Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Happy First Birthday Sarah's Kitchen Diary

This is my 83rd post and one year since I started my blog on 22nd August 2011.

I wanted to mark the first anniversary in some way. I've been interested in cooking since I was a very small girl. I'd help my mum and my nan in the kitchen and I especially love baking. I think I've mentioned before my first baking book was Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book, which has been revamped and republished in various guises over the years. I've lost count of the number of copies I've bought as gifts and genuinely every recipe works! My copy, although well looked after, is also well loved. The recipes I've baked the most invariably have a smudge of cake batter or chocolate on them. These days a lot of the recipes that I've made time and time again are committed to memory and in even when I play around and create a recipe 'from scratch' the starting point and the baking knowledge is likely to come either from my mum or Mary Berry.

So in making a first 'birthday' cake I had to make something influenced by my mum and Mary Berry.

I have taken Mary Berry's basic Victoria sponge but added some fresh raspberries to the batter. This is something my mum used to do for a quick pudding when I was young, typically served with custard and using whatever fruit was in season, raspberries, blackberries or apples.

I also added some white chocolate to the buttercream as I think this makes it more of a celebration cake and goes very well with the raspberries.

I toyed with the idea of making a sophisticated celebration cake with minimal decoration but decided that because I could and as it was a first 'birthday' I would go to town with the decoration. So I decorated the cake with plenty of sprinkles and sparkles and topped with some long silver candles.

If you want to recreate this please remember that the addition of raspberries to the cake will make it very moist and prone to go off quickly so eat it or freeze it within a day or two otherwise you'll end up with a mouldy mess. I never seem to have that problem as cake never lasts long in my house!

Here is a picture of my creation.

Happy First 'Birthday' to
Sarah's Kitchen Diary!

Here is a picture of the bottom when it came out of the oven. You can see the raspberries.

Here is my bible!


8oz self raising flour (I use sponge flour as I think it gives a better texture)
8oz caster sugar (I use unrefined)
8oz margarine or butter (I always use Stork as I think it gives a better texture and have seen Mary Berry do the same so much be good)
4 large free range eggs
2 tsp baking powder
A couple of handful's of raspberries

For the icing:
250g butter
500g icing sugar
100g white chocolate

Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C.

Line two 8" round cake tins

Put all of the cake ingredients, apart from the raspberries, in a bowl and mix until blended.

Pour half of the mixture into each cake tin and place in the pre-heated own for 30-40 mins until a skewer, when placed into the cake, comes out clean and they are springy to the touch. Remember from the tins and put on a wire rack to cool completely.

Whilst the cakes are cooling make the icing. Put the butter in a stand mixer and beat for a few minutes until very pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all of the icing sugar is incorporated leave the icing to keep mixing, whilst you melt the chocolate, as this will make the icing lighter and fluffier.

I always melt chocolate in the microwave on full power but for bursts of 15-30 secs stirring in between each one, but I know some people are scared of the chocolate burning so feel free to melt it in a pan suspended over a bowl of boiling water. Once the chocolate is melted, stop the mixer and put the chocolate to one side to cool slightly. This avoids the hot chocolate melting the butter and ruining your icing.

Once the chocolate is cooler pour it into the mixing bowl and blend until it is incorporated into the icing.

Put half of the icing on one cake and then place the other cake on the top to create a sandwich. Add the remaining icing to the top and then decorate with your choice of sprinkles, sparkles and candles.