You will also need 2 x 12 hole patty tins/bun pans filled with 15 cupcake baking cases. Also a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas4).
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whisk the butter, zest, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next stir in the carrot, eggs, milk, and sultanas. Then mix in the flour, cinnamon, and baking powder.
Now equally fill the cases using an ice cream scoop.
Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are firm to the touch when lightly pressed with the tip of a finger.
Leave to cool in the tins/pans for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until soft. Then sift in the icing/powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
Spoon into the piping bag and, once the cupcakes are cool, use to make a swirl on top of each cupcake.
You will also need 2 × 18cm (7 in) sandwich cake tins/pans, greased and base lined. Also a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star nozzle.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Now gradually add the beaten eggs, golden syrup, and coffee, together with 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour and ½ teaspoon baking power.
OR put everything in a mixing bowl or food mixer, but adding 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and whisk until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.
Divide equally between the two cake tins/pans and level the tops.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. The sponges will also have slightly shrunk away from the sides of the tins/pans.
Leave for a couple of minutes and then turn out onto wire cooling racks and remove the lining paper. Leave to cool completely.
For the filling and decoration
Meanwhile beat the butter, icing/powdered sugar, coffee, and water together until the mixture is smooth, light, and fluffy.
Put a quarter in the icing bag and put to one side.
Place one of the sponges on a flat surface and spread evenly with the remaining coffee cream. Then place the second sponge on top and sift heavily with icing/powdered sugar.
Now lightly mark the top of the cake with a knife through the icing/powdered sugar into 8 equal portions. (This will be used as a guide for the piping.)
Now starting from the outside edge of the cake, pipe a line of buttercream on each marked portion but only take it up within an inch of the centre. Then pipe a ring of stars to join the lines in the centre.
Arrange the chocolate buttons or chocolate chips in the lines of piped buttercream.
To finish, lightly dust over the whole cake with a little icing/powdered sugar.
The cake can be frozen. Put in a rigid container with a cover and freeze. To thaw, allow 2–3 hours at room temperature.
*If you haven’t any buttermilk, stir 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into 225ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) full fat/whole milk and leave for 15 minutes to thicken up.
You will also need a 12-hole muffin tray lined with paper baking cups.
Preheat the oven to 190° (375°F) (gas 5)
Mix together the bran, flour, soda, and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, using a ballon whisk, mix the egg and sugar together. Then whisk in the oil, buttermilk, and treacle one at a time. The mixture needs to be thoroughly combined and whisking the ingredients in separately makes this easier.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to mix.
Stir through the raisins until evenly distributed.
Now fill the paper baking cups using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 18–20 minutes until the tops feel firm to the touch and a fingertip will not leave an indentation. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Delicious served warm, cut in half, with a knob of butter.
This recipe makes 20 individual cakes of a light coffee sponge filled with finely chopped walnuts. They are sandwiched with a creamy coffee filling which is also used to coat the top. Each cake is then decorated with a half walnut. Scrumptious!
200g (7 oz) butter, softened (⅞ cup, or 1¾ sticks)
450g (1 lb) icing/powdered sugar (4 cups), sifted
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp coffee extract
20 walnut halves
You will also need a tin/pan 20 × 30 × 5cm (8 × 12 × 2 inches) base lined. The right-sized roasting tin/pan will work.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Using a food mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Now gradually add the beaten eggs. If the mixture begins to curdle, just add 1 tablespoon flour.
Using a large spoon, fold in the flour and then the coffee extract, milk, and chopped walnuts until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin/pan and level the surface. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the tin/pan to cool completely. Because of its size, the easiest way to do this is to place a wire rack over the top of the tin/pan, turn the rack over, lift off the tin/pan, and peel away the lining from the cake. Then place a second wire rack over the bottom of the cake and set the cake the right way up on the wire rack.
Meanwhile, to make the butter icing. Beat together the butter, icing/powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee extracts, together with 1½ tablespoons of hot water, until smooth.
To make it easier to decorate, cut the cake into two once it has completely cooled. Now slice each half horizontally through the middle and then sandwich back together using half the butter icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cakes.
Cut each cake into 10 equal pieces and decorate each piece with a walnut half.
A simple light sponge recipe that is the basis of many kinds of sponge cakes, the famous one being the Victoria Sponge Sandwich. This basic sandwich sponge can be filled with a conserve or creamy filling and the top iced, usually with a soft icing, or simply covered with caster or icing sugar/powdered sugar.
