Sunday, 25 May 2008

Rhubarb cornmeal cake

Rhubarb seems to be one of those things you have to mature into like comfy slippers, brussel sprouts and thinking policemen look young. All I know is that I was never mad about rhubarb then – bang – love the stuff!

The CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) seems to be having a bumper rhubarb season so I scoured my books for a rhubarb cake. This recipe – from Nigella – attracted my attention as it used two ingredients I have never used in baking before namely cornmeal and yoghurt. The cornmeal not only adds a nice texture to the cake but also soaks up some of the juices that rhubarb releases meaning that you retain all the flavour without the cake being soggy.

For some reason (probably that I’m weird) I thought the little rhubarb chunks looked cute:

Don’t get me wrong, I love all cake but this is the type of cake that excites me most; the sort of cake you’d expect to see waiting for you in a farmhouse kitchen. It’s a cake that knows it’s great and doesn’t need any flashy tricks.

Isn’t she a beauty? You can see, even before the cake is cut how juicy it looks and it had a lovely squidgy-to-the-touch texture:

This cake can be served at teatime with some cream or warm with custard or ice cream for dessert. Wanting the best of all worlds, I decided to make custard cream to serve with it – basically just whipping up some double cream and spooning good quality vanilla custard into it until I got the taste and texture that pleased me. Of course, it requires a lot of tasting along the way until you get it just right....... (hopefully, after all this arduous tasting, there will be some left for others to eat!)

It was a nice surprise that the red and green chunks of rhubarb remained red and green after cooking. This slice shows the lovely colours:

Was there ever a more perfect double act?

For the cake:
500g rhubarb
300g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
155g fine cornmeal (polenta)
250g natural yoghurt

For the custard cream (optional):
300ml double cream
500g good quality vanilla custard
Vanilla extract

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Butter and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
- Wash and dry the rhubarb then cut into small chunks (about 0.5cm). Place in a bowl and sprinkle 100g of the sugar over the top. Put to one side while you make the cake. Only do this when you’re going to actually make the cake – if it’s sitting around for too long a lot of liquid will come out of the rhubarb.
- Cream the butter with the remaining 200g of sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
- In a bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla then gradually beat into the butter mix. If your beater is powerful enough, the mixture shouldn’t curdle. If it does curdle it will correct itself on adding the flour so don’t panic.
- Weigh out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cornmeal and combine until they are well mixed. Put to one side.
- Add the flour mix to the cake batter alternately with the yoghurt. I did this in three lots i.e. flour, yoghurt, flour, yoghurt, flour, yoghurt.
- Lastly, tip in the rhubarb and juices. Fold the rhubarb carefully into the cake batter then spoon into the cake tin. You will notice that there is a lot of mix! This is a big cake.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took exactly one hour. It’s worth checking the cake after 40 minutes in case your oven is browning it too quickly – if it is, cover with foil for the remaining baking time.
- Keep the cake in its tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve either hot or cold with custard, cream or ice cream. If you’re making custard cream lightly whip the cream and add vanilla extract. Then, a spoon at a time whisk in the custard. Keep beating until it’s just at the soft peak stage – I like it soft and know it’s ready when it very slowly drops from the whisk.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Ginger and spice cupcakes

As my ginger obsession shows no sign of abating, I decided to make ginger cupcakes this week. What appealed to me about this recipe was that it was a proper gingerbread i.e. using treacle and golden syrup and other naughty things, but in cupcake form rather than one big cake.

There are many options as to how you can decorate these. The original recipe left them plain but for a slice of candied ginger on top. While that would be nice, I can never resist white icing so I chose to smother them in icing made from icing sugar and water. You could also serve them warm for dessert with custard.

This is how the cupcakes are straight from the oven; they would be very nice just left au natural:

One thing I didn’t expect was how sticky they were. Harsh words were spoken trying to remove the cupcake wrapper. The gingerbread was very soft and spongy and some of the sponge got torn.

The recipe uses treacle and golden syrup but don’t assume that makes the cakes heavy – they aren’t! Light and moist with a real spicy kick these are a winner. I like ginger cake quite hot and the recipe sets out the quantities of spice that I used; if you like things a little milder, put less in.

