I was recently asked by two different friends to help them bake and ice a 'show stopper' cake for competitions or to wow their work colleagues, however I wasn't available to be there in person (and obviously it would have been cheating if I'd helped, I'm not known as 'Square-Bear' Becky for nothing!!). Therefore I sent them my tried and tested foolproof sponge recipe (or maybe not for one of them, but we later deduced it was down to a mental hot oven that the parents swore blind was working), and step by step instructions to create a simple but beautiful cake.
If they can do it, so can you, so why don't you give it a go (and save me a piece)?!
150g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
175g 70% dark chocolate
225g unsalted butter at room temp
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g sifted icing sugar
1 punnet of raspberries, and some other berries like blueberries.
1-2 packs of mixed chocolate fingers
Preheat oven to 180*C (160 if fan).
Butter and line 2x 8inch (20cm) cake pans with grease proof paper. Mix all the ingredients (ideally with an electric mixer or food processor) until light brown and really fluffy. Split the mixture between 2 tins and flatten out. Cook for about 25 mins or until the top is springy and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack and remove the paper.
Melt the choc in a bowl over just-boiling water, or in the microwave (30 second intervals). Allow to cool for a few mins. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth (may take 5 mins with an electric mixer). Add the melted chocolate and mix for a further few mins. This can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, and taken out about 1-2 hours before icing the cake.
Once the cakes are completely cool, if there is a large dome on the cakes, use a large knife to slide off some of the dome from both so that the cake is more stable. Put a layer of the icing onto the bottom tier and place the top tier on top. Put a layer of icing all round the sides and on the top (this doesn't have to be tidy). Push the choc fingers lightly into the side of the cake. Pour a layer of mixed fruit onto the top to cover all the icing.
Ta-da!! One of the cakes won 3rd prize- can you guess which?!