A Birthday Cake


The birthday cake – a perfect place to start baking.  This cake was such an act of love – both the planning and the execution.  My little boy making the mixture, adding a bit extra vanilla extract (which he so loves) carefully turning the mixer on and off, cracking the eggs and putting in the flour.  On and off again and finally once the mix was in the oven, sitting on the table licking the spatula and what was left to be scavenged from the bowl.

My daughter elaborately setting the scene – keeping Daddy out of the room, arranging the candles, perfectly spelled out, orchestrating the presentation and leading the sing song.

There are as many recipes for a Victoria Sponge as there are days in the year but the following is so straightforward and a particularly good way to teach children.  Their pride in the finished article will more than compensate for the mess.

Take three eggs and weigh them, make a note of the weight and then measure out the same of soft butter, caster sugar and self raising flour.  Cream the butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes until light in colour and texture.  Add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop it curdling, sift in the remaining flour with half  a teaspoon of baking powder.  Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of milk until the mixture will drop off a spoon.  Divide between two 18cm greased and base lined tins and bake at 170 for 25 minutes.  If you only have 20cm tins make it a 4 egg mix.

Traditionally sandwiched together with raspberry jam and spinkled with caster sugar but you can go crazy here, it is your cake after all.  Whipped cream or butter cream with the jam is never a bad thing, fresh raspberries good too.  Lemon curd with or without the cream looks summery and tastes delicious, a compote of gooseberries or rhubarb would add fabulous tang to the sweet cake or maybe chocolate spread if that is your thing…

The top cake is the birthday special but it would look like the one above if not in a darkened room lit only by candles.


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