White icing is always a winner – note that I put a sheet of greaseproof paper under the rack so it was easier to clean away icing that ran off the cakes:

I admit that these aren’t the prettiest or most perfect looking cakes but sometimes it’s all about the flavour: this is such a time. If ever there’s a photo that proves beauty comes from within this is it:

For the cake:
1 egg
120ml milk (whole or semi skimmed)
90g plain flour
30g self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
80g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
100g black treacle
25g golden syrup

For the icing:
Icing sugar and water blended together until you get the consistency you want – thick but still runny and glossy.

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
- Lightly whisk the egg and milk together and then whisk in the flours, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and caster sugar.
- Place the butter, treacle and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir constantly until the butter has melted.
- Stir the warm butter mix into the flour mixture. At first it will seem incredibly runny but keep stirring and you will feel it thicken.
- Spoon the mix into the paper cases. It is runny and I found this easiest to do with a ladle. Only fill each case about ½ - 2/3 full as the mixture rises quite a lot.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack and then decorate as you wish.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (24 May 2008)

I revisited an old favourite this week – Louis Jordan. It is impossible not to be cheered by Louis Jordan and his Tympany 5 band. Humorous without falling into novelty he can always put a smile on my face and, in my opinion, remains the best music to bake to. The songs cover a range of styles such as rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, and jazz. The greatest compliment I can give is that there isn’t a track I ever skip when listening to a Louis Jordan CD.

My favourite track? I do rather have a penchant for “Ain’t nobody here but us chickens”. This track always seems like a song version of a Gary Larson cartoon – it has that kind of surreal comedy to it. All the lyrics are sung by chickens as the song is about a farmer checking on a noise in his barn. He asks “who’s there” and gets the response “there ain’t nobody here but us chickens”. I like it when the chickens get into expressing why they need their sleep and start listing their chores:

TomorrowIs a busy day
We got things to do
We got eggs to lay
We got ground to dig
And worms to scratch
It takes a lot of settin'
Gettin' chicks to hatch

Why aren't people writing songs like this today?

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Strawberry and vanilla cupcakes

I’d like to think that I have a seat reserved on any cake bandwagon and at the moment, the trendiest thing in cake seems to be cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cupcake but I’m not sure they deserve to hog the limelight to the detriment of all the other beautiful cakes out there! Having said that, these are quite divine...perhaps they do deserve the limelight...

They have a tasty secret. When you spoon the cake batter into the cases, add a little strawberry jam and swirl it into the cake mix. This is easiest to achieve if you use a cocktail stick. The little baked cupcakes reminded me of jam roly poly pudding. Mmmmmm, jam roly poly pudding.

I used this much jam in each cupcake:

Swirl it in with a cocktail stick:

And voila!

The swirl remains even when cooked:

The part of this recipe that grabbed my attention was the buttercream. It’s a standard swiss meringue buttercream with a twist: when you’ve made the buttercream you beat in some strawberry jam. This not only gives it a fruity flavour but also a rather lovely pink tone. Could a cupcake get any girlier?

The buttercream is so light it’s like eating a whippy ice cream:

What cupcake isn’t improved by adding some sprinkles?

I tweaked the recipe slightly and used vanilla sugar instead of plain caster sugar. This arrived during the week from Vanilla Bazaar and I couldn’t resist using it as soon as possible. Normally I am disappointed with vanilla sugar but I could see that this was special – not only can you see thousands of vanilla seeds in the sugar but each jar also has a vanilla pod in it. The vanilla and sugar infuses for several months and it was all I could do not to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

These are seriously cute little cakes – and just look at how smooth the buttercream is!

The sponge and the buttercream work beautifully together and are both very easy to make:

This could be one of those ‘ok, just me then’ moments but doesn’t it look like the halves of cake are having a chat?

For the cupcake:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed, not skimmed)
3-4 teaspoons of strawberry jam (I used a seedless jam)

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam

For decoration(optional):
Sugar sprinkles

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.
- Start by making the cupcakes. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, flour and milk and beat until well combined and smooth.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 paper cases.
- Spoon a little jam onto each cake and, using a cocktail stick, swirl the jam into the batter.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Now make the swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.
- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.
- Beat the jam into the buttercream. If you want it pinker, add a little food colouring.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and swirl onto each cupcake.
- Finish off with some sugar sprinkles or decorations.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Rum cake

While pretty little frou-frou cupcakes are lovely, sometimes you just want a slab of something unfussy and delicious. This cake is for such times. It doesn’t look stunning but packs a punch in flavour.