115g (4 oz) self-raising/self-rising flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp baking powder
115g (4 oz) butter, softened (½ cup, or 1 stick)
115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
½ tsp vanilla extract
You will also need 2 x 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins, greased and base-lined.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer makes this cake very quick to prepare.
First, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl to introduce as much air as possible.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 1 minute until the mixture is creamy.
Divide evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 20–25 minutes until firm to the touch. The sponge should spring back when gently tapped with a fingertip.
Leave in the tins for 1–2 minutes then carefully remove, peel off the linings and cool on a wire cooling rack.
For a deeper sponge
This is known as a two-egg cake, for a deeper sponge use 3 eggs and increase the rest of the ingredients accordingly, and bake for 30–35 minutes.
This mixture will also make
This quantity of mixture will also be sufficient for 18 cup cakes, a 18cm (7 inch) square cake, a 20cm (8 inch) round cake or a 23cm (9 inch) ring cake.
Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
Add 2 teaspoons of coffee extract or 2 teaspoons of instant coffee blended with 1 teaspoon of boiling water.
Add 1 teaspoon of grated orange, lemon or lime rind.
Always line the base of the tin even if it is non-stick. When greasing, brush butter on evenly. The cake will still stick if it is greased unevenly.
Have everything weighed or measured before beginning to mix.
No self raising flour? Add 1 level teaspoon baking powder to every 115g (4 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour. Sift the flour twice to incorporate as much air as possible and mix the two ingredients together thoroughly.
Butter should be at room temperature for baking. If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge, it can be microwaved on defrost for 20–30 seconds, until the butter is soft but still holds its shape.
Leave at least 1 inch space all round tins so that the heat can circulate freely.
Give the sponges the baking time suggested in the recipe but use this as a guide. Ovens vary – some are hotter and so cakes will take less time to cook and vice versa. It is better to start checking a few minutes before the allotted time. and if the cake is cooked in less time take it out of the oven. Conversely, if it is not ready at the allotted time allow a couple more minutes and check again. Also, when a cake is ready you can smell it. So your sight and smell are good allies.
To tell when they are ready, gently touch in the centre with the fingertips and, if the mixture feels springy and no imprints remain, the cakes are baked. They should also shrink away from around the sides of the tin.
For chocoholics in the family, this is a delectable chocolate cake. The chocolate flavoured sponge is very light and and the chocolate icing is a little fudgy and is used as a filling too. Of course, you have to finish it off with more chocolate, and slivers of chocolate are used decorate the top. The only non-chocolate addition is apricot jam that is used before adding the icing and this makes it more moist.
good quality plain/dark chocolate for the decoration
You will also need 2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins, base-lined and greased.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. (Either use a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer.) Add the butter, sugar, and eggs. Then drizzle the cooled cocoa mixture over the top. Beat for 2 minutes until creamy.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 35–40 minutes. The cakes should have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin and will spring back when lightly pressed with a forefinger.
Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove, peeling off the lining, and cool on a wire rack.
For the filling, icing and decoration
Place the chocolate for the decoration in the refrigerator to become cold as it will be easier to work with.
Now for the filling and icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
Put the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt over a low heat. As soon as it has melted, mix in the cocoa powder and cook over a very low heat for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Add the icing/powdered sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, beating well between each addition. You may not need all the sugar. Just add enough to make a coating consistency.
Leave to cool a little while preparing the apricot glaze.
You can buy apricot glaze in a jar in the U.K. which is ready to use, so just warm through about 6 tablespoons. In Canada, not being able to find apricot glaze, I use apricot jam. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 6 tablespoons of apricot jam to thin it a little, and gently heat to warm through. The jam will now be of a consistency to pass through a sieve to remove any pieces of fruit.
Invert one of the sponge layers and place on a serving plate. Using a palette knife, carefully coat the top with about a quarter of the glaze, then top with two good tablespoonfuls of the icing. Spread evenly over the jam.
Place the second cake on top and gently press down. Spread the sides and top with the remaining glaze using just enough to coat. Then spread the remaining icing over the whole cake.
Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and, over a plate, pull a potato peeler along the long smooth edge. This will make tiny slivers of chocolate. You will need about 28g (1 oz). Scatter these on top of the cake to decorate.
12-cup bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. (The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.)
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.
Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.
Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.
Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.
Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.
For the buttercream filling
Beat the butter until it is really soft.
Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.
Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.
Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.
