Friday, 15 October 2010


I've got to share this cake recipe because it's so easy and so brilliant. I originally found it on the Beeb website's recipe-finder thingy - but I was never able to find it again (why? why?). Fortunately I'd printed it out so now I use a very dog-eared printout for every birthday. It's a Mary Berry recipe and is quick and completely idiot-proof.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake
2tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp boiling water
225g/8oz soft margarine
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 eggs
225g/8oz self-raining flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and base line 2x20cm (8") sandwich tins with greased greaseproof paper.
2. Blend cocoa and boiling water in a mixing bowl and let cool slightly. Measure all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended, then pour into the tins and level.
3. Bake for 25 minutes or until well risen. Leave to cool, then turn out onto a rack.

Al's chocolate butter icing
6oz icing sugar, 2oz cocoa powder, 8oz of butter. Mix, mix, mix, drool - no, not into the bowl!

One thing to note is that mixing all the ingredients up in one go (instead of 'cream butter and sugar, add flour, add eggs blah blah blah') is both messy and satisfying, but also (and crucially, if you're me and disorganised) quick. The amount of mixture seems huge at one point but actually is just right.

Al's chocolate butter icing is so-named because I couldn't find the proportions for butter-icing so asked on a forum I'm on and Al replied with hers. It is wonderfully thick and darkly chocolatey, not the beige, only vaguely chocolatesque butter-icing I've had from other recipes which let the cake down. This makes the cake. These amounts make enough to use for the filling as well as the topping.

Decoration - as you please. I used chocolate buttons for the number and allowed the four-year-old free rein with the pink sprinkles!

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