I have finally got round to a cake post! This is my very favourite cake recipe because it is so easy, and brilliant to do with kids. It’s back to traditional cooking – in fact my grandmother still uses this method for her coconut cake. The method appeals to young children as they can get involved with measuring and mixing and it’s pretty foolproof. You don’t need another cake recipe! It’s nice to explain the method to little ones as you go along. After a couple of baking sessions, they can tell you what to do!
self raising flour (or all purpose flour with baking powder added)
and caster sugar (white or golden).
(The amount depends on what size of cake you need.)
a tin/ tins
muffin cases, greaseproof paper or baking parchment
First job is to weigh your eggs! write the amount down because this is the measurement for all the ingredients – and it’s that simple.
Grease and line the tin/s or put cases in the muffin trays
Measure the same amount of all your ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 180c or gas 4 or 350f
Cream the butter and sugar by hand or using a hand whisk until light. Don’t overdo this if using a hand whisk or you’ll knock air out
Add the eggs and beat well until smooth. If the mix curdles a little, don’t worry, this happens sometimes – just add a little of the flour you have measured in with the last egg.
Sift the flour into the bowl to ensure that air is being introduced, and fold into the eggy mixture using a wooden spoon. Do this slowly and only until the mixture is just combined (so that the gluten in the flour is not stretched too much – this can make the cake heavy or tough)
Check the mixture is dropping consistency – get a big wooden spoonful and let it fall into the bowl. If it won’t budge add a tiny bit of milk to the mix (a tablespoon is plenty)
Pop in the centre of the oven until the cake is firm to the touch. Careful not to open the oven for too long or too often or the cake may sink. Buns should take about 20 minutes, a small cake maybe 25. Check a large cake after 35 minutes and then at intervals until it’s done!
Double check the centre of the cake when you take it out of the oven, with a strand of spaghetti – if it comes out clean, it’s done
Drop the cake tin onto a level kitchen surface from about a foot height (12 inches). This will pop any air bubbles and prevent the cake sinking in the middle when cooling (it also makes a very loud noise for the children!)
Cool in the tin then turn out onto a rack – when completely cool, slice fill and decorate however you like!
A good tip if you are cooking a large birthday cake is to wait until the next day before slicing the cake for filling – the crumb will be a little firmer and less likely to break up.
Amounts for different Cakes
I worked out that 1 egg is enough to make 4 muffin sized buns – so even if you have very little in the house, you can probably still rustle up a treat for the kids.
1 egg – 4 muffin tin buns
3 eggs – 12 muffin tin buns
2 or 3 eggs – 1 standard loaf tin cake or a small pyrex bowl (for a dome cake e.g. ladybird)
3 or 4 eggs – this makes a standard sized cake using Victoria Sandwich tins
5 or 6 eggs – I large round or square cake tin (birthday sized!) or a large roasting pan
You can do more than this if you have bigger tins
Chocolate cake – when measuring out the flour, include about 20% cocoa within the total amount needed and add half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to make sure the cake still rises. You can add chocolate chips too!
Coffee cake – add a few teaspoons of strong instant coffee after the last egg, you can use decaf if children will be eating the cake. Sometimes I add fudge chunks to muffin sized buns. Fill with coffee flavoured buttercream.
Coconut cake – add a handful of dessicated coconut to the mix, you can also add a couple of teaspoons of coconut milk or coconut cream after the last egg if you wish