I am always drawn to recipes were a syrup is poured over the cake straight from the oven – it’s a technique used in many lemon cakes and makes a cake moist and extra tasty. This recipe involves pouring a buttery rum syrup over the cake – as soon as I read that bit in the recipe the page was marked and I knew the cake would be made!

The syrup starts out in a saucepan (how can it fail with ingredients of rum, sugar and butter?):

Pierce the hot cake with a cocktail stick and then spoon over the syrup:

The recipe requires a mid-to-dark rum. It would work with white rum but the colour of the cake would be paler. Personally, with golden and dark rums readily available I don’t know why anyone would use white rum for anything!

The cut slices show how moist the rum syrup makes the cake:

For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice (NOTE: allspice, not mixed spice!)
3-4 tablespoons golden or dark rum

For the syrup:
50g caster sugar
3 tablespoons golden or dark rum
40g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Optional: light brown sugar sprinkled on top of the loaf.

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.
- Start by making the cake. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and creamy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, add a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
- Fold in the flour, baking powder, allspice and 3 tablespoons of the rum. If the mix looks a little dry add a further tablespoon of rum.
- Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 55 minutes.
- When the cake is about 5 minutes away from being cooked, start making the syrup. Put the sugar, rum, and butter in a small saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water. Gently heat until the sugar is dissolved and you have a light golden syrup.
- Using a cocktail stick, prick the top of the cake. Don’t go right the way through the cake.
- Spoon the syrup over the top of the cake. Do this gradually so that it sinks in rather than pools on the surface.
- Sprinkle some light brown sugar on the surface of the cake – this is optional and just gives a nice crunch to the top.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin for approximate 20 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
- I like this cake simply on its own with a cup of tea. However, you can serve it with whipped cream and fruit for a lovely dessert.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (17 May 2008)

Luckily for me (and my CD collection), I am not a person who worries about having “street cred” or appearing cool to others. Hence I have no qualms in revealing that whilst baking this week I listened to George Formby. Laugh if you want, but I think he’s great – I’m not even claiming to love him in an ironic or post-modern way!

Surely everyone’s favourite banjolele-playing singer? It’s often (erroneously) stated – even in George Formby’s song lyrics - that he played a ukulele, what he actually played was a banjolele; as the name suggests it’s a banjo-ukulele hybrid.

A singer, stage performer and, hard though it may be to believe, film star George Formby’s fame was at its height in the 1930s and 40s, when Britain was struggling through World War 2 and humour was a vital pick-me-up. His cheeky Northern persona coupled with the ability to sing frankly filthy double entrendres – some of which are still pretty near the knuckle today – made him a superstar. Don’t believe me? Well, in the 1930s Associated Talking Pictures were paying him a staggering £100k a year to make movies for them. During 1934-45 he was a bigger draw at the UK box office than any other star, and when you consider that these were the days of Cary Grant and Clark Gable you start to realise the magnitude of his appeal.

I admit that his vocals are probably an acquired taste; not everyone is going to love the slightly whiney, high pitched Lancashire singing voice but it you do like it then boy are there some great tracks! His comic timing and skilful playing are so effortless that it’s easy to dismiss just how talented George Formby was. Not all of the material works in today’s politically correct world but it’s never nasty – more gentle leg pulling, and more often than not the humour is self-deprecating.

George Formby’s songs fall into two camps really: there’s the truly lovely songs such as “Leaning on a lamppost” and then the end-of-the-pier style comedy numbers. Of the latter group “In my little snapshot album” has always been one of my favourites. Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Now I’ve got a picture of the vicar’s wife, in my little snapshot album.
Chasing the Curate with a carving knife in my little snapshot album.
Now what he did was all in fun
But it’s not the kind of thing that’s done,
I can see he pinched her hot-cross bun, in my little snapshot album.

And I’ve got a picture of a nudist camp, in my little snapshot album,
All very jolly but a trifle damp, in my little snapshot album.
There’s Uncle Dick without a care,
discarding all his underwear,
But his watch and chain still dangle there, in my little snapshot album.

Eeeee, it’s turned out nice again!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Coconut cake

Happy birthday CCM!

There are three flavours the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) loves in a cake: coconut, lemon and coffee. Of these three, the only one I like is coconut. Rather surprisingly, I chose coconut as the feature ingredient for the CCM’s birthday cake? Who’d have thought?

The coconut sponges looked beautiful on their own.....I'm starting to think that I find cake waaaaaay too alluring...

