This is my basic recipe I use for making the majority of my cakes and cupcakes.
If is quick and simple and can be used as the basis to several cake/cupcake flavours
such as vanilla to be sexed up with fabulous toppings or fillings which I
have also included in this article. It is also perfect for using gluten
free flour if like me, you or someone you know can’t eat regular flour.
The quantites are simple to adjust to your needs too. If you want a bigger cake/more
cupcakes or less it is easy to adjust the recipe as for every 5og of flour,
sugar and butter is one large egg so if you want 300g use 6 eggs if you want 100g
use 2 eggs, you get the picture! Now go get inspired and get baking!
BASIC CAKE/CUPCAKE RECIPE
150g self raising flour (or gluten free self raising flour)
150g softened butter (not margarine!)
150g castor sugar
3 Iarge eggs
6 tbsp milk or cream
1 tbsp baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 oC. Very important for you cake/cupcakes to cook properly and evenly
2. Line two round 8 inch baking tins with baking paper or place cupcake cases in a cupcake tin
3. There are two ways you can make the sponge!
3a. The quick way for in a hurry: In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients and mix until smooth
and lump free.
3b. My way for a lighter sponge: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in the eggs, sieve in the flour and baking powder then mix until smooth.
Finally slowly add the milk/cream until loose and silky, don’t worry if it
looks a little wet, it is supposed to
4. Evenly distribute the mixture between the two tins or cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes
or until a skew comes out
clean (a good time to clean up and put your feet up but don’t forget the cakes!!)
5. Leave to cool on a wire rack (a good time to make toppings /fillings)
6. Decorate your cake with desired topping or filling.
7. Store in an air tight container and consume within 3-5 days at room temperature
if possible so not to dry out the sponge in the fridge.
To add flavour to the sponge mixture here are some ideas.
During stage 3 of baking for a…
chocolate sponge: Add a 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder,
lemon, lime or orange: 1/2 to 1 zest depending on how strong you like it.
Make sure not to grate any white bits into the
mix, it does not taste nice! You could even add a teaspoon of bottled flavouring if you
don’t have the real thing!
Dried fruit, chocolate chips, Oreo’s and other chunks: Coat a couple handfuls of chosen
ingredient in a little flour before adding to the mix.
This helps the ingredients stick to the mixture and stops it all from sinking to the bottom
of the tin/ cases while baking.
CAKE AND CUPCAKE TOPPINGS AND FILLINGS
200g dark (semi sweet) chocolate chips or bar broken into pieces
200g double/heavy cream i5g butter (optional)
Place the cream into a pan on a medium heat, stir continuously so not to burn the bottom. As soon as it starts to boil take off the beat. Add the chocolate and butter (the residual beat will easily melt the chocolate) stir constantly until smooth, silky and streak free. Put to one side (NOT the fridge) to cool and thicken.
As the ganache needs to be left to cool and thicken so it doesn’t go running off the cake/cupcakes i always make this before baking the cake. Once the cake is ready to be decorated give the ganche a good stir then fill or covere cake/cupcakes.
BASIC BUTTER CREAM
150g/50z butter, softened
300g/10z icing(confectioners) sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1. Take the butter out of the fridge about 30 minutes before needed to let soften naturally. You want it soft, not runny so resist the urge to microwave or you could ruin your butter cream before you have even started!
2. Slowly sieve the icing sugar in with the butter. Beat until creamy and smooth, adding the milk to loosen, if piping add even more milk. Use straight away as it will soon harden. Either spread on with a pallet knife or use a piping bag. Finish off with some sugar sprinkles or cocoa powder if you like for cupcakes.
For flavour, during the mixing stage add a teaspoon of desired flavouring, vanilla extract for example, a couple tbsp of cocoa powder, 1/2 zest of lemon, lime, orange, a few drops of colouring or anything else you fancy.
It is very tempting to use squirty cream, don’t! Unless of course you are serving it straight away. Within minutes squirty cream looses all it’s air and starts flop and go runny, not good! Not only do you want a great tasting cake, you want a great looking cake too so make your own whipped cream it’s not hard!
Take 200ml. of double/whipping cream. Pour into a mixing bowl (you can add a couple tbsp of sugar or a tsp of vanilla extract if you like) and gently mix with an electric/stand mixer,. Keep a very close eye on it as once it makes soft peaks it can easily over whip and will start to turn into butter! You just want it stiff enough to keep it’s shape. Cover/fill cake or cupcakes with the cream then top off with some lovely fresh strawberries, raspberries or mixed berries for example. The cream will hold up for at least a few hours in the fridge, so plenty of time to get ready for any guests or parties you are baking for.
Use a piping bag with about a tsp of jam(jelly), nutella, honey etc per cupcake. Gently insert the top of the piping bag nozzle into the center of your cupcake, i find the cupcakes are less likely to split if you do this while they are still warm. Gently squeeze piping bag, at the same time slowly lift the piping bag out so the filling doesn’t overflow. Cover with either cream, butter cream, ganche etc.
Play with it! Make your own or buy some. Cover your cake or cupcakes with a layer of apricot jam, then marzipan then your rolled icing . Make roses, faces, etc the only limit is your imagination and skill.
Lf you can’t be bothered with ganache or butter cream but still want chocolate, melt some chocolate, white, dark or milk and just pour over the top of cakes or cupcakes! Add a nob of butter or a little oil to the melted chocolate and it will keep some of that lovely shine it has while melted.
For an even simpler topping for flavoured cake that doesn’t need any toppings or filling, sieve on a little cocoa powder or icing sugar on top just for that added touch!