 8oz of egg making it the perfect mixture.  Medium eggs just won’t give you enough. Cake tins also need to be at least 2/3 full for a cake to be deep enough. I’ve seen some recipes for a 7″ victoria sponge (ie. 2 x 7″ round tins) and they only advise to use 4oz of all the ingredients.  This just won’t fill your tins and you’ll be eating two biscuit like cakes with some jam in the middle!

Cracks in the cake:

Oven is too high causing the outside of the cake to cook much quicker than the inside. I always cook my sponge on 180’C or Gas Mark 4.  I use this temperature regardless of the size but just lengthen the cooking time depending on the size of the cake.

Best ingredients and method:

Again, I have tried many different brands/supermarket alternatives for ingredients but I find these the best: McDougalls Self Raising flour – you won’t need extra baking powder. Flora Original for you margarine – have no idea why it just gives the best results! I know I’m repeating myself but you must use large eggs.  If you want to be exact, weigh your eggs (without shells) to ensure you have the right amount. Don’t miss out the vanilla essence as it’s essential for taste.

Finally, this is personal preference but many people still insist the creaming and folding method is best for making a sponge.  I did do this for years but I get the best results when I just bang all my ingredients in a food processor and blitz it for a few seconds! I find the less you mess with it the better it turns out. If you don’t have a food processor you can you use an electric hand whisk.

I hope that has helped. I’ve given below the recipe I use for a standard vanilla sponge.  This recipe will make 1 victoria sponge in 2 x 7″ tins or 12 large cup cakes baked in a muffin tin.

8oz (225g) Self raising flour

8oz (225g) Margarine

8oz (225g) Caster Sugar

4 Large eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Preheat the oven to 180’C or Gas Mark 4

Lightly grease 2 x 7″ loose bottom 1 1/2″ deep cake tins and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.

Place all the ingredients together in a food processor and mix for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth.  Don’t over beat as you will lose the air in the mixture.

Split the mixture between the two tins and spread the mixture as evenly as possible.  Bake for approx 25 mins until the cake is light golden brown and springy to touch in the middle.  For deeper cakes, to ensure cooked, place a metal skewer through the middle and if it comes out clean it’s done.

Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack and removing the parchment.  Once cooled completely, fill with raspberry or strawberry  jam and fresh cream and dust with icing sugar.

If you prefer buttercream to fresh cream try this:

150g butter

300g icing sugar

Beat the butter with an electric whisk until smooth, add the icing sugar a bit at a time and beat well.

If you are using this recipe for cupcakes you can use this buttercream to ice them.  Although I prefer replacing half the butter with full fat cream cheese as it makes a better frosting for smaller cakes.

Enjoy and good luck!

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 21, 2010

Pearl Two Tier Wedding Cake

Two Tier Ivory Classic Wedding Cake finished with Mocha Satin ribbon, Pearls and silk flower.

Cakes shown are 10″ and 7″ Vanilla sponge with Raspberry and buttercream filling.

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 20, 2010

Lace & Daisy Wedding Cupcakes

These would look beautiful on a tiered stand for a wedding.  Also could be used to accompany a tiered fruit cake to accommodate those who prefer sponge.  Design and colours can easily be adapted to match wedding colour scheme or even the pattern on the Bride’s dress.

Vanilla sponge topped with sugarpaste and piped royal icing.

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 20, 2010

Wedding Favours – Lace Cookies

These would be great given as favours at a wedding. Lace designs and colours could be adapted to match wedding theme or the Bride’s wedding dress. Would look lovely presented in individual bags.

Cookies are made using Nigella Cut-out Cookie recipe and finished with sugarpaste and piped royal icing.

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 20, 2010

Classic Ivory Wedding Cake

Two Tier Traditional Rich Fruit Round Wedding Cake

Finished with ivory grosgrain ribbon and lace design.

Cakes shown are 10″ and 7″ Round

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 19, 2010

Two Tier Vintage Wedding Cake

Two Tier Sponge Cake with Ribbon & Jewelled Pin.

Deep Vanilla Sponge with Raspberry Jam and Buttercream filling.  Finished with coral ribbon and vintage pin. Great for a Fashionista Bride.

Cakes shown are 10″ and 7″  Vanilla sponge with raspberry & buttercream filling

Posted by: makebakeandsew | June 19, 2010

Seashell Wedding Cake

Two Tier Round Sea Shells Wedding Cake.

Traditional Fruit cake with Marzipan Ivory Sugarpaste. Finished with double layer ribbon and real sea shells. Perfect for a seaside wedding!


Cakes shown are 10″ and 7″ Tradional Rich Fruit Cake

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