....even before they were teamed up with the coconut cream icing and jam:

While I don’t agree with all the CCM’s choice of flavours I do agree with her choice of TV eye candy and had no problem buying a cake topper to please her. One of her current favourites is David Tennant – how do I know this? Well, my Casanova (forget the rubbish film – this is the version you want) and Blackpool (where he plays a pastry obsessed policeman – can TV get any better???) DVDs have been borrowed and digested and I’ve even heard her commenting on Dr Who (as the CCM doesn’t like sci-fi this is perhaps the biggest clue). So, not only a coconut cake but with David Tennant wishing her happy birthday – what more could the CCM want?

I purchased my cake toppers from Icing Toppers. They have a selection of popular characters but you can also design your own. It did amuse me that the sample David Tennant one on the site was for Dr Who fan Jason (aged 12) – just a few years younger than the CCM!

The cake was very crumbly which contrasted beautifully with the thick smooth buttercream – a match made in heaven:

This extreme close up highlights the texture:

What interested me about this recipe was the use of coconut cream as well as desiccated coconut. I have never used coconut cream before and was unable to find it in my local supermarket. Instead I bought a block of creamed coconut and followed the instructions on the packet to make it into coconut cream – basically just diluting it. This cake had a more intense coconut flavour than other coconut cakes I have made. I particularly liked the creamy icing.

One thing I would say is that when spooned into the tins for baking it doesn’t look like there’s enough cake batter and I fretted that I would be presenting the CCM with a birthday Frisbee (albeit a Frisbee with David Tennant on it – how bad could that be?). It rose considerably in the oven and you can see from the photos the lovely depth. So don’t panic that you haven’t got enough mix!

The CCM is a sentimental old coot – look at the piece of cake she’s held off cutting until absolutely necessary!


For the cake:
175g unsalted butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
55g desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons coconut cream (or creamed coconut turned into coconut cream following instructions on packet)

For the icing:
280g icing sugar
105g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons coconut cream
5 tablespoons jam (I used raspberry but any flavour would work)

For decoration:
Toasted shredded coconut (I couldn’t find this so sprinkled some desiccated coconut)

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Grease and line two 20cm round deep sandwich tins.
- First make the cake. Place the butter and golden caster sugar in a bowl and cream until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, flour, baking powder, and nutmeg until smooth.
- Stir in the desiccated coconut and coconut cream.
- Spoon the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and level the surface.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 32 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes or until just cool enough to turn out. Leave to cool totally on a wire rack.
- Now make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter and coconut cream. Beat together until smooth.
- Spread the jam on top of one of the sponges. Top the jam with just under half the buttercream icing.
- Place the other sponge on top and spread the remaining icing on top of the cake.
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut (or desiccated).
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Lemon curd mini sponge sandwiches

As I’ve mentioned before, the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) is rather partial to anything lemony. These lemon curd mini sponge sandwiches were the perfect choice to make alongside her birthday cake. I took a recipe for lemon cupcakes and simply cut them in half, sandwiching with home-made lemon curd. Very simple and very cute.

The lemon curd is easy to make and worth the effort:

As soon as the sponges are out of the oven they are sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice; the juice sinks into the sponge leaving a crisp sugar topping:

I then cut them through and sandwiched with the lemon curd; here's the view before I put the top on:

As it’s the CCM’s birthday I pushed the boat out and ordered some icing toppers. To complement the David Tennant cake topper on her main birthday cake I bought some mini David Tennants and also the CCM’s other favourite TV hunk Richard Armitage (the rather smouldering Guy of Gisborne in BBC’s Robin Hood – or ‘Robin Who?’ as us Gisbornites often call it!). I was curious to see if the topper influenced the CCM’s choice of cake!

The lemon curd recipe came from the lemon layer cake I made for Mother’s Day earlier this year. Hard for me to say much about these as I don’t like lemon but the sponges looked very moist and the smell of lemon was strong.

Incidentally, for those of you wondering – she picked a David Tennant one first!