These little cakes are an adaptation of ones made on the Great British Bake-off. Coffee cupcakes with chopped walnuts have a coffee buttercream filling, chopped walnuts round the sides and a swirl of buttercream on the top. They really are delicious and, although each step takes a bit of time, they are not difficult and well worth the effort.
200g (7 oz) butter, softened (¾ cup + 2 tbsp, or 1¾ sticks)
2 tbsp milk
1½ tbsp coffee extract
170g (6 oz) walnuts, finely chopped (1⅓ cups)
2 × 12 hole bun/muffin trays
a piping bag fitted with a 2D star nozzle (the size used to swirl icing on the top of cupcakes)
For the cakes
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
Grease 16 of the bun/muffin holes. Base line them with parchment paper or just cut out the bottom of cupcake liners which is easier. (Don’t use the whole cupcake liner as you want the sides of the cakes to remain flat and quite firm.)
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour with each egg. Next mix in the coffee extract. Now fold in the remaining flour and baking powder. Alternatively add all the ingredients together in a food mixer and beat until well combined.
Finally gently fold in the nuts.
Divide the mixture evenly between the 16 prepared bun/muffin holes and then pop in the oven for about 18 minutes until the top of the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with the tip of the forefinger.
Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes for the cakes to become cool enough to handle. Take a small palette knife and run round the outside of the cakes to make sure they are free from the sides of the bun/muffin holes. Then carefully lift them out, peeling off the liners, and leave on a cooling rack to become cold.
For the icing and decoration
While the cakes are cooling the icing can be prepared.
Put the butter into a large bowl and then mix in half the sifted icing/powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until creamy. Then beat in the remaining icing/powdered sugar. Add in the milk and coffee extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
Once the sponges have become cold, cut them in half horizontally. Do this very carefully as the sponges will be very light in texture. Using a little less than a quarter of the buttercream, spread a layer over the bottom half of each cake and then sandwich them back together again.
Now spread a very thin layer of the buttercream around the sides of each cake. Again this needs to be done very gently, being careful not to put pressure on the top and bottom of the cakes as you do it, or they become squashed.
Now roll the sides of each cake in the chopped nuts until thickly coated.
Finally, fill the icing bag, fitted with the star nozzle, with the remaining buttercream and swirl the icing over the top of each cake.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake, so-called because it is full of so many goodies. Carrots, bananas, and walnuts all mixed into this delicious cake mixture. Then topped with a creamy cheese icing and sprinkled with nuts.
Next weekend is the Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and, as we are having the family over, I shall make a special dessert to celebrate it.
Celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24 goes back to 1845 in Canada, so I thought I would base a cake on the classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. Apparently, Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of cake with her afternoon tea and this cake was named after her. All I have added is the maple leaf to symbolize the Canadian connection.
maple leaf template (I printed a shape found on the internet and made sure the size would fit on the top of the cake)
2 x 18cm/7 inch sandwich tins, base lined and greased
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Using a free-standing mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until they are creamy and pale yellow in colour.
Next beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour. (Adding the flour prevents any curdling)
Finally, carefully fold in the rest of the flour until just combined. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and level the tops. Bake towards the top of the oven on the same shelf for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch. (When pressing a finger gently on top of the cake in the middle it should spring back and not leave a depression)
Leave in the tins for 2 minutes then carefully remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.
Using an all-in-one method in a free-standing mixer
The ingredients can be mixed at the same time using a free standing mixer. To make sure you get a good rise, add 1½ teaspoons baking powder.
Sift the flour and baking powder together into the mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and beat for 1 minute.
For the filling
Beat the butter, then gradually beat in the icing sugar/powdered sugar until light and creamy. (A free-standing mixer does this in no time)
Warm the lemon juice and add to the butter icing.
Once the sponge is cool, invert one of the sponges and place on a plate. Reserve two tablespoons of the icing, spread the remaining buttercream over the sponge, and then cover evenly with the jam. Top with the remaining sponge.
For the decoration
Press a piece of kitchen paper over the top of the cake to absorb any excess moisture.
From the template, cut out the maple leaf, leaving the paper around it intact as you will be needing both pieces. Place the maple leaf section in the middle on top of the cake and, keeping this in place, thickly dust the icing sugar/powdered sugar around the edge. Carefully lift off the maple leaf template.
Now, using the other template, cover the icing sugar/powdered sugar. While holding this in place, spread the remaining buttercream over the middle of the cake. Then sprinkle a thick layer of the red sprinkles over the buttercream and gently press down so they stay in place. Very carefully lift off the template.