Who doesn’t love getting messy in the kitchen? Whether you’re stirring up a mess of biscuits with the kids or creating a sumptuous centrepiece for a special afternoon tea, why not enjoy our quick and easy baking Iget Bar?
Fruity additions – Victoria sponge cake is popular with everyone but if you find that yours usually falls flat, try using self-rising flour and 2 tsp baking powder – it will make a real difference. And you can easily jazz up a plain sponge cake with summer fruits: chop strawberries into pieces and mix them with raspberries and redcurrants. For a boozy version, soak the fruits in 2 tbsp framboise liqueur. Use the fruit to fill the cake, along with cream, instead of jam.
Cake for pudding? – If you’re making a moist cake you can turn it into a dessert. Just serve it with some vanilla mascarpone cream. To make this, stir vanilla extract or even better, vanilla sugar, into a tub of mascarpone. Vanilla sugar is simplicity itself to make: put some caster sugar and vanilla pods into the food processor and blitz them. When you want to use it, simply sieve the sugar to remove bits of pod – or just bury a couple of vanilla pods into a jar of sugar. It’s well worth doing as vanilla adds a lovely flavour to many baking recipes.
The best chocolate cake ever – Chocolate cake is justifiably top of many people’s sweet treat list. This recipe is basically a Victoria sponge cake given the chocolate treatment! It’s a real treat. If you’re trying to be a little less indulgent, you can simply fill the cake with chocolate butter cream rather than covering it as well! Cream 225g butter with 175g caster sugar and 50g light brown sugar. Add 4 eggs, lightly beaten. Fold in 225g self-raising flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 2 heaped tbsp cocoa mixed into a paste with 4 tbsp boiling water. Bake in 2 x 20cm sandwich tins at 170C for about 30 minutes or until springy in the centre. To make the filling and topping, melt 175g dark choc in a microwave 2-3 minutes on medium or in a bowl over simmering water. Leave to cool slightly. In another bowl beat 250g softened unsalted butter until soft and creamy then add 275g sieved icing sugar and beat again until light and fluffy. Gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix until everything is glossy and smooth. Use a quarter of the icing to sandwich the cakes then ice the top and sides.
Jazz up your biscuits – Make plain biscuits a bit more special by sandwiching them together: use mascarpone or whipped cream then add grated lime zest or orange zest, or finely chopped mint or basil leaves (to chop them, roll them up and finely slice them into chiffonade). Or make a puree from summer fruits and stir this into cream or mascarpone.