For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

For the cupcake topping:
3-4 teaspoons caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

For the lemon curd:
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g unsalted butter

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.
- Make the cakes by beating the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the flour, eggs, milk and lemon rind and beat until smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 15 minutes.
- Place on a wire rack and immediately sprinkle the cupcakes with the sugar. Then spoon over the lemon juice. As the cupcakes cool, the lemon juice sinks into the cake leaving a crunchy sugar crust on top of the cupcake. Allow to cool.
- Now make the lemon curd. Whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, eggs and lemon juice.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mix.
- Cook over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl containing the curd does not touch the water) or in a bain marie pan for 10-20 minutes until thickened. The curd doesn’t require constant stirring but make sure you stir it every now and again.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Cut the cooled sponges in half and sandwich with some of the lemon curd.
- David Tennant and Richard Armitage cake toppers are optional!
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (10 May 2008)

Sometimes you just want to listen to something reassuringly comfortable – a bit like the music equivalent of comfy slippers. One of my absolutely favourite albums is Bobby Darin Sings Doctor Doolittle which is inexplicably rather tricky to get hold of – why???

Anyone who knows me knows my adoration of all things Darin (I’ve even sat through the films – some more than once!) and this album showcases everything wonderful about his singing – his ability to sing slow songs as comfortably as up tempo numbers, his supremacy at getting a lyric across, his perfect diction and the way it’s just sounds so effortlessly cool. What I love most about his singing style is the way that he never reaches for a note but hits it straight on – this can be heard best on his wonderful version of “After Today”. I cannot stand listening to singers who come in a bit under the note they want and then reach up to it – whether this is lack of talent or an affectation I don’t know, but it irritates me!

I have often pondered quite why this is one of my favourite Bobby Darin albums after all, it isn’t in his usual swinging style and is a collection of show songs (I don’t usually like musicals) but it is. I think it’s the way every song feels so heartfelt and meant, and his voice has never been better. The only problem is that the whole album is only 39 minutes long so I usually end up listening to it twice!

Altogether now: there are so many fabulous faraway places to see.........

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Whipped cream cake with caramel fudge icing

Classified as a ‘dessert cake’ this is one of those beautiful concoctions that will look right whether you serve it for dessert or as something special with afternoon tea. This is the photo that defines ‘happiness’:

What interested me with this recipe is that the sponge contains no butter, but uses whipped cream instead. This gives a lovely fine but firm texture and a lightness to the sponge. I have a weakness for cakes made with brown sugar too so this one couldn’t really disappoint!

When I took the cake from the oven it had risen so much that I prepared myself for it sinking. It didn’t. This is a tall cake when layered up with all the cream and fudgy goodness!

Even before the cake is cut and filled it’s big:

Here you can see the texture really clearly – this was taken when I cut the cake into layers:

The icing is rather magical – it’s not a buttercream or a white icing, the best way I can describe it is as a soft caramel fudge. Actually that’s a lie, the best way I can describe it is as follows: heavenly!

The icing starts as caramel on the hob:

It then becomes thick and sweet and succulent. It’s so thick and gooey that it can’t run down the side of the cake!

You get a lot of servings from this one!

The now-standard spoon shot:

Compare and contrast with the CCB’s (Caked Crusader’s Brother) spoonful – notice how he was more careful to compose a spoonful showing all the component parts, unlike me who was just trying to shovel it in as quickly as possible!

For the cake:
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used a bit more)
275g brown sugar
300ml double cream
300g self raising flour

For the filling:
300ml double cream

For the caramel fudge icing:
60g unsalted butter
110g brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream, more may be required
80g icing sugar

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin (nice deep tin).
- First, make the cake. Beat the eggs and vanilla until the mix is thick and creamy. It should look airy with little bubbles in it.
- Gradually beat in the sugar. This is best done by adding some sugar, beating, adding more sugar, beating etc, rather than adding the sugar in one go.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold one spoonful of this into the egg mix.
- Fold the flour into the egg mix, then fold in the remaining cream.
- Spoon mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. Then, turn out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. I expected the cake to sink but it didn’t! It is a big cake!
- To make the filling, beat the cream until firm peaks form.
- To make the caramel icing, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the brown sugar and milk/cream. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat at once. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the hob. Allow to cool slightly before sifting in the icing sugar. Sifting the icing sugar is vital – if you don’t the icing sugar will form lumps in the icing which no beating will remove (as I learnt to my cost and had to remake it!)
- If the icing becomes too thick simply beat in an additional tablespoon of milk.
- Cut the cake into two layers and spread the bottom layer with the whipped cream. Put the top layer of cake onto the cream and spread the top with the caramel icing. If you want to make the top completely smooth flip the cake layer so that the rounded top sits in the cream, giving you the lovely flat cut side to spread the icing over.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.