Monday, 6 December 2010

The Birthday Cake.

I have been meaning to do this post since Tabitha's birthday, then I was reminded the other day by a friend asking for the recipe. 

Firstly I have never made a birthday cake before, there has been some success with muffins and little cakes but this was my biggest attempt yet and coupled with the '1st Birthday' pressure I was very nervous.

Twitter has been a fabulous source of information for me with regards to teething, sleep patterns and feeding and it did not let me down with cake baking either. The lovely @cookingkt who blogs at Feeding boys and a firefighter sent me this recipe for vanilla sponge to get me started.

Vanilla Sponge

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar (golden caster sugar is particularly good)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
4 tsps baking powder
3-4 tbsps milk, at room temperature
1.     Preheat the oven to 180’C, 160’C Fan, Gas 4.  Grease or line your cake tin(s)
2.     Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer or with a handheld electric mixer until pale, light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Very gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a spatula from time to time. Stir in the vanilla extract.
3.     Sift together the plain flour and baking powder and add to the cake mixture in 2 batches, mixing until smooth. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
4.     Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tin(s) and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

With the help of my gorgeous assistant we followed the recipe. When it was all mixed together we poured the mixture in to the greased 9inch square tin and put in the oven. I am seriously impaitent and totally looked at the cake before I should have, as a result it sunk a little bit in the middle. We hid that by flipping it over once it had cooled so the surface I laid the icing on was perfectly smooth.

Cover the cake once its cooled with a nice thick layer of seedless jam, I used Apricot, then lay the rolled icing out over the cake. 

My tips for the icing are these..... 
  • Buy ready made, or even ready rolled. My local cake shop sells bags of all colours ready to roll.
  • Make sure it is going to cover the whole cake before you lay in it the jam.
  • Don't make it too thin it or it will split as it stretches over the corners.
Leave a draping edge over hanging onto the base, let it settle for 5 minutes, then cut to fit the bottom and tidy.

    Tabitha loves Timmy and he is a nice simple set of shapes so we went for him as the main decor. I'd suggest to go for something similar that is made up of basic core shapes, nothing too fiddly.

    Get them laid out right before you attempt putting on the cake. When your happy stick them on by brushing a watered down jam mixture as glue, brush over with a little water to clean off icing sugar you used for rolling out and you are done!

    I felt really proud to have made her first birthday cake and hopefully if I do one every year they will get better and better.


    1. fab cake mrs, well done..yum! ps, very cute helper too x

    2. maggy, red ted art7 December 2010 at 08:41

      Ooooh you cake looks fab. I am sure the success is ONLY down to that fabulous assistant of yours! Where do I get one?


    3. How about having that one Friday night? I could do with a night out :-)

    4. Wow that cake looks delicious. I am not a fan of cooking but think I could give this a go. Just interested who is going to eat it?

    5. Ours got demolished at her party!

      If you give it a go you could always send some my way I NEVER say no to cake!