Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fail-safe sponge recipe

When I talked about fairy cakes, I didn't explain how I make them. I shall remedy that today with the recipe that I use and adapt for all my sponge cakes. The recipe was originally my grandma's but I have adapted it slightly to make the cake a little less moist.

The basic recipe that my grandma used was a 4:4:4:2 ratio. Sounds complicated, but is surprisingly simple:

4oz self raising flour
4oz caster sugar
4oz margarine (I use Pure soya spread as it is dairy-free)
2 eggs

So no matter what size cake you are making, you just keep to that ratio and the cake mix is always perfect. I have started adding an extra 1/2oz of self raising flour per egg (so it's now 5:4:4:2) to make the cake less moist, and am very happy with the result. When I make fairy cakes I add 1tsp of good quality vanilla extract per 2 eggs to give a little more flavour.


Cream together the margarine and sugar.
Add one egg and mix in, followed by a tablespoon of flour.
Repeat with the other egg (and vanilla if you are using it).
Add the rest of the flour and mix until it is all combined, thick and creamy.

The 2 egg quantity makes around 15 fairy cakes, which are cooked in around 12 minutes at 180 degrees. Let them cool in the tins for a little while before taking them out to cool completely before decorating them.

The cakes for Emma's party used my 2 basic methods of icing.

1. Mix up icing sugar and water to a thick consistency and dollop some on the cake, followed by sprinkles - very easy, and usually left to the children to design each cake.

2. My first cheat of the blog. Buy ready rolled white icing and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter. Use a little of the icing from above to stick the circle of icing on the cake and decorate.

The swords, shields and bows were cut out of the ready rolled icing and placed on top. I use coloured pastes to paint the colours onto icing with a paintbrush and writing icing to do the details.

For a Chinese New Year cake sale at school, I went all out and painted a picture of a dragon on a stiff board and made fairy cakes to be it's body. The cakes were simple, rolled icing placed on top and painted, but with the background of the dragon they looked a lot more special. I think this idea may be repeated again in the future.

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