Cake number one on Joshie's actual birthday was a classic Victoria Sponge, I didnt want anything too rich as I knew how much chocolate would be going around at the party. I used Nigella's recipe from Domestic Goddess, as always it was incredibly simplified, everything is pretty much bunged into the food processor before being baked. The sponges are sandwiched with jam & berries, I chose strawberries & then they are glued together with lashings of whipped cream. I used light cooking cream which despite the promise on the jar just would not whip properly, next time I will go the real deal. The cake was lovely though I dont think it was as light as a sponge should be, this may have been the processor method's fault or it could have been mine, I will have to try another recipe & see what the difference is.
Victoria Sponge - Nigella Lawson - How to be a domestic goddess
Cake:225g unsalted butter, very soft
225g caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 x 21cm sandwich tins (about 5cm deep), buttered
Filling:2-4 tablespoons raspberry or other berry jam, depending on the berries
1 punnet raspberries or berries of choice
125ml double cream
Topping:1-2 tablespoons caster sugar (I used icing sugar instead)
Preheat the oven to 180c. If the tins are loose-bottomed you dont have to lone them, otherwise do.
Put all ingredients apart from the milk into a food processor & pulse until you have a smooth batter. Then pulse, pouring the milk gradually through the funnel till your cake mixture's a smooth, soft, dropping consistency. Pour the batter into the 2 tins evenly and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are beginning to come away at the edges, are springy to touch on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
When you'r ready to eat, put one layer on a plate, spread with jam and scatter the fruit on top. Whip the cream til it's thickened but still soft, spread over the jammy fruit. Put the other cake on top & sprinkle with the sugar of your choice.
Here is a photo of the cupcakes I made. I used Jamie Oliver's Tea party fairy cake recipe from Cook with Jamie. The recipe is pretty basic so I wont bother giving it, I then iced them with chocolate icing, lots of colored sprinkles & some minty green & jaffa orange m and m's. After having kids for 3 years now I have worked out this is what they want, cupcakes, chocolate icing & bright decorations, doesnt need to get any more fancy than that. Although Chloe seemed to not care too much about the actual cake, she was just burying her face in the icing & coming up black refusing to eat any of the cake, was very funny!
And for the sing a long I made this cute chocolate cake with chocolate icing, again lots of sprinkles, some writing icing to help with the name & colored m and m's. I thought it looked really cute. The cake itself was light, fluffy & not too sweet with lovely choc-butter icing, I could have done with seconds however it didnt stretch quite that far. I will give the recipe for this one as it was similar to Nigella's methods though everything was thrown into the trusty kitchen aid this time, no creaming, whipping, etc & I was really pleased with the result. It also makes quite a large cake which is good for parties.
Never Fail Birthday chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing - Bill Granger - Holiday
250g unsalted butter, softened
440g/2 cups sugar
250ml/1 cup milk
310g/2 1/2 cups plain flour
5 tspns baking powder
4 tblspsns cocoa
1 tspn vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20 x 30 cm cake tin.
Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, cocoa and vanilla with electric beaters for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is pale and well combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before turning out and transferring to a wire rack. Ice with chocolate icing when completley cool.
300g Icing sugar
4 tblspns cocoa
2 tblspns softened unsalted butter
Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the butter and 3-4 tablespoons of warm water and beat until smooth and fluffy, adding more water if neccessary.