Although I’m not a professional, i make cakes for family and friends. I cook as part of my job as a teacher, so people just expect me to be good at making food!!!
It took me ages to find a recipe that was suitable for the cakes that I make. Some were too soft and didn’t hold up very well when decorated and others were too dry but provided a great texture for icing. There is two recipes that I use regularly now and I find that both of them work well. One provides a slighly firmer cake than the other, so I swap between the two depending on the design that I am creating.
This first recipe is a quick Madeira cake that is made using the all-in-one method. I make this in the food processor to get a consistant mixture. It can be made using the creaming method if you have the time, but if you are doing so leave out the baking powder.
This recipe will make two cakes in 18cm round sandwich tins. I use one bigger single tin, and adjust the quantities accordingly.
175g butter (sotened)
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs (I only use Free Range)
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 180c (I use 170c for a fan oven) or Gas 4
Put all ingredients into the food processor or a bowl and mix until combined.
Spoon mixture between the two tins, and level out.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until firm to touch. If the top is getting too brown, turn the oven down a little.
Leave to cool for 5-10 mins then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
(If you are in a hurry to decorate it, put the cake in the fridge.
I find it best if I make the cake the day before, as it allows the cake to firm up a little before decorating.
You can also freeze the cake and then decorate once removed from the freezer. This makes it easier to work with when decorating.
250g unslated butter
500g icing sugar
1 jar quality jam (I use homemade)
With a large knife or a cake wire, cut the cake in half. Spread jam over one half, making sure to go close to the edges.
Cream butter and icing sugar together until smooth, adding a little milk i required. I also like to add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
On the other side of the cake, spread the buttercream.
Sandwich the two halfs together, making sure that you line the cakes up so that it goes back together as one whole cake. This prevents ridges when you are decorating it!
With the remaining buttercream, spread a thin layer all over the top and sides of the cake. This is the easiest way to hold the fondant icing in place, and also fills any minor imperfections to give a good finish.
Now decorate as you please!